Negotiations are an integral part of daily life. Maybe you want a raise, access to better office equipment, or even a prime parking spot in the company lot. Usually, the purpose of negotiating is to reach an agreement to participate in an activity that will result in mutual benefits. Each party tries to come to an agreement that will serve its own interests. In some ways, negotiations resemble a game of chess, in that the more skillful party will usually win. The object of negotiation is to show the other party a way to solve its problem by doing things your way.
Always have a clear idea of what you will regard as a victory. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take everything — that is not the purpose of negotiating.
The most important part of a negotiation is the preparation, which is also called pre-negotiation. This means that you need to have a clear idea about what you want, what is important to you, how far you are ready to go in order to achieve your goals, and when you are going to walk away. Keep in mind the range of possible outcomes that will theoretically satisfy both parties — knowledge and self-awareness are your best weapons in any negotiation. Preparation also means trying to understand what the other party is trying to achieve. In order to do that, you have to learn how to listen to them, which will also give you more information about the other party’s strengths and weaknesses. You should establish trust by being as transparent as possible.
Develop some strategies. For example, when you are negotiating your salary, you should know that it is not a good idea to accept the first offer, but you should also be prepared to make some compromises. For entry-level positions there may be no room to negotiate. You should try to choose the right time as well as the right person to negotiate with. It is ideal if the other party makes the first offer, because this lets you position your own offer and use it to your advantage.
The next step is to keep the negotiation in your control, which you can achieve through confidence and influence. Watch and read the other party’s body language. During a negotiation you have to be polite, even if you don’t like the other party. You should never show your feelings or make decisions based on your feelings. Always have a clear idea of what you will regard as a victory. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take everything — that is not the purpose of negotiating.