Part of being successful is learning how to negotiate your way through the choices and options that are placed in front of you.
Whether you're an attorney closing multibillion-dollar acquisitions or a husband asking his wife if he can hang out with the guys a little longer this evening, you have to be able to negotiate effectively to get what you want.
It's not about manipulation.
Negotiation isn't you twisting someone else's arm. You don't need to be glib, witty, or smooth.
You just need to know what the other person really wants.
Sure, it helps to be self-aware.
In fact, if there were one quality that could make you a superstar negotiator, it would be self-awareness. How many times have you tried to reason with someone who just seemed like an absolute idiot?
Despite you pointing out to them the ridiculous nature of their requests, they just can't seem to get out of their own way and position themselves for the success they really want.
They just aren't aware enough of their own behaviors -- of how their behaviors appear to those around them -- to be able to communicate clearly the advantages of their own position.
Being self aware means that you understand your own weaknesses. You aren't pretending that they do not exist. You are embracing what makes you your worst and using all the potential of your strengths to convince the other person of your position.
The next time you head into a showdown and find yourself unable to get what you think you deserve, you might want to ask the following questions:
- How might another person view your demands?
- Are you really being as honest as you could be?
- How will you feel about your demands six months from now?
Answering these questions will give you additional insight into how the other person in your negotiation is likely interpreting your demands.
But enough about you.
What about the person on the other end of the deal?
We often wittily say that it takes "two to tango".
And while we can do a better job of fixing ourselves than those we do business with, just being a rational human being doesn't guarantee you negotiation success.
Especially since a considerable amount of negotiation is quite illogical. It's emotional.
The biggest mistake of negotiations is that most people don't know what the other person wants out of the deal.
And don't be confused.
What someone says they want isn't likely at all to be what they really want out of the deal.
It isn't. And remember -- you act that way too.
- You claim you want a higher price point, but really you just want to hold your head up with dignity.
- You claim that the deal terms are way out of control, but really you just want to feel like you are in control of something.
- You shout and scream about the details, but just want to feel like you are being heard.
That's how you act. Right?
So why wouldn't you suspect that's how everybody does it?
And you would be exactly right.
- You struggle with understanding what you really want out of life.
- You struggle knowing what will make you happy.
It's important to remember that the person you're negotiating with thinks and acts and feels the exact same way.
The key is being vulnerable.
Being vulnerable enough to ask the intimate details that help you understand what the other person really wants.
You might simply try asking:
- What is it that you really want?
- What would make you happy ?
The reality is that you might have to ask the same question 3 to 4 times before the person you're negotiating wish actually believes that you want an honest answer.
It's hard for us to believe that someone else might actually care about our needs. It's hard to believe that the person were doing battle with might not actually be doing battle with us at all.
Negotiation, like a lot of other parts of business, is best served with kindness.
You can bully and banter and badger your way through negotiations. And from time to time you'll have some quick wins to brag about.
But over the long run you'll just end up being a lonely, scared, empty person.
Kindness might seem like weakness, but it's the catalyst that can grows your business.
If you're not negotiating with it.
You're probably not as effective as you could be.