Hello people, I’m back. I have to finish off what I had left off, right – the second part to our improving your Negotiation Skills series. I’m hoping you have been practicing what I told you in the first part, as frankly that’s the crux of it. If you get that right, the rest will flow pretty easily from you.
Just to recapitulate, what were the steps?
The Negotiation Skills Steps
The first and foremost step was to check your intention and keep a tab on it at regular intervals. We have to ensure that we are always thinking win-win.
The second step was to calm ourselves down. Some of you might actually want to reverse steps 1 and 2 as it’s definitely easier to straighten out your intention when you are in a calm state of mind.
Do you remember the third one? It’s helping the other person calm down as it’s essential for both of you to be calm and completely in your senses while negotiating! Besides, if you are calm, you will automatically have a calming effect on the opposite person!
If you’ll have practised these steps, you would have realised that once you calm yourself down, the other steps are a lot easier to do. So always remember, being calm and not reacting is prime. And you know the best part? If you regularly practice this, it will help you in all spheres of life. So not only will your Negotiation Skills improve; but you can also tackle stress, manage your time better, make better decisions and have great relationships through better Emotional Intelligence. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If I actually go into the list of benefits, we’ll probably be here all day!
So let’s back to the next step now..
Trying to Understand the Other’ Perspective
One of the methods to calm the other person down was to listen to them. This actually has two advantages. One, it makes the person feel heard and provides an outlet for their thoughts and emotions. On the other hand, it also provides us an opportunity to understand where the other person is coming from.
We all know what typically happens in negotiation situations. We all land up harping on our point of view without even trying to get or even hear the other person’s perspective! But not to worry as this happens when we are coming from a win-lose. If we keep ourselves on the win-win track, then we will listen and try to understand to the other person.
Clarifying the Perspective
So what do we do now? We have understood what the person is saying. Now what? Clarify our understanding. How? By paraphrasing. Am sure you’re well aware what paraphrasing is. It’s summarising what the person has said. Also add the meaning you have inferred. Communication is one of those funny things. What a person says is often different from what you receive. Remember chinese whispers?
If you realise that you are off track or may have hurt the opposite person’s feelings in some way, apologise. Owning up your mistakes shows that you are open and will in turn help the opposite person be more open with you.
While explaining what you gathered, remember to build on the commonalities between the two of you. We all seek similarity at all points of time and the agreement will help further calm nerves, tempers and build rapport.
In order to find a solution, you may need to question the person further. Go ahead do it. Always keep in mind that increasing the pie is important in any negotiation situation. Coming to a conclusion is much easier when you have more options available. So discuss the situation out in more depth and together explore various options. Now lay out these options out on the table clearly for both of you to see.
Remember not to reject anything that the person says. Consider it even if you know it’s not even a possibility! Be open.
Beware of Tricks
There are many negotiation tricks going around in the market. The other person may be playing them. In fact you may also be playing them without being aware. Ensure that you don’t fall prey to any of these. For that you’ll have to study them really well. I won’t be able to put them all down here but I’ll put one of my favourites. I’m sure you’ll identify with it. I somehow land up doing this one without even realising it! It’s called Good Cop, Bad Cop. Any guesses as to what it might be?
In this trick, one person on your side poses as the goodie and the other as the baddie. So if you are in a negotiation where you and your boss are involved, you might want to be the goodie and show the opposite person that you are with him. Your boss on the other hand becomes the baddie. He is difficult and is just not ready to budge from his position. Sounds familiar? Am sure it would be. Have seen this one being used very often!
Remember that while the opposite person may resort to tricks, you must try to stay away from them, even if they come naturally to you! You remember win-win right?
If the person is still not onto a yes, then its best to ask him why he’s saying no. Asking is one of those things that just works wonders. We all love to advise others on what to do and if given a chance we always jump to the opportunity. So do just that. Ask the opposite person how you can come to a win-win and together work on the solution.
So these were some of the steps to improving your Negotiation Skills. I hope you liked this series. Do write in and let me know how you’re doing and what your experiences have been. Always love to hear from you. So here’s signing off…