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7 Keys to Mastering Negotiation

At the thought of going into a negotiation process, many people cringe. Negotiation is often looked at as an incredibly intimidating business strategy where one party comes out as the loser. In actuality, negotiation is a fine art. To master an art or any skill, an individual needs a fair amount of practice. No one emerges from the womb with the ability to negotiate. Granted, there are people who have a natural knack for skillful negotiation. These people are not the majority. Most people with excellent negotiating skills developed them over a period of time. There are seven different keys to remember when mastering negotiation. These keys will take any newbie far in their personal and professional negotiations.


  1. Research.

Depending on the situation, it is important to do adequate research before entering the negotiation. For a person who is interviewing for a position at a company, the time for research begins once they’ve gotten the interview. With the skills an individual possess, they must know what they can bring to the table and their value. They must also know what the company is in need of and make sure they can adequately fill a need. Knowing the ins and outs of a company’s needs and how they can serve as an asset is in an individual’s best interest. This allows them to prepare their talking points and create an argument with solid selling points. This works past getting the job, but also negotiating what is desired in the working environment, salary, benefits, growth opportunities and more.

  1. Know the Benefits.

When a person is entering a negotiation, they need to know the benefits of what they’re negotiating for. What do I want? This is the question every individual needs to know the answer to. When a person doesn’t know what they want, they make the negotiating process irrelevant and impossible. It is also really important to be clear and firm on what the ideal situation is if it were to happen. Eliminate any hypothetical situations when dealing with what is desired.

  1. Know the Costs.

Negotiation training involves knowing the potential costs of every potential outcome. To come out of a negotiation without any downsides to the decision is possible and ideal. Keep in mind that this doesn’t always happen. Part of a negotiation involves understanding costs may exist. Once the costs are known, it is important to know whether or not they are doable. If the benefits do not outweigh costs, the negotiation will turn into a bad deal. From the beginning, it is important to have a clear sense of what will work and what won’t work in a negotiation to create a positive solution.

  1. Ask.

Enter into a negotiation with the mindset of knowing what’s desired and being fully prepared to ask for it. When parties go into this type of process with motive to ask rather than demand, it can make the outcomes a lot more favorable for both. Studies show that when people go into negotiations with a condescending attitude and lots of demands, they are less likely to get what they want. Furthermore, they leave a bad impression and leave people less likely to want to continue collaborations further down the line. Ask what’s desired. Be clear and don’t be afraid to make all requests known. One of the main reasons why people may not get what they want is because they fail to ask for what they want. Ask.

Additionally, ask with an intention. Asking for what’s desired is also the prime time to share some of the research done. Present the information in terms of how it can benefit the other party.

  1. Listen.

Once a party asks for what they want, they need to listen to the other party. A major part of negotiation (and communication in general) involves becoming an excellent listener. Too often, people enter negotiations with only their personal motives on the brain. Part of being a good communicator involves being a good listener.

One of the greatest desires of every human is to know that they are loved and heard. When a person feels like they are heard, they feel validated and understood. There is so much power in allowing someone to feel that. Once a person knows they are truly heard and understood, they are more likely to help in creating a positive outcome in a negotiation.

  1. Package.

After listening to the other party and gaining a full understanding of what they need and are looking for in an outcome, continue to present viable options that can benefit both sides. When looking for an ideal outcome, use language that is along the lines of “if” and “then”. For example, “if I stay late two nights out the week, then you will allow me to come in two hours later on Monday mornings.” It is also important to negotiate in terms of package deals instead of by each individual issue. Coming to a package agreement allows for more flexibility and terms that both parties are left happy with.

  1. Practice.

The final step is to practice. Practice makes for improvement and excellent execution. Begin the process in places like the department store while shopping. Look for ways to negotiate in social situations. These opportunities will help build confidence, courage and skill in how to effectively negotiate. It may not work all the time, but at least it is good to continuously work at this really important craft.

These seven keys allow anyone who is new to negotiation to properly study and learn the proper techniques. Whether it is for a potential job, promotion, or pair of shoes, negotiation is a great skill to learn in order to get the absolute best of out of every situation. With lots of practice, negotiation will feel natural. Like a fine wine, negotiation always gets better with time!

Written By

Dennis Hung is an entrepreneur and product analyst specializing in mobile technology and IoT. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Morgan

    July 8, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    These are some great pointers! You bring up a lot of valid points that should be considered when negotiating. Nice work! Thanks for the suggestions!

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