5 Tips to Improve Your Negotiating Skills

Self-improvement is always important and part of personal growth. One skill that is not taught enough and very important is improving negotiating skills. This can help you in almost every aspect of your life.  Negotiating is an essential skill for your financial health to help you pay less for items like a new car and to help you get raises or better job offers.

  1. Do not make it hostile. If you approach a negotiation as a “you vs. them” situation, it’s easy for the conversation to get adversarial. This should be avoided when possible because being friendly during negotiations makes you more likely to get what you want. Ideally, you’ll find a way to reach a conclusion that benefits both parties.
  2. Listen to their thoughts. Even if the person is being abrasive it is important to listen first to understand their position. Make sure to listen actively, and try recapping their words back to them to make sure you understand and show them that you’re not just waiting to speak. This will build rapport making it easier to reach an aggregable solution.
  3. It doesn’t have to be a yes or a no. If you’re envisioning a negotiation as one party offering something and the other party saying yes or no, you’ve created an unhelpfully rigid framework. Instead, remember that a negotiation can and should involve discussion, compromise, and a willingness to listen and respond to the other party’s input.
  4. Don’t be afraid to walk away. This might be the most important part of being a good negotiator! If you’re scared to initiate the conversation or walk away you put yourself in a compromising position. This fear is very common in situations like new employment opportunities but the fear is also a bit irrational because 84% of employers expect candidates to negotiate their job offer. Remember, the worst they can say is no!
  5. Don’t express anger. There is an adage that the first person to lose control of their emotions will lose an argument. With negotiations, it is important to remain focused and control your emotions. It is far better to walk away from a negotiation than burn any bridges.

If you choose not to employ negotiation tactics in your professional or even personal life, you could be missing out on money and opportunities around every corner. “You don’t get what you don’t ask for” is a common idiom for a reason! If you can approach negotiation professionally and amicably, the risks are low and the rewards could be high.