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What You Need Before Negotiating Cheat Sheet by

What You Need Before Negotiating
seven     negotiating     need     tenets


There are plenty of published articles with specific inform­ation on negoti­ating a higher salary or haggling with salesmen, but I want to present seven things you'll need no matter what you're negoti­ating. Mastering and attaining these seven tenets will put you in a good position to negotiate just about anything:

Armed with the best resources and the greatest insight into the negoti­ation process, you'll be well equipped to buy things for less, make more money, and consis­tently walk away with the better end of the deal

1. Background Inform­ation

Walking into a negoti­ation blindly can ruin any chance you have at negoti­ating succes­sfully. For example, if you're negoti­ating for a higher salary, you need to know what people with similar experience make at similar positions in similar companies. The more research you can do in advance, the better. Any statistics or knowledge you can bring up during the negoti­ation will put you in a better position and allow you to make more reason­able, calculated asks.

2. A Goal

You need to come up with something to settle on. For example, if you're buying an artifact from a street merchant and the price on the tag is $50, you could set a goal to talk him/her down to $40. If that's the case, you should probably go in somewhere around $30 (depending on the circum­sta­nces). Having a goal will give some founda­tional direction to the course of your negoti­ations.

3. A Plan

Prepare a plan, complete with hypoth­etical scenarios and contin­gency plans, to navigate unforeseen obstacles succes­sfully.

For example, what if your negotiator insists that the price is firm? Will you walk away or come up with a new price? What if the negotiator scoffs at your initial offer and turns you away?

Preparing for these possib­ilities in advance will mitigate the element of surprise, which can put you on edge and make you more prone to impulsive, reactive decision making. You can't always prepare for everyt­hing, but you can have a general idea of how you will react to several common objections and challe­nges.

4. Confidence

Walking into a negoti­ation with confidence instantly imbues you with more negoti­ating power. Your claims and requests will be taken more seriously, and you'll tend to earn more attractive offers from the other side. Earning that confidence takes time and practice, but it can be feigned easily enough. Walk tall, with your shoulders back when you enter a room, and dress approp­riately for the situation (in most cases, overdr­essing is always better than underd­res­sing). Speak directly and articu­lately, and make eye contact while doing so. Shake hands firmly and avoid filler words or "­fid­get­ing­" body language.
The clearer and more direct you are, the better.

5. Self-I­nterest

Searching for a "­win­-wi­n" scenario isn't an effective negoti­ation tactic; it's a form of compro­mise. It's far better to seek the best possible deal for yourself, regardless of the negotiator involved. It will help you stay firm in your goals, and demons­trate your determ­ina­tion, which will make you seem more confident and intimi­dating. It will also make you bolder in your requests, giving you better deals overall the more you apply this type of mentality.

6. Practice

Practice makes perfect, and it's the case with negoti­ations, too. On a wide scale, the more you negotiate, the better you're going to get, but it works on a smaller scale too. For example, if you're preparing to negotiate in a job interview, you can practice beforehand in a mirror with a couple of prepared responses, requests, or justif­ica­tions for your claims. This way, when you do it for real, you'll be more confident, you'll seem more natural, and you'll avoid any awkward or compro­mising missteps. Just be careful not to over-p­rac­tice, or you'll seem robotic and unnatu­ral­--e­xactly the opposite of what you want.

7. Object­ivity

Finally, you'll need to walk into the negoti­ation with an objective perspe­ctive that applies to everything in the process. You'll need to know the objective costs of the products or positions involved, the statistics for people who have negotiated in similar circum­sta­nces, and the potential outcomes and motiva­tions for both you and your negoti­ator. This goes along with the background inform­ation I mentioned in point one, as background inform­ation is only useful if you can treat it and consider it object­ively. Even though you're hoping for a subjective outcome (i.e., one that works in your favor), an objective approach will help you get there.

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