Mastering the Art of Negotiation – Tips From Seasoned Businessmen

Mastering the Art of Negotiation - Tips From Seasoned Businessmen

Many people believe that negotiating is a win-lose situation. One side must lose. However, master negotiators know there are often alternatives to a mutually satisfying agreement.

They also know that effective negotiation requires preparation, listening, and empathy. 

Be Prepared

Donald Guerrero Ortíz is a Dominican businessman who believes negotiations can get emotional, and you can quickly lose control of the situation. Being well-prepared before the meeting is essential for success. Have a clear set of goals, and include a stretch goal. Anticipate your counterpart’s reactions and be ready to de-escalate the conversation if necessary.

Also, think about your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) and the course of action you’ll take if negotiations fail to produce an acceptable outcome. Negotiation is a highly improvisational process, and much of the latent information that can guide your negotiations comes from the conversations themselves. Although you can learn a lot by seeing professionals, practice is the only way to acquire the practical abilities required for success.

Ask Questions

During negotiations, asking questions is one of the most important things you can do. The right questions can help you reach a mutually beneficial agreement for all parties involved.

But, the wrong questions can derail a negotiation before it even begins. If your question is too aggressive or confrontational, it can cause the other party to become defensive and may even shut off the conversation altogether.

This resistance is because negotiators view their negotiations as a competition over resources and may feel that they are being interrogated. It can lead them to feel vulnerable and expose themselves to exploitation.

The best way to avoid this is by using leading negotiation questions. For example, asking, “Why are you opposed to this proposal?” can prevent the other person from making shallow excuses or short-sighted objections.

Be Emotionally Neutral

Whether you are an investor seeking venture capital or a sales professional attempting to close a deal, mastering the art of negotiation is critical for your success. Negotiation is a delicate balance of persuading others to see your perspective, maintaining relationships, and securing what you want.

Many people believe that emotions triggered in one situation have little or no effect on decisions they make in an unrelated context. However, studies show that feelings like anger or anxiety carry over and can affect negotiations.

Negative emotions are counterproductive to negotiations, so avoiding them is vital to successful results. For example, it is crucial to maintain a neutral face and avoid overly emotional statements that your counterparty may misinterpret as a sign of weakness. Also, if you feel overwhelmed during a negotiation, consider asking for a short postponement to help you calm down and return refreshed.

Be Innovative

People who can generate options outside the box are often successful negotiators. Harnessing your creativity and imagination during negotiations helps you close in on mutually beneficial solutions. It requires an unencumbered imagination to think of brainstorming as you did when you were five, without criticizing each zany idea for resources, feasibility, etc.

Negotiators adopt techniques they learned early, what they once found compelling or what feels natural. But negotiating is an improvisational art, and there are many ways to be more agile and creative at the bargaining table.

With time, patience, and a genuinely inquisitive mind, you can learn to master this art. The insights and lessons you will take from these negotiation tips can help you succeed in your career, business, and life.

Be Creative

Negotiations are about creating value, and creativity is the best way. Find ways to assign a value to your services that exceed the value attached by your prospects and clients.

It would be best if you also found creative ways of generating ideas for resolving complex negotiations. Research reveals that negotiators with higher levels of creativity create more solutions and have more success.

It’s helpful to think of a negotiation like brainstorming, with no criticism regarding resources or feasibility, so the third zany idea leads to the brilliant seventh one that’s mutually beneficial. Neuroscience research also points to underlying assumptions that cause people to block their creative solutions. These are the negotiating “blockages”. They’re based on perceptions and beliefs, not objective realities.

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