5 Signs You Need Negotiation Skills Help (and What to Do about It)

How good are your negotiation skills? Take a moment and think... 

David Finkel, author of 'The Freedom Formula: How to succeed in business without sacrificing your family, health or life', discovered that 60% of people avoid negotiations. It doesn't matter if it's negotiating a higher salary, what film to see at the cinema, or the deal for your next car. Negotiations are an important part of your world, and without negotiation skills help, you're not going to be able to grow your business and live your best life.

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In this article, I'm going to share the signs that you need help improving your negotiation skills. And if you're ready... I'll share what you can do next.

Think Back to Your Last Negotiation...

Did it go the way you wanted it? No? You're not alone. 36% of people view negotiating as an uncomfortable discussion. Here are 5 signs that will help you determine if and where you need support with your negotiation skills. Just ask yourself, did you....

  • Set the scene for your negotiation?
  • Communicate clearly and listen?
  • Explore areas of disagreement?
  • Offer and discuss alternatives?
  • Reach a mutually satisfactory agreement?

As you can see, the list isn't long. But it covers the key elements that you need for a successful negotiation. 

What this simple list isn't showing you is that if you don't have one area right, it tanks the whole negotiation.

So what can you do to address these areas and reach positive outcomes every time? Here are some tips to get you started with successful negotiations...

1. Set the Scene for Your Negotiation

Imagine for a moment you want a raise. You're going the extra mile, hitting all your KPIs, and your colleagues love you (not essential for a raise, but it helps). So you march into your boss's office and ask for a raise. 

Do you think you'll get it? 

You'd be incredibly lucky if you did. But if you set the scene first and prepare, your odds go way up.

  • Make sure your boss is receptive to a meeting.
  • Outline a compelling case
  • Prepare evidence to support your case

If you don't set the scene properly, your negotiation will fall flat on its face from the start. If your boss isn't open to having a sit-down, then the answer to your request is an immediate "No". If you don't have a compelling case, then the negotiation won't go past step 1. And if you don't have any evidence, you've guessed it... Your chances of a raise just went out the window.

Setting the scene is just the first step in your negotiation. It doesn't matter if you're asking for a raise, negotiating a lease, or looking for a better deal on your rental, you will always need to set your scene.

2. Communicate Clearly & Listen

As you can see, communication links directly into setting the scene. You have arranged your meeting, you have your ducks in a row, and now you must present your compelling case. If you don't communicate clearly and listen to the other party, then your negotiation fails quickly.

  • Communicate clearly, rehearsing your points in advance
  • Listen carefully to the other person, without just waiting to respond
  • Repeat back what you hear to clarify your understanding

If you don't express your points clearly and listen to all parties' points of view, without immediate judgment, then your negotiation will fail.

3. Explore Areas of Disagreement

A lot of people think a negotiation ends with the first "no". That's not the case. Sometimes a no is masking an issue that you didn't realize was an obstacle at all, or you were unaware of. But if you don't explore it, you won't know the real problem, and you won't be able to address it.

  • Ask questions - both specific and open-ended
  • Find out which are the hard lines and where are the blurred lines for the other parties
  • See if there's any room to maneuver around those lines

If you don't use your questioning skills to discover the root of any disagreements and issues, your negotiation will fail. All your work on the first 3 areas is gone, and you'll have to start all over again or walk away unhappy.

4. Explore Alternatives

Say you've explored your areas of disagreement, using your questioning and listening skills, and you have a good understanding of the issues and lines being drawn. Now is when your most essential negotiation skills go to work. 

  • Ask even more questions to see where there's leeway
  • Ask about alternatives and suggest your own ideas
  • Explore what an alternative means for everyone involved

If you really want your negotiation to be a win-win, you need to explore a variety of options that would meet everyone's needs. Use your creativity to think outside of a "yes" or "no" solution.

5. Gain agreement

You might think that having found a suitable alternative means your negotiation is done. But without a clear agreement, your negotiation stumbles and falls at the last hurdle.

  • Confirm what all parties have said they agree to
  • Clarify any clauses, terms, or additions
  • Outline your next, agreed steps

Phew! Once you've done all these 5 steps, you'll have successfully completed your negotiation.

As you can see, negotiations aren't just one skill set. They involve a series of skills that you can develop and instill into every negotiation situation you encounter. 

Now, if you've read this whole post and think that you have some areas of improvement, rest assured that you're not the only one. 

We have the perfect solution for you...

Win-Win Negotiation Skills

Teach Yourself. Then teach your audience.

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Here at Content Sparks, we develop our course materials so that you can learn from them yourself and then train others in those same skills. Some of our customers even like to teach our content at the same time as they share it with their course participants.  The wonderful thing is you get to decide how you use the content. You even get to customize it and put your own name and branding on all the course materials! 

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