Convincing stakeholders of a certain course of action and gaining their cooperation is easier said than done. Whether you’re bargaining for more project resources or negotiating requirements with stakeholders, only the most honest and transparent strategies can help you win. Rookie negotiators should expect their first experience at negotiating to be tough. Learning the tricks of the trade however, is not that hard as long as you don’t have a problem with taking risks.
The art of negotiating is a skill worth mastering.
Every professional should have solid negotiation skills. In the business environment, negotiations happen almost every hour of the day. Analysts working on company-wide projects should be prepared to negotiate with suppliers, customers and other employees. In business, everyone wants something. To get it, you have to master the art of negotiation. This skill will help you achieve your goals on any project and build your reputation.
The number one rule of proverbial negotiating is to ensure that you’re negotiating with the right person. It’s fundamental that you deal with the decision makers – people with the capacity to make decisions and not with intermediaries.
Here are 4 tips to get you started:
Be passionate about what you want
You can’t be driven to get what you want if you are not passionate about it. In fact, passion should drive your actions for your project to thrive. During negotiations, you have the power to get the other party to agree to a deal without sharing all the details of your offer.
Sell yourself first before introducing your suggestions or recommendations. It won’t be easy to get stakeholders to trust you and your judgment, but ask yourself this: what would someone need to do to make you believe in their idea?
Practice should be your mantra
Before asking for commitments, invest time in building relationships with your stakeholders. Practice your speech as many times as possible, and make sure that any benefit you promise can be delivered. Don’t enter negotiations making unreasonable demands of stakeholders or you won’t get whatever it is you want. Start slow; ask for small commitments and then work your way up. Mold your offer as the negotiation unfolds and aim at finding common ground.
Build trust first and you’ll have a better chance of convincing stakeholders that what you have to offer is worth considering. Practice your pitch in front of a mirror, or record yourself speak. This will help you fix any dialogue flaws that may crop up. Can you engage your audience in less than 3 minutes? Speaking fluently and clearly is key.
Develop a strong negotiating stance
Confidence is vital when entering business negotiations. However, make sure you don’t turn self-assurance into arrogance. Avoid the all-or-nothing approach because it is too aggressive. Making unrealistic demands and disrespecting your counterparts can make them cancel the deal and walk away. Rather than getting nothing, 50% sounds a lot better, don’t you think?
To succeed, there’s no need to adopt a hostile attitude when negotiating. Maintain respect for self and others and this will help you build positive relationships with others. Respect is easily gained when you deal fairly with others.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate your future!
Every business professional should be prepared to handle challenging negotiations. The more you practice, the higher the chances of improving your skills and becoming a master of the trade. Don’t allow fear to get the best of you. Put your anxiety and emotions to good use and ensure that everything you say is backed by solid proof.
Negotiating doesn’t have to be nerve-racking. All you have to do is be honest. State what you want from the other party, be clear on your demands and expectations, and ultimately, go for a win-win. Build a connection and only agree to a deal that can bring benefits to both parties. Remember, not all benefits are financial.
Steve Brown is a contributor to top business sites and mainly focuses on business-related topics. He recommends The Gap Partnership where you can get negotiation experts and Practitioners in consultancy and development.