In today’s world, we’re negotiating every single day.
With customers, suppliers, employees, managers, and competitors – you’re engaging with stakeholders, making decisions and seeking to withdraw the highest value from each interaction.
You may often attach the skills required for them to circumstances like contracts, compensation, acquisitions etc., but the smaller, day-to-day compromises and deals we make also lay the foundations to how we approach negotiations in general, as well as those with higher stakes.
We’re also working in a market oversaturated with business and entrepreneurs. More than ever, who we negotiate with, and how we do it, has a high impact on our commercial presence, longevity and success.
Thus, it is imperative to gain insight into what makes ‘successful’ negotiations a ‘success’, and what you can do to gain optimum results and outcomes.
Negotiating may seem like a skill only few can master, and while some may be more naturally competent, it is a skill that is strengthened with awareness, practice and reflection.
Consider how these elements impact the outcome of a negotiation:
Awareness – before you engage with any stakeholder to make a deal or agreement, how aware are you? Think about all the factors that this would involve, not only being certain about what you want to achieve and get out of the situation, but what that also means for them. What are their needs and pressures? Where will you be able to compromise? How prepared are you with the financial side of things? Have you gathered as much information as possible? How will the outcome of the negotiation impact them and you, in both the short and long term?
Practice – What approach do you have to negotiations? Are you conscious of your tone of voice and body language? Are you actively listening and observing, and picking up on the subtle nuances that can guide the direction of a negotiation? The same way a muscle is strengthened through exercise and repetition, do you practice your negotiation skills, working on emotional intelligence and receiving feedback to truly optimise your position?
Reflection – It is imperative to know that negotiation isn’t about winning and losing, as after all, the best negotiations leave both parties satisfied, and at the end of the day, you’ll both want a good deal. We’ve often mentioned how important it is to evaluate in a business environment, on the elements that lead to an outcome, what could have been different and any learning’s for the future. When you walk anyway from and deal, and assess whether priorities where met, what you gained and what you didn’t, you are harnessing the power of reflection which will be of great benefit for future negotiations.
As negotiation cannot be avoided in today’s business climate, it deserves attention and preparation. The combination of these elements can give you the confidence and competence needed to negotiate successfully, and being able to negotiate well will influence’s you, your business and the relationships you have with stakeholders.