Monday, August 22, 2011

NEGOTIATION – The Tool Everybody Should Use Every Day!

imageThis article was written by Barry McKinley, SCORE Orange County Management Counselor

Negotiation is the basis for survival, whether you are trying to get a better price on a car, discussing a lease with your landlord, or deciding who will take the kids to school in the morning.

Take this brief test to see how you stand –answer either True or False, no maybe’s or sometimes! The answers are at the end of the article.

1. Successful negotiation is when you win!

2. It is very important at the start of negotiations to let the opposition know exactly what you expect!

3. Successful negotiators intimidate the other side!

4. When entering negotiations always have written down what you expect and share with the other side!

5. If you don’t get your way – walk away!

6. At the end of negotiations always let the other side know if you got more then you expected!

7. In successful negotiations giving in shows weakness so you never want to do that, stand strong!

8. The best negotiators seldom review facts before the meeting for fear that they could confuse information or issues!

9. During negotiations remember your opposition will normally be telling the truth!

10. Never walk away from the negotiation table with the understanding you will meet again the next day.

Following are the key skills that top successful negotiators follow;

a. Know What is Going On- we cannot be effective if we don’t know goals or objectives of our own company. Without striving to attain that information we end up ‘the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing’.

b. Prepare – Prepare – Prepare – good negotiators can only be effective when they are prepared. The better prepared you are, the more effective you will become. Learn about the other side!

c. Learn-Probe-Learn - the best negotiators are like detectives, constantly probing for more information about the opponent’s demands, concerns, and financial position to name a few.

d. See The Big Picture- the most effective negotiators are flexible. The negotiation process is like the waves in the ocean constantly changing. As we learn more we must be prepared to adjust to changing merits, influences, requirements and even egos.

e. Thick Skinned or Staying Coooooooool- learn to roll with the punches and not take what is said personally. You need to be able to separate the issues from your emotions. Don’t take yourself too seriously!

f. Can Break Down The Barriers- there are many forms of barriers that may get in the way which in turn slows down the process. Skilled negotiators learn to recognize quickly the “fly in the ointment” and understand the nature of the problem, separate it and then resolve.

g. Can Find Allies-we may not always find ourselves operating from a position of strength. Sometimes in the initial stages of our negotiations we need to find ways to enhance our position. This can be done many ways. One such way would be to try to create ‘strength in numbers’.

h. Have a Trusting Reputation - the old saying, ‘fool me once - shame on you, fool me twice - shame on me’ is applicable here. Everyone with whom we negotiate forms an impression of who we are as a negotiator and a person. If we create negative perception it will become much harder to be considered, believed or even listened to.

Questions 1-10 were all false! How did you do? Got all 10 right? Stay close to your phone you may be called to be part of the negotiation team for General Motors and the Unions.