5 Ways to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

If you’re like most people, then you probably consider negotiating more of a necessary evil. It’s not something that the vast majority of people do or think about very often, unless they’re in sales, which means most have underdeveloped negotiation skills. Fortunately, there are several simple ways that you can dramatically improve your ability to negotiate.

1. Create a Game Plan

It’s always better to come in to a negotiation with a plan to reduce how much you need to think on your feet. Consider what both you and the other party are going to want out of the negotiation, and how the other party may react to what you want. When you already have an idea of what you’re going to say, it makes the entire negotiation process much easier.

2. Listen

It’s easier to come to an agreement when you know what the other party wants, and the only way you can know that is by listening and asking questions. Remember that both of you are entering into the negotiation to benefit yourselves in some way. For the negotiation to be successful, you must find a way to meet both of your needs, not just your own.

3. Project Strength

This is one of the most difficult parts of negotiation for quite a few people. They’re not comfortable negotiating, and they make that obvious to the other party. It’s often not about what you say, it’s about how you say it. Speak in a clear, confident tone and make eye contact while you speak. Think about what you’re going to say before you say it so you can deliver it effectively.

4. Learn About the Art of Negotiating

There are all kinds of resources available to help you learn about how to negotiate more effectively, including books, websites and in-person courses. Some of these resources also allow you to practice negotiating and receive personalized feedback. If you really want to develop your ability to negotiate, then you need to devote time to it.

5. Be Willing to Walk Away

They say that the strongest negotiating position is being able to walk away, and that’s 100 percent accurate. If the other party knows that you need to get a deal done, that puts you at a significant disadvantage. Always have an alternative option prepared in case the negotiation doesn’t work out. Often, it takes you walking away from a deal for the other party to agree to your terms.

Negotiation doesn’t need to be something that fills you with a sense of dread. Working on your negotiation skills will make you much more comfortable with the entire process, and help you make better deals in the future.

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