7 Tips for Masterful Negotiation Part 1
Think confidence, machismo, and stamina are the keys to winning a negotiation? Then your bargaining skills need a reboot. Over the past decade, a growing field of literature on the subject has come to the conclusion that checking your ego at the boardroom door is a must. Compromise and kindness are the new rules of negotiation. How does this gentler approach work? We’ve compiled a short list of pointers to get you started.
- Listen Before you Speak.
There will always be time to open your mouth later, but tap your patience to find out what the other side is thinking first. Then you have extra leverage to tailor your points to fit both sides’ goals, writes Norm Brodsky. When Mike Baicher came to see Brodsky for advice about negotiating a loan, Brodsky told him a story with a familiar moral: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Or, in his particular case, one man’s misery is another man’s idea of humor. So, when entering a negotiation, don’t make any assumptions about what’s in the other party’s mind – just enter the situation with an open mind and plenty of questions.
- Embrace Your Fear.
The late Bob Woolf, a prominent sports and entertainment attorney and author of It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask, was quick to say that 95 percent of the folks you’ll ever negotiate with feel just as nervous and, yes, as scared as you do. For that reason, he believes that kindness is a key competitive advantage when it comes to negotiations. Find his theory that “nice guys finish first” at the negotiating table hard to believe? Well, his track record of using a combination of professionalism, ethics, and manners speaks volumes—he successfully represented Julius Irving, Larry Byrd, Carl Yastrzemski, and Thurman Munson in contract negotiations.
- Avoid Storytelling.
In a negotiation, “the important thing is for you to be completely truthful about your situation,” veteran entrepreneur Norm Brodsky has said. This is especially true when it comes to negotiating a loan or another financial arrangement. You don’t want to win a particular negotiation at the expense of your credibility. The more forthright you are with the other party, the more likely you are to arrive at a satisfactory outcome. “When you’re negotiating about money you owe, don’t make up stories,” Brodsky says. “Just tell the truth.” Read more.
- Study Up.
Remember, the more knowledge you have of a situation before going to the negotiating table, the better off you will be. There are many reasons preparing yourself with the best research will be to your advantage, but one lesser-known perk comes from psychological studies. It’s called the “consistency principle,” which refers to a person’s intrinsic need to appear reasonable. That means your counterpart will likely abide by certain standards, and defer to your authority if you are able to demonstrate that you absolutely know what you are talking about. With greater knowledge, you will be able to set the parameters of the discussion in your favor. Read more.
Check back next time for part 2.
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