You negotiate daily even if you don’t realize it. Whether it’s asking for a raise, choosing a restaurant to meet for lunch, or bargaining with your teenager, you’re a negotiator. Negotiation skills have never been more important. There are fewer good jobs available and conflict around the world is commonplace.
But, while negotiations are common, bargaining effectively doesn’t come easily to most people. Good negotiating skills must be both learned and developed. Experience is necessary.
Most negotiations are ineffective, take far too long, and result in at least one of the parties feeling bitter about the process. Relationships of all types can be permanently harmed by common negotiating practices.
Negotiations can be judged on 3 criteria:
- How well does the agreement meet the needs of both parties? It’s not all about you. If you put your customer out of business due to your high prices, you lose a customer. Or they might choose to go somewhere else next time.
- Is the agreement efficient? Not only should an agreement be reached in a reasonable amount of time, it should also be practical and workable. Too many unnecessary details create an agreement that’s difficult to comply with or to enforce.
- The relationship between the parties should be improved, or at least maintained. If the relationship is harmed in any way, it is not an ideal agreement. If you get what you want, but lose your best long-term client, or infuriate your significant other, the negotiation wasn’t successful.
Many negotiations fail if measured by this set of criteria.
You might not be negotiating multi-million dollars deals every week, but you do negotiate each day with those around you. The same concepts still apply. Learn to negotiate effectively, and you’ll get more of what you want and strengthen your relationships at the same time!
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