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Negotiation Tips

Pay Attention to the Basics: Ten Tips for More Successful Negotiations

As the Rolling Stones pointed out decades ago, "You can't always get what you want." Even so, understanding some key features of negotiation can improve your chances. If others are in control of what you want, learn how to make them feel it is in their best interest to let you have it. 

By keeping the following tips in mind during your next negotiation, you will be less likely to cut corners and skip steps.

  1. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. Negotiation is about finding an agreement that satisfies the needs of both parties.
  2. Do your homework. The more information you know about the other party's desires, the stronger you will be.
  3. Don't take issues or behavior personally. How do we conclude an agreement that respects the needs of both parties?
  4. Don't leave the other party feeling cheated. This imbalance could come back to bite you. The other party might back out of any agreement altogether.
  5. Frame any desires and benefits as concessions if possible. Demonstrate the value you bring in the most positive way.
  6. Get everything in writing. Handshakes and verbal agreements can go very sour very fast.
  7. Don't get emotionally involved. Negotiation shouldn't be personal. Do whatever it takes to remain impartial and level-headed.
  8. Decide on your breaking point. It is a good idea to settle on your "worst-case scenario" before the beginning of the negotiation process.
  9. Don't argue. Arguing is about trying to prove the other person wrong. This gets you nowhere, so don't waste your time.
  10. Consider your timing. There are good and bad times for negotiation. Avoid trying to negotiation when the other party has a high level of stress, anger, preoccupation, or fatigue.