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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Effective Negotiation-Turning a "No" into a "Yes"

Effective negotiations skills have a significant place in business as contracts, labor agreements, positions, raises, and even work conditions are often negotiated. As people move up the ranks in position and skill they will likely become involved in negotiations as their positions are no longer bound by clear definitions that define entry level positions. Whether you are negotiating on the behalf of a company or with a company consider a few tips that can turn a "no" into a "yes".

All negotiations come with an end game that includes a place where both parties agree to a particular contract or understanding. Getting to that place where both parties accept a specific outcome is the more difficult task. There will be banter, game playing, and information sharing that brings both parties from A to Z.

At its heart, negotiation is about sharing perspective. When both parties are open to understanding each other and coming to a conclusion the process may take less time and effort than when two parties have mental barriers. The closer the perspectives and basic fundamental understandings of both parties the more likely a fast resolution will result.

When work is needed parties share information and seek to use leverage. Sharing information and leverage are really the only two levels of negotiation. Leverage isn't necessarily coercive but it can be depending on the circumstances and perspective of the parties. For example, a union can threaten to walk out of negotiation if the company is not willing to budge on a particular point.

A complex web of leverage upon leverage can develop where one party offers something of value or is willing to take it away an item of value depending on the action and reaction of the other party. After subsequent rounds of offering different solutions the parties will naturally begin to share some levels of perspective where each party knows what the other wants and finding the fastest way to get there is the best bet.

Both sides come with some level of enthusiasm but with incorrect assumptions of what they can get out of the negotiation. After sharing information and using leverage both parties come to a better understanding of the likely outcomes. The less adversarial the parties the more likely they are able to come to this understanding without the bruised egos.

Turning a "no" into "yes" requires using information and leverage to its maximum potential. Providing that information which strengthens ones position is necessary. Yet one should neglect their opponent least they entrench them into a position where they are not likely to budge thereby costing more money and effort than is necessary.

Understand your position and your opponents positions to define the limits. Seek to find a way in which both parties can get what they want creating a win-win situation. If this is not possible then it is necessary to discussing other options that may be acceptable to both parties. It may not be the best scenario but it could result in something that is acceptable.

Make sure you are prepared with the facts and figures needed to judge and weigh each option as it will save considerable time. Know what your opponent wants and their end point where the figures can no longer add up for them. Ensure you know your own companies positions and what lines it cannot cross. Create benchmarks for entry, acceptable, and best case scenarios.

Converting "no" to "yes" is a process of creating an understanding in your opponent and your own team. It is often necessary to give information, facts, and figures in a way that leads one to a conclusion. Don't underestimate your opponent as they also have a strategy and methodology to get your agreement. Make sure that you maintain control of the negotiation process by being proactive and influencing the nature of the conversation when possible. This is more likely if you are armed with information.

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