Negotiating seems easy, but actually doing it can be hard.
To maximize your success as a negotiator, you need to prepare before you negotiate. People who “wing it” often end up making unnecessary concessions and leave money on the table.
Start by making a list of what you want and rank those things by importance. The items of low importance can be used as concessions to build goodwill in the negotiation. The items of high importance are obviously to be protected.
Also, make a list of all the possible alternatives that would work for you. Rank the alternatives as well. Brainstorm with others, such as friends or family, to help you identify other alternatives. Often the input from others can stimulate your thinking and help you identify options that you had not considered.
Next, look at the negotiation from the other side’s point of view. Create the same lists, but from the other side’s perspective. You may discover that you share some similar goals.
When the meeting begins, don’t rush forward with your position and needs. Instead, focus the conversation on the other side and see what is important to them. Let them speak first. If you are uncertain about what to say, say nothing; this way you won’t give away anything. Consider brainstorming with them about potential alternatives. They may have ideas that prove useful or new ideas that you had not considered.
John Bradley Jackson
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