3 simple rules for successful negotiation

Middle-aged businessman discussing document with his female employee

How to get the best deal or resolve a conflict

Negotiating successfully is one of the toughest challenges in business. Whether you are negotiating a deal or trying to reach an agreement after a conflict, it is a delicate area that needs some skill, patience and know-how to get right.Interpersonal skills certainly play a valuable part in achieving success. But there are other parts to the equation that will increase your chances of striking the best deal you could hope for, or resolve that tricky conflict once and for all.Here are three rules to aim for in order to make the best out of any negotiation, no matter how difficult.

1. Have confidence

Much like playing a game of poker, you need to show a certain amount of confidence the moment you sit down at the negotiation table. If you come across as being nervous or insecure, the other party may use that to their advantage. When you display confident body language and assertive verbal skills, it is a strong statement that you are ready to negotiate but will not be a push over. A mixture of friendliness and professionalism will work wonders here.

But confidence does not come naturally for everyone, especially if the negotiation is tricky and there is a lot at stake. One way to overcome this is to learn some useful techniques – such as adopting the right posture and voice modulation – that will help you ‘act’ the part.

2. Be prepared

Nothing helps you appear confident more than being fully prepared for your negotiation. Make sure you have done your research on the other party, understanding their needs and their point of view before coming to the table. You also need to be clear about what you have to offer, any available resources you at your disposal to strike the best deal and, importantly, what you want to achieve by the end. Negotiations include compromise, and there is an element of strategic planning involved, so come armed with some ideas of where to take the negotiation if it doesn’t go in your favour at first.

3. Know your limits

Negotiations can end up favouring one party unfairly or sometimes break down because people have offered more than they can realistically provide. Knowing your limits will make sure you don’t come out with a raw deal, and give away more than your bargained for. For example, if you are negotiating a service contract (as a provider), then make sure you have your lowest price in mind, and stick to it. Of course, you will go for a higher price at first, but if you give too much on discount, then you are likely devaluing your service, which can lead to all sorts of problems later on.

There are plenty of techniques you can employ to ensure you get the best out of any negotiation. And, if you are responsible for a lot of negotiations in your company, it is worth getting trained in best practice to raise your game, and get better results time after time.If you would like to improve your negotiation skills, you’ll get a lot out of our half-day workshop – ‘The 5-step Successful Negotiation Toolkit’ in Singapore on Monday 17th October.  Click here to register now. This is part of the Cegos APAC ‘Expert Series’ of workshops running from September to November.