You do not have to be a corporate lawyer or a tough-talking CEO to benefit from good negotiation skills. We all have opportunities to practice effective negotiation in our everyday lives while maintaining credibility. For example, my daughter and I sit at the table each night at around 7:00 p.m. and enter into negotiation about the terms of her bath, story time, and lights out. Here are five tips to help your negotiation skills.
1. Listen. You may approach a negotiation assuming what the other side wants. Imagine your embarrassment if you are incorrect. The first tip to having good negotiation skills is to listen before you speak, and make sure the other party knows that they are being heard. If you let the other side go first, you can adjust your strategy as necessary.
2. Maintain your credibility. Do not lie and do not stretch the truth. Maintain your credibility at all times or else the deal can quickly be lost. Take this negotiation skill into consideration when you are applying for a loan or a mortgage, bragging about your inflated income is going to make you look bad when the bank finds out your real earnings. Establish credibility first, and be truthful and trustworthy.
3. Be prepared. This may be the most important tip for good negotiation skills. You want to make sure you do research ahead of time. This will not only increase your credibility and confidence at the negotiation table, it will also gain you some respect from the other side.
4. Be flexible. The whole point of negotiation is to get what you want, right? Right. But the other side is coming to the table with the same goal. Be willing to give a little in order to get what is really important, all while maintaining credibility.
5. Know when to walk away. Sometimes, the negotiation skill you need to practice is to know when to walk away. It may come to the point that you realize that the conversation is going nowhere and there is nothing you can do about it. When you reach this point, understand the power of a graceful exit.