Businesses use negotiation in a number of different ways. You can negotiate in business for both informal day-to-day interactions and formal transactions. These could include negotiating for things such as negotiating conditions of sale, lease, service delivery, and other legal contracts.
Negotiation should not be your enemy. In business, negotiation can be the difference between a deal that creates the best outcome, and a deal that leaves both sides exhausted, resentful and dissatisfied with the outcome.
Good negotiations contribute significantly to business success, as they:
- help you build better relationships
- deliver lasting, quality solutions — rather than poor short-term solutions that do not satisfy the needs of either party
- help you avoid future problems and conflicts.
To be a good negotiator, you will need to be flexible, creative, a good planner, honest, win-win oriented and a good communicator.
It’s important to ensure that your negotiation skills are up to par. You will want to be certain that you are using them most effectively. The key here is to focus on three critical areas:
- People – Listen actively, and speak to be understood when negotiating. You need to both understand the other’s perception of what is involved, and keep a rational, cool head.
- Opinion – Work with the other party to brainstorm a variety of options that could work towards an agreement. Look for ways to dovetail differing interests by exploring options that are of low cost to you and high benefit to the other party and vice versa.
- Interest – Behind each negotiation position lies a compatible as well as a conflicting interest, so make sure you understand why the other person has taken their position.