Negotiations are challenging, especially when both sides have set outcomes in mind and are not inclined to compromise. It can quickly turn into a stalemate, with negotiations failing to render a result.
In a win-win situation, neither party leaves with everything they want. Instead, they find a mutually beneficial arrangement where everything gets a part of their initial requirement. Here are ways to turn a tense negotiation into a win-win situation:
Look for resources
Not everyone is a born negotiator, but that does not preclude you from becoming one. Chicago businesses rely on their local Chamber of Commerce for guidance on several business topics, including negotiation techniques. It also has a directory of registered negotiators who can help if the situation is serious enough to demand it.
Never enter a negotiation situation unprepared, without a strategy in place and contingency plans at the ready should your initial tactics yield no results. Too many people confuse the focal point of your negotiation. It is not about the person you are speaking to, and you should concentrate on the issue to be discussed.
Focus on commonalities, not disparities
The ideal way to get a negotiation underway is to acknowledge what both sides have in common. It might be a minor matter, such as the notion that you both want to reach a resolution. This alone is enough of a starting point.
While you and your opponent might already know what you have in common, state it explicitly to convey your intention to proceed and find more common ground. This signifies your willingness to explore various options, and the other party will be inclined to reciprocate.
Going into a negotiation hammering on what you still need to iron out creates a hostile environment, unlikely to produce fruitful results. An optimistic tone goes a long way to put the other party at ease and foster an atmosphere of trust and willingness to make the necessary concessions to achieve a win-win outcome.
Focus on your demeanor
Your actions need to match the words you use during a negotiation. There is no point in saying all the right words when your non-verbal communication indicates the opposite. Your body language should show openness, so maintain a relaxed posture. Keep any tension you might be feeling out of your face, appearing relaxed.
A sincere smile will reassure your opponent that you mean what you say. A failure to align your verbal and non-verbal communication could lead your opponent to question your sincerity.
While you control your body language and other non-verbal cues, watch what your opponent is conveying. You can read a lot into their intentions by picking up what they say when they are not even talking.
Find options that present mutual gain
Negotiation is about finding a solution that suits everyone. This is impossible unless you present scenarios where everyone walks away with something they want, the basic definition of a win-win situation.
Brainstorm potential solutions before walking into a negotiation. Do not put them on the table right away. Instead, guide your opponent toward them by dropping gentle hints.
Do not concede too much too early in the process. Walk into a negotiation with such resolutions in mind. Start by presenting those that offer you the most gain and determine the necessity to work down from there.
These solutions are your best alternatives to a negotiated agreement. They are options that do not fall into the category of a final position. This should be your last resort, the final solution you are prepared to accept. If you cannot achieve that bare minimum, you need to walk away from the negotiation.
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