Toward Successful Negotiation

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Negotiating skills are vital to developing a successful career and to having a meaningful impact in your relationships with others.  How do your abilities rate?

Have you done your homework?
Knowledge is your most powerful weapon.  Verify the validity of your position and do some research into the kinds of facts and issues the other individual is likely to present to you.

Do you have specific goals?
Be sure you know what you're really trying to accomplish.  List your objectives in order of importance and be willing to sacrifice a few of the lesser items in order to gain the more important ones.  Conceding on one or two items will promote an atmosphere of congeniality and cooperation.

Are you willing to make concessions?
If you insist on winning every point, you will frustrate the person you are negotiating with.  That may cause the other person to become more resistant to the ideas you are attempting to convey, and to the solutions you are trying to establish.

Do you play devil's advocate?
Before engaging in the discussion, challenge your own position, anticipating objections and inconsistencies.  If you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your posture, you'll be able to negotiate for a better outcome.

Do you consider your opponent's needs?
If you can offer something of value to the other person, you'll be in a more powerful position to ask for what you want in return.

Are you prepared to lose?
Face it, you're not going to win every time.  If you're not able to accept your losses gracefully, reconsider whether you want to enter into the negotiation at all.  Entering the negotiation process in a graceful manner and conveying a spirit of fairness will help to build a positive relationship, and one that will have the potential to last beyond the negotiating session.