10 Ways You Can Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Top Tips August 30, 2017 By Hugo

Unless you have the gift of the gab, there's a strong possibility that negotiating isn't something that comes naturally to you and because of this many like-minded people shy away from it altogether. But being a good negotiator is something that can also be practiced over time, and if you follow these simple steps, you'll find many rewards and opportunities coming your way that few experience for fear of being confrontational.

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Here are 10 tips everyone should bear in mind if they want to improve their negotiation skills. 

1. Do your Research

Whether you're seeking a salary increase at work or capital for a business venture, it almost goes without saying that research is vital. You need to bring something to the table that will make the person sitting opposite you ardently believe in your proposition so under no circumstance should you demand something without any research to back it up.

For instance, if a higher salary is what you're aiming for then stay composed and refer to figures that prove your worth to the company. Or, if you want investment for a business then prove its worth the sum you're using by showing past sales figures or a clear outline that forecasts strong growth.

2. Listen

When we find ourselves in meetings with a lot at stake we tend to talk more than we listen owing mainly to general nerves and want to impress your boss.

Buy by making this easy mistake, a wave of useful information can go over our heads, so bear in mind that listening is just as important as talking when asking for something more.

3. Always smile

Let's face it: no one likes talking to a bore- especially one who frowns. Talking with a smile not only gives off a great display of confidence but also makes the person sitting opposite more at ease.

Equally, showcasing a moderate amount of light-hearted banter can do wonders. After all, it's harder to say no to someone who comes across as highly likeable.

4. Be assertive

The word assertive is synonymous with negotiating but few people, when push comes to shove, manage to assert themselves successfully.

But there's little point in arranging a meeting if you are too afraid to tell them why they should be meeting your demands. If you immediately start nodding to everything they say and don't sell yourself, then you'll quickly turn into a pushover. 

5. Take your time

It goes without saying that if you rush something the end product usually isn't any good and the same rings true in negotiations. If you deem yourself worthy of what it is you want, you need to showcase qualities synonymous with success and being calm and composed is one of them. 

Admittedly it can be tempting to want to get a tricky and often uncomfortable situation over with as soon as possible but being patient is key. After all, you don't want to find yourself missing out on vital points and opinions that could quite easily be beneficial to you or the company you are representing.

6. Risks are always worth taking

While carrying an umbrella everywhere you go isn't a bad thing, there are times in life where living on the edge and putting that umbrella to one side can pay dividends. In other words, don't be afraid to throw the kitchen sink at your boss (metaphorically speaking, of course) and tell him/her how important you are.

It may be an approach that many might take umbrage with but few would doubt your passion and confidence.

7. Have the right body language

Believe it or not, research has found that a message is transferred a whopping 55% by body language, 38% accounting for the way words are delivered and a paltry 7% by the words themselves.

Indeed, what we don't say is arguably as important as what we do say. And whether it's a healthy posture, a confident handshake or an unflinching look in the eye, displaying good body language is a trait many successful negotiators possess.

8. Repeat, repeat and repeat 

Meetings can sometimes result in psychological warfare, especially if neither parties are willing to budge. If that occurs, it's worth bearing in mind the law of iteration whereby you repeat your demand and link it into the conversation whenever possible until it is firmly rooted in the consciousness of the person of influence.

It may backfire but if you aren't likely to get what you want then it's always good to use this method as a last resort.

9. Always make it clear early on in the meeting what it is you want 

There is a process in negotiating called anchoring’ which requires you to put your wants on the line the moment you get in the room. By doing this, you are immediately showcasing your counterpart that you mean business, and they will likely consider your demand as a starting point for the negotiation. 

Why? Because humans rely heavily on the first piece of information they are presented with so if you state, albeit in an unassuming manner that "I won't accept anything below $40,000"  you are immediately giving the person serious food for thought.

10. Avoid cliches at all costs

While you may feel like you're in an episode of The Apprentice, there's a good chance your boss, just like Donald Trump, has heard the same cliches a million times before. So don't say them!

If you want to go into that meeting and come out with what you desired,  make sure you're different from the rest. Cliches may seem like an easy way to display your passion, but they are often hackneyed and suggest you aren't too dissimilar to everyone else. Instead, talk from the heart in a way that is eloquent and clear to understand. 


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