Being able to negotiate is an indispensable skill in the workplace that everyone needs, from junior through to management levels of experience.
Negotiation skills are critical for group work projects, work disputes and especially for salary or job benefit talks. According to Business News Daily more than 40% of US employees don’t feel confident in their negotiation skills, while 25% admit to never having negotiated at all. Being able to negotiate can vastly improve your quality of life, so it is important to master negotiation both in and out of the workplace.
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Here are our top tips to master negotiation skills:
1. Create a task list of information to research before entering the negotiation. Preparation is key, you want to understand not just what you are negotiating, but who you are negotiating with and what kind of person they are. (Project Manager)
2. Learn to listen. Spirited conversation can quickly turn heated, with more talking happening than listening. Don’t speak over others, show you are listening and be able to repeat back what is being said to you. (Harvard Business Review)
3. Don’t think in terms of winning. Hard bargaining or power-based negotiations may force the counterparty to accept your deal but can cause them to underperform down the line. (INSEAD)
4. Don’t assume. Research suggests that when negotiators prefer the same outcome, they tend to assume that the other side’s interests are opposed to their own. (Harvard Law School)
5. Don’t make threats in workplace negotiations. Threats leave a trail of hostility that does not fade from memory and damages work relationships, even if not carried out. (KARRASS)
Negotiation is an invaluable skill that will continue to serve you throughout your career so make sure to build up yours. Create a checklist to prepare yourself ahead of a negotiation and remember you are walking into a discussion, not a war, so don’t make threats and don’t try to win. Don’t make assumptions and actively listen to the other party with the aim of coming to a mutually beneficial agreement.