Negotiating 10 Commandments

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Try these Negotiating 10 Commandments to improve your negotiating results in today's turbulent economic environment. They can mean the difference between success and failure.

Negotiating Commandment 1.Know your BATNA, your No Agreement Alternative. What you will do if you are unable to reach an agreement through negotiation. Failing to know your BATNA means you are either forced to negotiate until a deal is reached, even if that agreement is unacceptable or to walk away empty handed.

Negotiating Commandment 2. Prepare Thoroughly. Many people enter negotiations with no clear idea of what they want. How can you tell if you succeeded if you don't know what you wanted? In negotiation Information is Power. Doing your homework is vital to successful negotiation.

Gather as much pertinent information as possible prior to your negotiation. Learn as much as possible about your needs and wants and about the needs and wants of the other side. Prepare an agenda and then review it answering the questions as you believe the other side would.

Negotiating Commandment 3. Never Negotiate with Someone Who Has No Authority. If you are the only one empowered to make concessions, only you will make concessions. Determine the extent of the other side's authority very early in the negotiation.

Negotiating Commandment 4. Set An Environment Of Agreement. Table some non controversial issues first and get agreement to them or give an early, small concession. Initial agreement on minor issues or points early on in the negotiation process sets a positive atmosphere for agreement in later, more significant stages. In negotiation, like most things in life, investment begets commitment. You want to give the other side time to get invested in the process before bringing up the difficult issues.

Negotiating Commandment 5. Know What You REALLY Want and ASK For It. Successful negotiators are assertive- they know that everything is negotiable. Negotiators often fail to raise an issue because they don't think they have a chance of success Not only do good negotiators ask for everything they want, they also make sure they don't end up with something they don't want. Be explicit about what you do and don't want.

Practice expressing what you want without anxiety or anger. You can ask for difficult things while remaining pleasant. There is a difference between being assertive and aggressive. You are assertive when you take care of your own interests while maintaining respect for the interests of others.

Negotiating Commandment 6. Become Comfortable with Silence. Many negotiators feel compelled to jump in with arguments and comments each time there is a pause in the interaction. Practice holding back on comments and responses. Silence can be a very powerful negotiation tool. Good negotiators are like detectives. They ask probing questions and then shut up. Generally, the other negotiator will tell you everything you need to know - all you have to do is listen.

Negotiating Commandment 7. Trade! Don't Give Anything Away Without Getting Something In Return. Whenever you give something away, get something in return., ie.e."I'll do this if you do that." People value what they have to work for. Even if the offer contains everything you want, don't accept too quickly or they will wonder if they couldn't have gotten a better deal. If they have to earn your concession, they will derive a greater sense of satisfaction than if they got it for nothing

Negotiating Commandment 8. Refuse to Get Side Tracked By Emotions. Refuse to Get Side Tracked By Emotions. Don't take the issues or the other person's behavior personally even if they need to vent. Freed of the burden of emotion they can then continue negotiations in a more constructive vein.

All too often negotiations fail because one or both of the parties get sidetracked by personal issues unrelated to the deal at hand. Successful negotiators focus on solving the problem, and don't take anything personally.

Negotiating Commandment 9. Get It In Writing. Samuel Goldwyn once said: "An oral agreement isn't worth the paper it's written on." And, make sure you are the one who will draft the written agreement. Close all negotiations by clearly outlining agreement. Take notes during the negotiation and get sign off on your notes be you end. When parties fail to live up to an agreement, written proof of the negotiators' intent is critical.

Negotiating Commandment 10. Always Leave Them Feeling Like They Got a Good Deal. Don't Gloat. Always praise the deal they got no matter what, it is the cheapest concession you can make. When you've gotten a good deal, never turn to your opponents and tell them you would have done it for less. Praising the deal they got will likely prevent buyer's remorse.

While there are many other variables that go into a successful negotiation, practicing these 10 key "commandments" will make a big difference in the success you experience in your negotiations.

For more information about negotiation, click on any of the links below.

To learn more about other conflict resolution topics, click on any of the links below.

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