The definition of negotiation is more than just a conversation between two people. It is a skillful way of reaching an agreement between two teams where both achieve their goals through agreements and compromise.
Negotiation is an art form that many successful business leaders know is the key to running a thriving business. Successful meetings with clients, colleagues, and, sometimes, competitors can help your business to progress.
There are many forms of negotiation, and everyone has their own strategies in the process. Yet, skilled negotiators have learned from negotiation seminars that obtaining mutual benefits and retaining a positive relationship with the other team are the foundations for a successful outcome.
The Hows and Whys
Negotiating is a skill that is learned by either observation (such as by shadowing a senior leader or by attending a seminar) and perfected through practice. Negotiation seminars teach that understanding what makes a strong strategy for securing deals is the key to becoming successful in a number of discussion scenarios.
The first step in learning to negotiate is knowing why there is a need for skill in the first place. In business, conflicts between staff, clients, and buyers can arise.
Conflict is often unavoidable as people tend to look out for their own goals and needs. However, strong negotiation skills can help prevent a tense situation from turning into an argument or confrontation.
Once you understand why negotiating is important as a business leader, training to negotiate successfully is where theory turns into profitable application. As with most things, negotiating is a process and usually requires following a series of steps to achieve your goal.
The Negotiation Process
Remembering the fundamental steps in the process is key in securing and maintaining successful business relationships. Ensuring to follow each step in turn is a negotiation seminar tip that encourages you to remember that negotiation begins before entering the meeting room and doesn’t end when you sign the contract.
Preparation - Preparing for your meeting is about doing your research on the other team. Research is the best way to understand where the customer or buyer is coming from and what their goals are. Once you understand what the customer or buyer wants out of the situation, you can then strategize to use this information to reach your end goal.
Strategize - Think about what you want out of the meeting and be prepared to make compromises in order to achieve a win-win deal for you and the customer or buyer you’re negotiating with. Strategizing before discussions helps you know what to say and what to offer during the discussions. Being prepared with a strategy shows that you are confident and skilled.
Discussions - During discussions, remember that what you say and how you act matter. Be upfront about what your goals are for the meeting and let the other party know how you can get what they want in exchange.
Also, appearing confident is important, and you want to reflect this confidence in your body language. Remember to maintain eye contact and to not appear impatient if discussions become heated.
This stage of the process requires listening skills just as much as it requires verbal skills. Give the other team their opportunity to talk.
Making a Deal - Deciding on making the first offer is a tricky move because you do not want to be anchored to an offer if you do not have enough information. If you feel confident in the information you have, then you should be ready to make the first offer.
Once an initial offer is made, counteroffers can follow. The process continues until a deal is agreed.
Locking in a deal does not end with the handshake. Securing a contract is just the start of the relationship, and it is important to follow through on performance and delivery to maintain a positive business relationship for future successful discussions.
Business discussions can be an intimidating situation, especially if you are new to the game. However, with training and knowledge, such as that gained in seminars, and with practice and preparation, you can learn to be a skilled negotiator.
The art of negotiation does not only apply to the business world. Skills you apply in the conference room can carry over to everyday tasks, including your agreements with your significant other or making purchases.