When you think about it, life is a series of negotiations. The American Heritage Dictionary defines negotiate as conferring with another or others in order to come to terms or reach an agreement. That is what makes negotiations skills training so important. You negotiate with others far more often than you may realize--negotiations that include interactions with family and friends, getting the best deal on a consumer purchase, and a wide variety of business activities.
Though effective negotiating does come more easily to some than others, it's a skill that anyone can learn and everyone should. Though the consumer culture in the United States doesn't leave much room for negotiation--you're not, for example, likely to be able to dicker over price in a major department store--there are still plenty of opportunities for negotiations skills training.
The clerk at Bloomingdale's might not have the authority to give you a discount, but the owner of a small store certainly could. And if you're in business, you'll find yourself using negotiations skills training on a wide range of issues on a daily basis, from prices and terms with vendors to salary and benefit packages with employees.
Fundamentals of negotiating
There are three fundamental components of negotiations skills training: listening, obtaining information, and overcoming objections, and they occur simultaneously. To be a good negotiator, you don't need to be pushy or overbearing, you don't need to be the loudest or most forceful speaker, and most importantly, you don't need to be offensive. Successful negotiations come from understanding these three components and using them in a way that results in a win-win transaction.
Good listeners place as much or more emphasis on what others are saying than on what they themselves are saying or planning to say. You can develop your own listening skills by changing your attitude from one that is self-centered to one that focuses on the other person as part of negotiations skills training. When you are truly focused on what the person you are negotiating with has to say, the information gathering process is enhanced. And that brings us to the second component of negotiating: obtaining information.
In order to propose an acceptable agreement, you need to understand what both parties need. You already know, of course, what will work for you; asking good questions and then listening carefully to the answers is a very direct and quite effective way to find out what will work for the other person. Finally, as you negotiate, you will have to overcome objections. Many people fear objections, but a good negotiator welcomes them as part of negotiations skills training . Why? Because what is often perceived as an obstacle is really just a request for more information. When people seek more information, it usually means they are looking for reasons or ways to make the deal work.
Objections typically come in the form of questions but may be statements. If possible, use your negotiations skills training to find out what's behind the objection before you respond to it. You may discover that it's not really an objection at all.
Good negotiators are not adversarial or challenging. They listen, gather data, and address concerns, then offer a proposal that will work for all parties. Develop and refine your negotiating skills training and you'll find that every aspect of your life will become much smoother and more rewarding.