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5 communication techniques that make you a good negotiator

Sonal Mishra
10th Sep 2016
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Negotiation is not just about getting what you want or giving what the other party is interested in. It is about reaching a win-win situation by which you settle differences without getting into any kind of disagreements, arguments or disputes.

A good negotiator is someone who aims at understanding the other person's perspective in addition to making the best efforts to achieve a successful outcome that benefits both the parties.

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That being said, it is not always this easy. There are so many examples of deals, collaborations and associations that never made it to the race because one or both the parties did not want to reach the middle ground. The recent example of Flipkart acquiring Jabong for $70 million can be a great lesson for negotiators aiming to seal some major deals in the near future.

According to The Economic Times, a person close to Snapdeal said the company dropped out of the race as Jabong did not address issues that had arisen during due diligence. Perhaps eventually, once-in-a lifetime deals like this land in the lap of parties who know how to propose the best value without wasting time. In a nutshell, good negotiation is all about keeping the other party interested until a concrete foundation has been established.

Here are five negotiating techniques that will help you get the most of what you want from your business, stakeholders and future collaborations.

Do not focus on ‘winning’ everything

The first and the most crucial technique to ace negotiation is to remove this mental block. Do not enter the meeting room if you are still thinking about winning. Negotiation is not a competition where you have to come first. It is a way forward to build lasting relationships, especially in a professional setup. The fact that both the parties have agreed to have a discussion on a particular matter is a sign that you both want to reach mutually benefiting terms of collaboration.

Write down all the points that you want the other party to work on, and do not forget to pen down their interests and expectations, too. A quick comparison between the two will help you identify the areas of common ground and take proper actions.

Ask open-ended questions

A negotiator should be fluent and have impeccable communication skills. Your skills to communicate effectively should not be limited to what to say but must rather focus on how to say it. For instance, you don’t want to ask questions that will fetch you nothing more than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in response. Starting a conversation with questions like, “What are your expectations from the deal?”, or “Do you have any additional ideas in mind to make this collaboration more profitable?”, will help you gain trust as well as give space to the other person to share their interests with clarity.

Share information

One of the most common mistakes of negotiators is that they try to hide certain facts and figures while discussing the deal. Trust issues have always been a major reason for most failed collaborations in the past. Simply putting out the relevant information is not enough if you want to build good professional tie-ups. You need to be honest and upfront about your current standings and encourage the other to do the same. Do not show all your cards, but make sure to reveal the ones that are conducive to increase the outcome.

Mind the language

Using hesitant and negative language is a big no when it comes to negotiating. Using words, like ‘umm’, ‘I guess so’ and ‘you know’, reduces your power and raises questions on the credibility of your ideas. On the other hand, using negative phrases, such as ‘you’re wrong about this’, or ‘you should not say such a thing’, not only raise eyebrows but also limit a person’s understanding of the substance, making it harder for the speaker to convince the other person about their intentions. According to a study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, if you want to be communicate with persuasion, don't stumble, pause or use language that shows hesitation. Most importantly, do not give your listeners time to think about what you're really saying, suggests the study.

Use brief, but authoritative, statements

Rambling in a meeting room while others stare at you with confused looks is the last thing you want to encounter in a professional setting. Keeping your statement brief will give you the much needed pause in between the conversation and make your audience pay attention to the subject. Whatever you say, make sure you do it with a sense of authority in your conduct. On the other hand, if the other person is talking, try to keep your responses short with phrases like ‘Okay’, ‘I understand’ and ‘I get it’.

Follow these tips to become a better negotiator and close every deal successfully. Remember that you have the power to walk from a deal if it doesn't fit the bill. Your focus should be to get the best out of the each one and take calculated actions as the conversation unfolds.

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