Negotiations are not something you can just walk into and hope for the best. They require a certain mindset and a calculated plan of action if you want to to walk away with all parties pleased about the outcome of these discussions. Here are a few tips businesses should keep in mind as they hit the negotiation table:
1. Be realistic with goals and objectives
When people walk into conversations with other parties, they often think about what they need and set out to achieve all of their priorities. However, it is not realistic to enter negotiations expecting to achieve all objectives – compromises will need to be made a long the way, that is just how it works.
In fact, going into these conversations expecting to achieve all objectives may even be detrimental. It can lead to an adversarial, even standoffish, tone to discussions, which results in both parties thinking negatively of each other and walking away unsatisfied with the results.
2. Go into negotiations with a unique strategy
For experienced negotiators, it can be easy to trivialize these conversations – if they have done it once, they may assume they have done it a million times. This is a bad mindset because it leads to people going into talks unprepared.
Instead, people need to remember that each negotiation is unique and will require participants to prepare in advance. It does not matter whether they are negotiating for a week off later on in the year or on the terms to acquire another company, each conversation is unique. People cannot afford to simply walk into these conversations and play it by ear. This helps negotiators improve their confidence as well.
3. Learn how to discuss issues
Negotiations between businesses are not like discussing hostage scenarios where one party makes demands and the other listens and tries to talk them down. Listing demands in rapid succession makes the negotiator seems as if he or she feels superior and is not an effective way of having conversations with others. Negotiations are about communicating with others and working together, not being the boss with a list of things demands that one party needs met.
Learning how to position various issues and addressing them in a timely fashion is key to successful negotiation and helps avoid unnecessary, nonproductive conflicts. Negotiators should not be fixated on making their demands known, but on understanding the position of the other party involved and working on ways to ensure everyone walks away from negotiations with satisfactory results.
4. Respect everyone in negotiations
Finally, it is crucial that negotiators respect everyone involved with these communications. While this is obvious for major negotiations, such as working out a business deal with a client, this notion may not be top of mind when it comes to working with other business units internally or when speaking to specific employees.
At the end of the day, negotiation is all about respect for the others involved. Businesses must understand the end goals of their partners and respect them if they want to be able to get the most out of negotiations.