Effective Negotiating And Why Itís Important

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Published: 12th December 2012
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Negotiation is a part of life. Itís not merely used when youíre buying used cars or bartering for a few souvenirs in a market stall - itís a skill that is used more frequently than you know. For IT professionals, itís an overlooked skill to possess, and the more efficient you are at negotiating, the more effective youíll be at your career.

What Is Negotiation?

Negotiation is the procedure of speaking about a result with someone else or group of people, each with different targets on the same issue, with the objective of reaching an outcome that is appropriate for each party. Take a car sale as an example - you may negotiate the purchase price with the owner to come up with a price you are both able to pay.
At the office, negotiation is carried out in many areas - negotiating when setting deadlines for tasks, priorities for work, usage for team members, budgets, and lots of other areas.

Why Negotiate?

The goal of negotiation is to establish a win-win situation - a scenario which everyone is pleased with. The majority of situations that need negotiation and agreement aren't immediately accepted by the other party. At this stage , a conversation or negotiation is required - to come to an agreement on an issue. If we didnít negotiate, significantly less would get accomplished and relationships may not be made as easily between people.

Do Your Research

Before commencing any negotiation, perform a little research on the other party, in relation to the issue at hand. Find out what their motivators are. Why are they not agreeing to your first terms? Whatís their purpose with this situation? If they are not content with the project schedule you have prepared, for instance, figure out why. Find out if they have a busy schedule of work, or lack resources during the lifecycle, or other factors.

Decide On Your Lowest Position

Something else youíll want to do before commencing the negotiation discussion is to work out what your lowest position is. This is a point that represents the most you will supply the other party, or the lowest point you will go on a price/time/terms. This is the least advantageous to you. Itís not the point where you start, or the point you should be aiming to get to. Itís the point that you wonít go any more on.

Determine The Point Of The Negotiation

Once you begin the process of negotiating an outcome, focus on the point of the negotiation. Even if this may seem obvious, itís a good idea to mention it in the beginning. For example, you could say. ďWeíre here to come to an agreement on the budget necessary to implement a new software systemĒ. This is an effective negotiation strategy and is used to make the issue clear to either side.

Make Your Proposals Gradually

Youíve figured out your lowest position, but you shouldnít start at this point. You should have a position in mind that's more advantageous to you. Mention your proposal to them (budget, time, resourcing, an idea, whatever youíre proposing) and ask if they accept those terms. Otherwise, they would make another offer back to you, which is more beneficial to them.
At this point, donít rush directly to your lowest point. Make moves steadily to their favour, and at a particular point you should reach an answer. If you jump straight to your lowest offer, then they either accept it (which is good for you, but could be better) or they decline it (and that means you have no more room to move).

A Win-Win Result Is The Aim Of Effective Negotiating

The aim of effective negotiating is to get a result that both parties are satisfied with. This may be close or far away from the original proposal, but so long as all sides are relatively happy with the end result, itís an effective negotiation. Keep it professional - try not to let your emotions become involved. Keep in mind, what youíre negotiating at work is most likely a professional or business decision and not an emotional one.

Know When To Walk Away

At some time, you may reach a stalemate or a dead-end in the negotiation dialogue. Irrespective of how effective your negotiating has been, there could just be a point where no further action can be taken. The other party wonít budge, and you wonít change your offer. The time has come when you may want to consider walking away. Make them a clear offer on the issue, and say itís up to them to approve or refuse. Ensure that it stays professional - not making an agreement can be better than committing to something which is unfavourable to you and that you canít deliver on.

Be Respectful

You need to keep it professional constantly while in the negotiation, and should be respectful of the other party. Donít get emotional throughout the negotiation process, try to keep your brain on the outcome and respect the other partyís requests and their issues. This is a great way to get a win-win result for both people concerned.

Putting a few of these effective negotiating tips into practice in your next negotiation will ideally help your chances!

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