You have already made a very good start – you are reading this article. Those who have read it are much more likely to reach a successful agreement than those who have not. In addition, there are many good courses on negotiation skills. However, nothing can replace real-life experience… So what should you do? Negotiation is rarely about life and death anyway, so to understand how to develop your art, it’s worth looking at the key qualities of a good negotiator:
Be a tough negotiator
A tough negotiator is someone who pursues the best possible terms of the agreement. A tough negotiator is one who is willing to walk away from an agreement he or she considers unprofitable. However, just as important as learning to be a tough negotiator is understanding that being tough does not mean:
- Being aggressive;
- being angry;
- banging your fist on the table;
- Irritating your opponent by abusing threats, ultimatums, and refusing to negotiate further.
Toughness is probably the hardest quality for a brilliant negotiator to master. Many people see the pursuit of the best deal as a conflict, and a great many seek to avoid conflict. To resist this view, you must remember that almost all people see negotiation as a game, and if you don’t break the rules of that game, very few opponents will judge you for fighting for the best possible deal. Just remember also that you should not be aggressive or rude and abuse threats, ultimatums, and refusals to negotiate.
Conduct thorough preparation and research
Knowledge is indeed power.
Monitor the situation – listen and observe. A brilliant negotiator picks up on both verbal and non-verbal cues that your opponent is deliberately or unknowingly making.
A brilliant negotiator identifies offers that won’t cost his side much and those that won’t cost the other side much. This gives him the opportunity to exploit situations where he can win something without hurting the other side. This is especially important if you need to agree on a design project.
Be charming… or at least be polite.
The best negotiators remain charming even when they negotiate tough. Charm is a quality that not all people are gifted with. And if you don’t have it, a very good substitute is good listening skills and politeness.
Advice: Polite behavior combined with good listening skills is 90% of the way to charm.
Arguments may arise during negotiations. In such cases, do not lose your temper, try not to shout, and do not make personal attacks. Reduce disagreements to a substantive conversation.
Hasty negotiators tend to be less successful than patient ones. Regardless of how successful you are in all other aspects of negotiation, you should be clear about when and how you should seal the agreement by concluding an agreement.
There is no doubt that regular negotiations “harden” negotiators, and a hardened negotiator will always be more successful than one who has almost forgotten about negotiations. Many business negotiators lack serious negotiation to toughen them up, and they need to make the most of the opportunities that home life offers them for negotiation to keep them in shape.
A brilliant negotiator should:
- be tough, but not annoying or aggressive;
- do careful preparation and research;
- monitor the situation – listen and observe;
- act creatively;
- be charming… or at least be polite;
- be patient;
- know when and how to make an agreement.
Alex Nilson is a newbie CEO and graphic design courses lecturer. On his leisure he creates free mockups for designers and draws logo for local businesses for free.