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How to Be a Better Negotiator

<p>You may not realize it but you negotiate on a daily basis. Whether it is the choice of a restaurant, your mortgage rate or the number of cookies your child can eat, negotiation is at the heart of our lives. Why negotiation is then so stressful when it is for a professional purpose? Are we scared to not be good enough or to have regrets? Is it because you do not know where to start? Here are some pieces of advice to help you be a better negotiator.</p> <h3><strong>Be Prepared</strong></h3> <p>The first step of the negotiation process is the most important one: be prepared. It is important that you know your files before meeting your discussion partner. It will help you to be confident and avoid mistakes. Start by studying everything you have access to and do research if needed. Know your value! Do not be scared to ask some professionals for some help too (a lawyer or your accountant, for example). They can be very useful resources. Many negotiation strategists will also suggest you start negotiating with a high requirement that you will be able to mediate. Start with the maximum and then adapt according to your needs and concessions, not the contrary. What do you have to lose? You will not have anything if you do not ask, it is as simple as that.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Try to learn about the people with whom you will need to negotiate. What are their goals, their aspirations, and their needs? Then, do the same exercise with yourself. On what would you accept to make compromises? On what would you refuse? Write down everything on a piece of paper and keep it with you. Moreover, it would be very useful to calculate in advance the margins that you must respect during the negotiation. They are indicators that will allow you to know your limits. For instance, it is better if you know in advance the time it will take you to do a task and all the required materials. You can also ask not to work on evenings or weekends unless specific exceptions if it is something important for you. Know how to <a href="" target="_blank">set your boundaries</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <h3><strong>Listen Carefully</strong></h3> <p>When it has come the time to negotiate, remember that you will have a lot of answers about what your negotiation partner thinks if you listen to him carefully. Let him talk without interrupting. You can also write down some elements or rephrase if you need to. These tips can help you know more about what he is looking for and what you can do to satisfy his needs. Furthermore, body language can be a relevant source of information. When you ask something, watch attentively how he will react. Does he seem surprised? Annoyed? Does he fold his arms? Reactions can give you a good idea about what he thinks. Avoid being an open book too!</p> <h3><strong>Stay Respectful and Professional</strong></h3> <p>Many qualities are useful during the negotiation process. You need to know how to be simultaneously determined, open-minded, patient, audacious, and perspective. When things do not go where you want them to go, you might feel overwhelmed. If it is the case, why not ask for a break in order to go to the washrooms or to grab some coffee? You could take this opportunity to calm down and read your notes. On another note, try to keep a respectful and professional attitude throughout your meetings. Your negotiation partner will then have the impression to be taken seriously.</p> <h3><strong>Do Not Accept Everything</strong></h3> <p>Always keep in mind that you have the right to say no or to leave if what you are offered is far from what you want. You deserve to be satisfied as much as the person in front of you. You can also ask for a reflection period if you want to verify some elements before giving your final decision. Do not fall into the trap of the offer that is only available for a limited period of time. If your negotiation partner does want to allow you a reflection period, you should watch out. Many bad decisions were taken because of this sense of urgency or ultimatums. Remember what your value is and do not hesitate to ask for trade-offs when you do some on your side. Your creativity can also be a useful tool to help you find a solution that everybody will like.</p> <p></p> <p>In conclusion, negotiation can help you improve your career and professional life. Therefore, your negotiation skills are not to be neglected. Although it can be seen as something stressful for many, this is not a fight where only one fighter survives. Start by knowing your files, and stay calm, open-minded, and attentive when you will negotiate. Take all the time you need and follow your instinct. The more you will negotiate, the more it will get easier!&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>