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How to negotiate for success

Published on Saturday, 28 Mar 2015
Fiona Yung
Executive Director, Tricor Executive Resources

Everyone will need to negotiate at some point in their career – some more often than others. Some will also have more success in negotiating than others. However, negotiating skills and tactics can be learned or enhanced.

Good negotiation is actually about communicating persuasively in order to bargain more effectively. If a negotiation arises due to differences, then an effective outcome is one where a compromise or agreement is reached without dispute.

However, in any disagreement, we all want to achieve the most favourable outcome for ourselves or for the company we represent.

While negotiating, we need to maintain a degree of fairness, aim to maintain a good relationship with the other party and, if possible, work towards a mutually beneficial result.

A good negotiator is often assertive, but never aggressive. They can challenge everything the other party says, while maintaining respect for others.

Successful negotiators are also patient and take their time. They do not rush to conclude the deal and are flexible with their time. Take the time to listen to what the other party is saying.

Doing your homework is also beneficial – the more knowledge you have and research you have done before the negotiation commences, the higher the chance of a successful outcome.

The best result in a negotiation should be to achieve an outcome where both parties feel there is something positive to be gained from the negotiation, although this may not always be possible.

A common term used in negotiations, Batna (best alternative to a negotiated agreement), refers to cases where suggestions for alternative strategies and compromises are considered. These are often positive alternatives where both sides can achieve greater benefits. In aiming for a win-win solution, a good negotiator may not wish to knock down his or her opponent – unless, of course, this is their ultimate objective.

Ultimately, negotiation is about getting the best possible deal in the best possible way.

Fiona Yung is executive director at Tricor Executive Resources

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