Four suggestions to make your negotiation experience more pleasant – even if you hate it

negotiation-2If you hate negotiation, you are not alone.

Even though this is a critical business skill, many people find it uncomfortable. They don’t like confrontation, and they dislike being placed in a position where they have to negotiate. The trouble is that negotiations happen all the time, and it is useful if you have the skill to handle them effectively. Here are some tips to help you negotiate in business, even if you hate negotiations.

There’s no need to rush

You may hate the whole process of sitting at a negotiation table with your counterpart and trying to work out a deal. However, no matter how much you detest it, it can be a mistake to try to wrap up a deal as soon as possible. As the saying goes, “haste makes waste,” and that’s all too true in a negotiation. Giving in on something too soon in order to close the deal can mean that you don’t get the best results. Another advantage of moving more slowly is that everyone has time and effort invested in the deal.

The more effort people have put into making a deal happen, the more committed they are to the result.

It’s okay to go first

Though traditional negotiation advice says that it is a mistake to make your proposal first, more recent research shows that this can be a smart move. When you put your proposal on the table first, it forms an “anchor”, and the rest of the negotiations work from there. This can give you an advantage, compared to letting the other person set the anchor. It also takes some of the stress off you when you go ahead and lay out your proposal to the other party. Just be sure not to undercut yourself on the first proposal.

Some people are afraid to ask for what they really want because they assume the other person will refuse. If what you want is reasonable, then go ahead and ask for it.

It’s okay to be quiet

Silence can be a tool in a negotiation. Many people are uncomfortable with long pauses and quiet spaces in the discussion, so they rush in to fill the silence. This can be a mistake, but you can use this tendency to your advantage. If the other party makes an offer or a statement, you don’t need to respond right away. If you let the silence hang in the air for a little while, they may start talking themselves to fill the gap.

This can give you important information that you would never have gotten if you had started speaking immediately yourself. Get comfortable with the quiet times, and practice your listening skills.

Silence can also be used in a negotiation to hide your nervousness and your anxiety. It will give you time to relax and cool off. Let opponents speak, but be meticulous and listen carefully to everything they say. Some of the information obtained can help you win negotiations.

You can call on someone else

If you are ever feeling cornered in a negotiation and pressured to give a quick answer that you are not comfortable with, there’s an easy way out. Just say that you need a little more time to check with someone else.

You can say something like “I need to run this by our legal team,” or “I’ll check the figures with my accountant.” This gives you some breathing room and takes the pressure off, so you don’t wind up making a bad decision. If you feel the need to calm down and consult with more people, ask for a 3-day recess. Do it respectfully and professionally, and don’t let counterparts sense that you’re being nervous.

Many people hate negotiations.

For some, it’s just an opportunity to intimidate opponents and convince them to accept deals they’re not comfortable with; for others, it’s a stressful process that usually ends badly. It doesn’t have to be that way though as fruitful negotiations have a lot of benefits. They create relationships, build connections and they strengthen one’s character. The key to mastering negotiations is to be honest with yourself, and with the people you’re bargaining with.

By Steve Brown and!

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