What I love about the topic of negotiation is that many people look at me and tell me, ‘You know what? I’m not a negotiator,’ or ‘I don’t do it very well.’ Other people, just at the hearing of the word ‘negotiation,’ become fearful.

Negotiation is a life skill. All of us do it on a daily basis, and if we become conscious of the skill and practice it, all of us have the opportunity to become better at it.

The following are 10 tips to help you ensure a successful negotiation.

Tip #1 – recognize that everything in life is negotiable. From asking a significant other or your children to take out the garbage or clean up their room, to asking for a raise, to negotiating a merger and acquisition. Almost every communication in life where one counterpart is trying to change the action or interaction of the other counterpart is some form of a negotiation.

Tip #2 – go for win-win outcomes. Win-win outcomes are where both parties feel as those their needs and goals have been met. And here’s the kicker, both parties are willing to come back to the table and renegotiate with each other at a later time.

Tip #3 – aim high. Your level of aspiration going into the negotiation almost always will single-handedly determine your outcome leaving the negotiation. Go for the moon.

Tip #4 – have sound strategies and tactics. Most negotiators use three to five strategies and tactics over and over. What I encourage you to do is watch people use their life skills, and if you are an observer of life, you’ll start to recognize there are many different types of tactics you can use to help gain or maintain leverage in a negotiation.

Tip #5 – plan ahead and do research prior to showing up for the negotiation. The best negotiators with the best outcomes usually have the best and the most available information at their fingertips.

Tip #6 – listen. Remember, God gave you two ears and one mouth, and would really appreciate it in a negotiation, if you would use them in that order.

Tip #7 – if you are going to open up your mouth, we recommend asking questions. You can ask closed-ended questions if you’re trying to confirm a deal point or gain a concession, you could ask open-ended questions if you’re trying to gain the maximum amount of information, but we encourage asking questions.

Tip #8 – learn how to effectively read your counterpart’s non-verbal behavior. Are they accepting of your ideas? Are they rejecting your ideas? Most of that information can be gained if you’re good at reading non-verbal behavior.

Tip #9 – learn to identify your counterpart’s behavioral style. Are they a shark? Are they a carp? Are they a dolphin? Are they amiable? Are they analytical? Are they a hard line, bottom line, results-oriented driver? Understanding who your counterpart is makes a huge difference in how you want to present information.

Tip #10 – remember, most negotiations give you the ability that if things are not right, get up and walk away. The side who is the least committed to the relationship almost always holds the most power.

Use these ten tips to hone in your negotiations skills. For move tips, sign up for our negotiation tactic of the week.

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