Whether you’re negotiating million-dollar deals—or an extra inch of cube space—you need the presence of mind and bullet-proof tactics to make a winning case. There is definitely an art to successfully negotiating your way to a successful outcome. Diplomats practice it every day. Thankfully, it’s one we can all learn to use to our advantage.
Here are a few tips on how to persuade people to see things your way without making them feel they’ve drawn the short straw.
- Be self-assured—without being a jerk. Convey authentic compliments early and often. You can better persuade your opponent when you focus on making them look and feel good, especially if they’re a big fish in your little pond. For example: “You already know this,” “You are the expert in this space,” “No one knows better than you.”
- Be relatable. People tend to be matchers and follow the norm of reciprocity, disclosing at a similar level. The more we reveal about ourselves, even when it’s unrelated to the negotiation (like hobbies, personal concerns or hopes), the more likely our opponent will do the same.
- Be transparent. Get your priorities out on the table in rank order so that both parties can compare (evaluate) and determine quickly what the full set of options really are. You don’t have to show all your cards, but make it clear what matters the most to you verses what matters the least to you. If your opponent does the same, it will make mutual agreement easier.
Before you act…
Have your ducks in a row with a fact-based case that focuses on the benefits to be gained by both negotiating parties. And take a tip from athletes: mentally visualize the conversation or meeting from your opening remarks through to a positive outcome. It works.