Negotiation may be something that you don’t think about very often. However, we use negotiation skills regularly in every aspect of our lives. Negotiation isn’t just about closing a big business deal, it can also come into play when dealing with day-to-day issues in the workplace, or simply talking to your partner or a family member.
Whatever your background, being able to negotiate is essential for building a successful career, as well as for maintaining strong interpersonal relationships.
What are Negotiation Skills?
Negotiation is essentially the process of give-and-take where a resolution is reached which protects the mutual interests of both parties. At the end of a successful negotiation, an agreement is reached where everyone can move forward.
Having excellent negotiation skills involves:
- Effective communication
- The ability to listen
- Diplomacy and tact
These skills come into play every day for most of us, whether we’re trying to secure a pay raise at work, discussing chores with our partner, or setting boundaries with our kids.
Benefits of Being Able to Negotiate Well
Having the ability to negotiate in the face of even minor issues can make a huge difference. Strong negotiation skills can have a range of benefits in both professional and personal contexts.
It Helps Boost Confidence
Negotiations can be intimidating, whether it is a small dispute or a major issue. Knowing how to handle these situations effectively and protect your own interests while respecting those of others will make you feel more confident. In turn, this confidence will help you to be a better negotiator – it’s a win-win!
It Will Enhance Your Communication Skills
Negotiation is a key part of good communication. Therefore, having the ability to negotiate effectively in a range of situations will make you a better communicator. Furthermore, many of the skills that you develop through focusing on positive negotiation – such as active listening and diplomatic assertiveness — are also essential for strong communication.
It Improves Creative Thinking
A key part of being successful in a professional setting is having good judgment, and to do this you need to think out of the box and keep an open mind. The art of negotiation involves seeing things from someone else’s point of view. Furthermore, you need to reason and think creatively in order to come up with solutions that suit everyone. In doing so, you’ll expose yourself to new ideas, open your mind, and pave the way for creative thinking.
It Helps You Become an Effective Strategist
Strategy and planning are key parts of any negotiation. As part of having strong negotiation skills, you need to analyse the situation in detail and come up with an approach that will help you reach a favourable outcome. The more you practice strategising for your negotiations, the better strategist you’ll become in other situations.
You’ll Stop Others from Taking Advantage of You
While negotiation typically involves compromise, it also means defending your own interests. Practising effective negotiation will help you to form the habit of standing up for yourself and making sure that others don’t take advantage of you.
4 Key Steps to Developing Great Negotiation Skills
Building a successful career relies on having excellent softs skills as much as hard skills and technical qualifications. Along with communication and interpersonal skills, the art of negotiation is one of the key skills that all professionals should have. Although negotiation is something that comes more naturally to some people than others, it is something that anyone can learn with time and a bit of dedication.
Prepare and Plan
Better planning yields better results in many situations, and when it comes to negotiating, planning and strategy are critical. Before you launch into any negotiation, take the time to plan your strategy. What do you want to get out of the negotiation? What is the other person looking for? What is your bottom line and how will you achieve this?
While good negotiation is an art, it’s also a skill, and skills can be learned. Even if you’re already a pretty effective negotiator, training will only help you to improve your skills. There are plenty of training courses offered in and outside of the workplace that will teach you key concepts and approaches to hone your abilities in this area. Courses like an Advanced Strategic Management Programme can help you develop strong negotiation skills.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes
There’s no better way to learn than by making mistakes. The more mistakes you make, the more you’ll learn about what does and doesn’t work, allowing you to become a strong negotiator. Take every opportunity to practice and view mistakes as learning opportunities rather than failures. Your skills will only grow over time and with practice.
Consult a Coach
A coach or mentor can be very useful in helping you hone your negotiation skills. The advantage of working with a coach is that they can assess your individual strengths and weaknesses, and suggest areas where you can improve. This will help you to build on the skills and knowledge you’ve gained through training courses.
Start Developing Your Negotiation Skills Today
Negotiation skills are vital not only in business, but also in our personal lives. Mastering these kinds of skills is one of the fundamentals of building a successful career and can be highly beneficial in all parts of your life.