Art of Business Negotiations

Negotiations assume various colors (and volumes) depending on the environment the parliament, the PM’s office or the boardroom. We’re focusing on the last one here, for the art of negotiation is fundamental to business life. Here are some tips for making negotiations efficient, confident and hence profitable. Though most of the dictionaries of the world would say this, the effective meaning of the above word has often been misused and hence misunderstood.

Avoid the word “Negotiate”, this may sounds strange but it works. One is prone to meet angry, skeptical people at the negotiating table with set criteria on their minds. The word “negotiate” sounds like ‘concede’ in the beginning and they begin feeling they are on the losing game already. Resistance to change their minds or moods will slow down the process and the word “negotiate” will trigger that resistance. Though the word connotes settlement, arrangement or agreement between two parties who are dissatisfied or opposed to each other, it is generally perceived as such.

Instead one can choose positive phrases like “let us agree,” ‘let’s work things out’, and ‘you’ll be interested in this’. Such statements will make people more amenable to listening to the proposal. Of course, ones body language needs to be in tune with verbal positive phrases.

Write Down objectives that may have to be discussed during negotiations, before meeting. Identifying which of the goals one is willing to be flexible on; as well as the ones that are non-negotiable. Figure out the least amount one is willing to take in the negotiation. When this is clear on what one wants and what one intends to secure, it ensures a no-nonsense conversation. Also, only when a negotiating member is prepared with notes he will sound meaningful throughout the discussion.

Research obstacles and possible solutions:
Negotiation is rooted from the want to eliminate lack on both sides of the table. When negotiating one is actually moving towards and looking for a solution to problems or in the process of suggesting ways to improve current standing.

This is where research helps. Home work will make thee negotiator predict any potential objections that might arise. Having alternatives at hands will lead towards a more successful dialogue. Always enter a negotiation as prepared as possible.

This one’s for those who’re overly diplomatic and tend to keep the ‘best for later’. Yes, showing all cards will be foolhardiness, but getting them to the meeting won’t harm. An open mind will avoid going around the point and get all parties to do the same. Boredom can be easily ignored, negativity and drifting off the point by presenting good concrete starting points. All of these factors can adversely impact the negotiation process and lead to a less than favorable result. Though one will have the mental satisfaction of having a ‘back up’, current negotiation will be a failure. Communicate a way possible to receive the same from the other party. Then one will have a solid foundation from which to proceed towards a win-win situation.

At all times of the negotiation, make sure a certain level of comfort is maintained from both / all sides. No one should feel like they’re being pushed into the losing side of the deal. Because from here on objectivity will disappear and leverage will go out of the window with it. If cooperation is what is desired, one must put himself into the other person’s shoes so that when concessions are necessary, they are made to the benefit of all. Keep the others interested by citing the benefits that they can get from agreeing to a proposal. This way they will feel comfortable talking to and save some bad blood too.

People want to hear about success, therefore adopt a ‘we can make things happen’ attitude and body language. Demonstrate how you can make the plan work together. Convince them of to put a viable plan in place that takes into account both sides’ needs. Tell them that you know somebody who used a similar strategy with great results. Relate anecdotal information which proves the feasibility of the plan that’s been worked out.

A negotiator must treat others professionally; because that is the way you want them to treat you. Be responsive. At the beginning, you can even give them a small gift, something small which expresses your willingness to work with them. Serve snack or even meals throughout the process and break the ice before sitting down to business by engaging them in a bit of talk about their hobbies, interests or even family and common friends. Treat them business friends than competitors or enemies. In most times out of ten, you will get natural reciprocation from across the table.