Top 5 Negotiation Skills to Increase the Achievement of Your Goals

High angle view of businesspeople discussing strategy at coffee table in office

For many people, negotiation only evokes negative associations and emotions. People usually imagine this process in the form of incessant disputes. When each of the parties either remains unanimous, without making any reasonable decisions, or when one of the parties gets everything, and the other one gets nothing. But unpleasant associations are just a poor awareness of how to properly prepare for negotiations and how to actually conduct them. Negotiation is not a battle or a constant compromise. A basic understanding of some fundamental concepts will help open up opportunities for mutual benefit of both parties.

Define Your Target and Reservation Point

Very often, negotiations can go by an unplanned scenario. However, it is not worth counting on success without preparing for the main moments of the meeting. Negotiation planning is your real key to achieving your goal. At the start of planning, the key is to have your clear understanding of the purpose of the negotiations. The better you acknowledge and see it, the easier it is to develop effective approaches to achieve the desired result.

Nevertheless, it is quite rare that the parties of the negotiations are able to achieve their “perfect” planned goal. It’s just that there are a huge number of factors influencing the outcome of such events. Therefore, it is also very important to identify other alternative scenarios that you will be willing and ready to accept. This can be, for example, the least advantageous offer or a compromise solution to a problem, etc. Thus, in addition to the main purpose, you will also have a reservation point in case of unforeseen obstacles in the negotiation process. Moreover, by considering and sorting out other options for your proposals, you will be able to more critically approach the achievement of the goal and to significantly revise it if needed.

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But it also happens sometimes that your negotiations go out of the range between the main goal and alternative solutions. That’s when you get stumped and run the risk of either accepting a very unprofitable offer or rejecting a rather promising deal because of stress you weren’t ready for. In this case, it is recommended that you determine your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) in advance. In other words, negotiate with representatives of other similar companies in order to have the maximum amount of available information to make the right decision on the “battlefield”.

Learn the Opposite Parties

So yes, you have already defined your goal and have a clear idea of how to achieve it. Of course, this is only a small part of the work that needs to be done in the negotiation planning process. Further goes one of the most important points, which is a complete understanding of the goals set by the other side or parties. In order to do this, you need to conduct a preliminary study of your opponents in order to better understand them and even try to put yourself in their shoes. Negotiations can be very successful for you if you see and understand their purpose, reservation point and BATNA.

Win-Lose vs Win-Win Negotiations Skill

In the modern business world, conducting win-lose negotiations is being less and less used. The reason is clear and obvious. Nobody comes into business for just one day. Absolutely everyone is interested in having long-term and reliable partners. Therefore, it is very important in integrative negotiations to make sure that the other party to the negotiation gets just as much of the pie as you do.

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Understanding the interests of the other party and building trust are the basic principles of win-win negotiations. Ask questions, listen to the other party, share your interests with each other. The exchange of information between the parties should be organized in such a way as to encourage both sides of the negotiations to make wise, compromise and mutually beneficial decisions. 

Principled Negotiation Skill

There are three basic elements of effective negotiation – relationship, strategy, and style. It is a mistake to think that this is either tough and competitive negotiation or the provision of certain friendly concessions. Principled negotiation is exactly the opposite of both. They are based on a team approach in making mutually beneficial decisions.

Elements of principled negotiation:

  • Separate people from the problem
  • Focus on interests, not positions
  • Explore mutual benefit options
  • Use objective criteria

Cultural awareness

We are all different, and this means that it is impossible to fit our future opponents into any cultural framework. However, you can safely use certain social patterns of behavior and your life experience to try to predict their behavior in negotiations. It is very important to know and understand the basic norms and values ​​of a particular culture and to correctly interpret the further development of negotiations. It is also a great way to demonstrate your respectful attitude.

Let’s say your opponent doesn’t match your cultural expectations. In this case, you need to be ready to emotionally adapt and reflect exactly the behavior that is demonstrated by your interlocutor. Both sides are most likely to benefit from this in the overall negotiation experience.

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If you want to achieve more productivity and get better results, you have to change the way you negotiate. Make joint and mutual decisions and avoid a series of compromises between the parties. The success of a negotiation directly depends on a complete understanding of the causes of a particular behavior and the ability to communicate using a wide range of styles. Your key to success is understanding the people you are negotiating with and being able to change attitudes accordingly.


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