Proven Techniques Anyone Can Try

By Paul Reyes-Fournier

We negotiate in business all of the time. We compromise with employees and contractors. We set prices with vendors and consumers. Business negotiation is a way of life for an active business. Successful negotiation can separate a company from competitors, bringing in new revenue and decreasing expenses, if your staff has the skills.

In business, every time you speak, every document you write and every presentation you give is an exercise in persuasion. At the very least, the most innocuous email persuades the reader to get to the end of the text. Negotiation is persuasion in dialogue. There are various theories of persuasion, one of the oldest being Aristotle’s. According to this founding philosopher, all persuasion must have ethos or credibility, logos which is a logical plan and pathos that speaks to the emotion. When in negotiations, make certain that each of these components exist in your conversation. Make an emotional connection, be trustworthy with your word and have a plan for implementation that makes sense.

Do Ut Des
The term, which is Latin for “I give that you might give,” is the foundational mindset for any negotiation. The concept has some good and bad aspects. When used properly, do ut des is the ultimate win/win. Everyone gives a little so that all members leave feeling that they gained something. Unfortunately, knowing that you are going to give up something forces the seasoned negotiator to take a position far from the middle. Identifying how extreme your beginning position needs to be can be complicated because you may be influenced by trust in the participants and the collaborative nature of the mediation. Most negotiators go into the process knowing what they want, their middle and position themselves accordingly.

It may not make perfect, but it does help with confidence. More specifically, practice assists in creating self-efficacy, the person’s belief in his ability to perform the task. Research shows that higher self-efficacy during negotiation results in greater effort and motivation. A good way to develop this business related self-efficacy is to become part of a network-driven sales business that will allow you to flex your skills. Because this is a side business, it allows for practice without the fear of losing a customer that may result in a lost job or important client.

Whether you call them a negotiation, a compromise or mediation, they can be messy. The worse thing that can happen in a negotiation is to stop. If the assumption is that the conclusion of the negotiation is going to be good for all parties, then an unresolved conclusion is a lose/lose scenario. Go into the process with a negotiation strategy and take your time to untie any of the obstacles. Do not let animosity derail a potentially great collaboration. Let your strategy take you through the negotiations without faltering.

Good Information
Knowledge is power and some people will skew information to gain a competitive edge in a negotiation. This form of unethical negotiation is relatively commonplace. To neutralize unethical behavior, come armed with good information. Know all of your details and, if there is something that you do not know, do not make assumptions. Either find out while at the table or put a pin in the discussion at that point.

Paul Reyes-Fournier  is the content developer at Mindojo@Mindojo.