How to achieve Effective Negotiation in the Workplace

Effective negotiation is essential to success in the workplace. When you are good at negotiating, you will strike remarkable deals and achieving worthwhile goals.

Though we negotiate at home, in the market, and in places outside the workplace; yet, it is crucial to be armed with solid negotiation skills for success in the workplace.

At one point or the other in your business or career, you will need to:

  • Negotiate with new hires and existing employees
  • Negotiate with sales prospects and long-term clients
  • Negotiate with vendors and suppliers Negotiate a salary offer
  • Negotiate a leave of absence or the timing of a vacation
  • Negotiate the terms of separation with an employer
  • Negotiate a more flexible work schedule

And, that’s just a few out of many.

Nobody was born a super-negotiator. Negotiation is a skill you can learn — and you can learn it right now. Yes, right away.

This e-book will teach you how to achieve successful negotiations in the workplace and anywhere.

Let’s get started.

What is Negotiation?

Negotiations take place from time to time — at home, in the shopping mall or while playing chess with a friend. However, negotiation becomes much more formal in the business or corporate world.

Therefore, from financial transactions to conflict resolution, knowing how to get what you want from the deal, while bargaining with a client, customer or co-worker can be crucial for your success at work.

Negotiation is the process of forging an agreement between two or more parties—employees, employers, co-workers, outside parties, or some combination of these—that is mutually acceptable. Differences are bound to occur especially in the workplace. Your line manager or your colleagues will not always see things from your perspective.

But, such occasions shouldn’t be allowed to trigger rancour in the team. Rather, it should be used as an avenue for negotiation.

Of course, the goal at the end of the day is to find that spot that would be valuable to each member of the team.

Thus, effective negotiation results in outcomes that satisfy multiple interests.

On decision-making negotiations, Keith Wilcox and Michael Slepian of the Faculty & Research, Columbia Business School says:

“More than just formal haggling across a table, a negotiation unfolds each time parties come together to solve problems or allocate resources and responsibilities, from the delegation of tasks among members of a global work team to coalition formation among industry leaders or non-profit organizations in the face of a shared challenge.”

Six Ingredients for effective negotiation

There are proven practices that are known to boost effective negotiation. Here are some of them:

Ingredient #1: Meticulous Preparation

Depending on the importance, success at the negotiation desk demands sufficient preparation.

Some time ago, an employee came to me to request a salary increase. Though, that is not an unusual occurrence; however, his approach was remarkable. He didn’t just come asking for an increase. He came prepared. He was armed with pertinent data regarding the industry rate for his position; he also highlighted his achievements on the job. He was quite convincing. Such an employee would likely win at the negotiation table.

Katie Shonk of Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School, expressed that “When an important negotiation is looming, “winging it” is never the answer. The best negotiators engage in thorough preparation. That means taking out time to analyze what you want, your bargaining position, and the other side likely wants and alternatives.”

So, when next you’re going for any negotiation, make sure you know exactly what you want, and ensure it is worthwhile and in fact, irresistible.

Needless to say, you wouldn’t want to present something flimsy to the other party. Thus, preparing for negotiations would entail researching pertinent data and information that will reinforce your proposition.

It’s important to find out key facts or relevant history about the other party so that you won’t be caught unawares on the negotiation table.

Alongside, you need to be furnished with information including your Highest Range, Your “Worst Case” or Least Range, BATNA, Core Negotiation Strategy and more (These are discussed later in this book.)

A thorough negotiation preparation process requires taking plenty of time to think through what we want, what alternatives we have to the current deal, and what our counterpart might value.

Katie Shonk, PON, Harvard Law School

Ingredient #2: Active Listening

A big mistake some people make at the negotiation desk is to do all the talking and not listen intently.

According to Arlin Cuncic of VeryWell Mind, “When you practice active listening, you make the other person feel heard and valued. In this way, active listening is the foundation for any successful conversation”.

When you listen during negotiation, it portrays to the other party that you are attentive and decorous; and that speaks a lot about you. No one is convenient with someone who is not well-mannered.

What is more, when you listen attentively, you can understand the view of the other party. With this, you will be able to work around his or her opinion; making it easier to arrive at a win-win for both parties.

Ingredient #3: Poise

When going for negotiations, it is important to keep calm and maintain your poise. The issue at hand may be one in which you are disadvantaged; yet, you don’t want your emotions to run you over.

It’s of utmost importance that you are entirely composed as you present your points at the negotiation desk.

Most of the time, issues in the workplace go beyond sentiments. Negotiations are won more on evidence, rather than emotional outbursts.

Ingredient #4: Clear and Effective Communication

When effective communication is missing, successful negotiations take the back door. Hence, the place of proper communication cannot be overemphasized during negotiations.

Body language, tone of voice, and other communicative signals can all contribute to the way it plays out. Of course, effective communication goes beyond just talking. It’s expedient that you present salient points supported by irresistible data or facts. What is more, you should check out terminologies or keywords which are likely to resonate with the other party.

Furthermore, good communication triggers great rapport and that’s a tactic that works well in negotiations.

While working for a training firm years back, my boss sent me to discuss a business deal with a prospective client. It was impromptu.

I was a bit edgy and I felt the whole discussion was going to crash down on me. However, I got to the client’s office and a discussion came up regarding colours.

As the discussion went on, I chipped in my ideas and the rapport grew stronger. In the end, I got the cheque!

I think some good communication bailed me out right there. In actual fact, many businesses deals don’t happen when talking business. They happen as a result of rapport based on relationship.

So, your approach matters a lot in negotiations. Sometimes you can head on to a negotiation win by quickly building rapport with the other party in the negotiation.

In actual fact, many businesses deals don’t happen when talking business. They happen as a result of rapport based on relationship.

Ingredient #5: Collaboration

Collaboration is a key factor as you look ahead to your negotiations. Hence, don’t make the entire discussion all about yourself. You should show you’ve got the interest of the other party at heart too.

It’s quite important to seek mutual benefits in negotiation.

For instance, if you’re negotiating a business deal with a client, let the client understand the processes and the efforts you’ll put in to increase their bottom line.

With adequate collaboration, you can drive your negotiations to a win-win for you and the other party.

Ingredient #6: Apt Decision-making

The climax of every negotiation is to arrive at a decision that works for both parties. Having weighed all your options, with all the alternatives presented by the other party, you can either decide to consent or rather walk away.

Sometimes, you can even allow the negotiation to rest for the time being, and then, give it a shot at another time in the future.

If you are walking away from a negotiation, ensure you do it decorously, to avoid any hostility with the other party. After all, you may still need to open up that negotiation sometime again.

Tactics for Workplace Negotiation