Business Negotiating Techniques

Business negotiating can play an important role in our professional pursuits, the techniques involved can even be of help in our personal lives (outside of the office.) The truth is, we can even be negotiating without realizing it – it is an action that we do naturally from day to day. Perhaps you went to the mall over the weekend and asked for a reduction in the selling price of a faulty item, maybe you had some ideas of how to change something in your office.

Negotiating doesn’t have to be difficult, but how effortless it can or can’t be, depends on a few factors. One of the main factors will be how much is at stake and another factor that can make it a challenge is your mood – if you are upset or angry then negotiating can seem like the highest of hurdles. If you have low self esteem and the person or group you are negotiating with is full of confidence – this might be greatly intimidating for you.

The purpose of this article is to reveal some of the secrets to good business negotiation skills so that you can use them as you need – when in confrontation with colleagues or customers – or even with the big boss! You might also find that the advice here will be of use in more personal situations too.

Introduction To Negotiating

Simply put, negotiating is when two or more persons/groups will discuss their different needs and aim to come to a solution that satisfies either party. Negotiating is not a process that sticks to a set of guidelines and each case could be very variable when compared to the one before or to the next. How the situation develops will depend on the people involved and what skills/ideas/attitudes they have. What negotiating isn’t, is a conflict. Too many make negotiating faults by believing they are under pressure to get the results swayed towards their ideas – using intimidation, force and even anger. Ideally, all involved should accept that the outcome will be favorable to both sides.

Negotiating Techniques

Let us have a look in more detail, the potentially successful business techniques of negotiation. First, you should use appropriate questioning to find out what the other parties needs are and what they dislike about your need and want for change. Take time to make sure that you fully understand their needs and if you must, use what we call ‘listening responses’ to clarify the situation. An example might be “If I am correct, you want to ensure that…”

Following this, it will be time to share your concerns and ideas. Don’t make the fault of only declaring what you want, but always back it up with reasons as to why you want it a certain way. You have to give the other party a chance to understand your reasoning. You could discover through this, that both parties are aiming for the same goal or outcome, but their approach to reaching that goal is different.

Have your plan B’s and C’s at hand should you require them. Negotiating is all about discussing possible means of coming to an agreement, so you do need to be little flexible and have your options worked out beforehand. Take this one step further by detecting what the response of the other party might be and the solution to their responses.

Never allow anger or intimidation to get out of hand in business negotiating – you don’t want to upset others. You are looking at possible solutions to make everyone involved reach satisfaction with the outcome. By no means should you try to intimidate others into thinking that their needs are questionable or wrong in the first place.

10 Tips for Successful Presentations

Presentations. Love them or hate them, at some point we’ll all have to do them. So here are our top 10 tips for successful presentations.

1. Your audience may have preconceptions so do your best to manage their concerns. You do this by reassurance and empathy with the audience and demonstrating your understanding.

2. Put key points at the start and end of each section. This is what we’re most likely to remember about your presentation.

3. Introduce each concept as if it’s an elevator pitch; 30 seconds to summarise will be enough to establish interest and set expectations.

4. Use personal anecdotes and humour but don’t tell jokes! The punchline could just fall flat…

5. Remember to ensure outcomes are met, and recap on them.

6. Get feedback from the audience by asking questions. Interactivity is great in presentations and your delegates will leave far more satisfied than if they are just “talked at.”

7. Focus on your attendees; phrase points from their perspective, use their language wherever possible.

8. Prepare, prepare, prepare. But prepare to be flexible; questions will inevitably arise and you need to be confident enough to answer them.

9. If it goes wrong in any way; take it in your stride. What’s the worst that can happen? If your technology fails you, then you know your subject and can continue without it can’t you?

10. Have fun! If you have fun, your audience will too.

It seems to be something of a misconception that we must present with PowerPoint, give out handouts and follow a tried and tested formula. I have trained many courses over the years and attendees have expressed surprise that I have not used PowerPoint slides very much in the courses. PowerPoint is a fantastic tool for presentations, but only if the presenter is good too. Without a speaker who knows their stuff, we’re just left with a bunch of slides that may or may not mean something to us.

My favourite presentations are the ones that are interactive, where the presenter works the room and not just the laser pointer.

Ask loads of questions of your audience when you present, make them feel part of the proceedings and let them contribute. It’s such a nice feeling as an audience member to be a participant and not just a spectator.

If you are a nervous presenter, getting interactive with your audience will settle your nerves, and also means you’re not doing everything. This gives you time to breathe and think about what’s coming next.

Be yourself, enjoy, don’t read from your slides.

What Makes a Good Negotiator?

Have you ever wondered what makes a good negotiator?

This is a question that many people before me have tried to answer. It turns out that there are many different answers depending on who you ask.

I believe that this is the wrong question to ask… here’s why. I believe that it would be far better to wonder about what makes a good negotiator within a specific discipline rather than what makes a good negotiator in a generic sense.

It would make more sense to ask what makes a good sales negotiator, purchasing negotiator, labour negotiator, contract negotiator, conflict resolution negotiator etc. You see, it doesn’t follow that because you are great at conflict resolution that you would be a great purchasing negotiator just as it doesn’t make sense that because you are good at golf that you would also be good at tennis.

Wondering about what makes a great negotiator is too general a question to be useful. Let me explain what I mean by further using a sporting analogy.

Do you know what makes a good sportsperson?

- A positive mind-set?

- A strong belief in their own ability to succeed?

Of course it would be important to know, master and apply the principles of good sportsmanship no matter what sport you participate in, but in addition to this you would need to master the best practices, strategies, techniques and tactics unique to your specific sports discipline (tennis, golf etc.).

If you are a golfer or tennis player, it would be far more useful for you to know what makes a good golfer or tennis player rather than only obtaining an answer as to what makes a good sportsperson.

For far too long academic institutions and training providers have been turning out ‘good negotiators’ rather than great, discipline specific, negotiators. This means that negotiation skills have been taught on a generic level without a focus on the application of the strategies, best practices, techniques and tactics within a specific negotiation discipline.

It is simply not true that all negotiation principles, best practices and techniques hold the same value no matter what type of negotiation you are involved in. You should most definitely be deploying different strategies and tactics if you are negotiating with a provider of a commodity based product within a commercial environment than you would deploy if you are seeking to reach a long term mutually beneficial outcome in a political negotiation.

If you wanted to develop your negotiation skills, it would still make sense to attend generic negotiation skills development training workshops just as it would make sense to attend a general workshop on the principles that underpin great sportsmanship if you desired to be a professional golfer.

What won’t make sense though is to expect that a generic negotiation training workshop will equip you with the specific tools, techniques, strategies and tactics you need within your specific discipline (sales, purchasing, conflict resolution etc.).

So here is an important piece of advice – if you are looking to further develop your negotiation skills, make sure that you hone those skills within a learning environment that is specifically tailored to your discipline.

This way you will extract far more value from your investment of time and effort.