Monday, 17 September 2012


How far can an entrepreneur go without being skilled? You will always negotiate with associates, workers, to win contracts, for peace at home and the workplace. Negotiating a win-win solution for conflicting parties is inevitable. Most meetings and conversations end up with negotiation, without planning for a meeting of such. It is a part of our daily lives.

To negotiate means to bargain, confer and discuss with the aim of reaching an agreement and achieving a fair, mutually beneficial conclusion. Negotiation is successful when both parties win; a win-win consensus.

Negotiation skill is an important interpersonal skill. Research reveals that as people go higher on the corporate ladder, they need more interpersonal skills than technical skills. During my interpersonal skills training, participants suddenly begin to realize that by increasing their negotiation skills, they can make more money, influence people, and achieve their wildest dreams. Contrary to mainstream thinking, effective day-to-day negotiation is not about ploys and gambits; it is about sound interpersonal skills. A ploy is a trick and gambit is a cunning sacrifice made with the intention of significantly greater gain.

Successful entrepreneurs know that negotiation is not a tug of war. It is about getting what you want and helping the other party to get what he/she wants. Imagine you just yanked the door ajar, and walked straight inside a sophisticated office. You were told to take a sit at a meeting with top executives. Of course, you want to win the contract, the job, or sell an idea. You can't afford to lose!
When you find yourself in this kind of situation, you have to play your cards well, utilizing sound principles of negotiation.
Let’s look at what you have to do before you get to the negotiation table.

Gather information and do a thorough research before you get to the negotiation table. Get facts and figures. Research the organization's history, values, previous dealings, and the organization's culture. Becoming knowledgeable on the subject-matter before hand will increase your bargaining power when negotiating.

If you are trying to resolve conflict at home or in the workplace, gather information from both parties to know the cause of the disagreement.

A fraction of your preparation time should be dedicated to your grooming.

Check your wardrobe, and search for an outfit that befits the occasion...dress for the occasion. We are judged by our appearance. People see you, before they hear you. My mentor used to tell me that looking good is good business.

Good preparation entails rehearsing your speech. This is not far-fetched. Before you get to the negotiation venue, you should have an outline of your key points, which you have rehearsed. If you will be addressing a group of people, then you really have to spend time on rehearsing your speech, which is easier when you have a good understanding of your subject matter.

Furthermore, you have to focus on your inner dialogue. Often times, when we are scared of something, our inner dialogue is negative, brought about by fear. One way of conquering fear is by changing your inner dialogue from a negative one to a positive one. Go with the mind-set that you will win because you are prepared.

Developing a strategy is part of your preparation. Ask yourself the following questions.
Is my proposal/request different from others? How can I present an offer that is too good to be resisted or rejected?

What is my Unique Selling Proposition?

What are my strengths and weaknesses?

When you ask yourself the right questions, you get the right answers. Anticipate possible questions, and be prepared for answers to them.

Now you are ready to swim with the sharks!

Effective negotiation borders on three key factors: Authority, Attitude, and Assertiveness.

Organizations want to work with experts, not a novice. Every time the corporate shark knows that you are an expert in the subject matter, your bargaining power increases. One way to show that you are an expert during negotiation is to seize initiative in areas of undoubted competence, and ensure the other person depends on you for clarification and information. Those are your strength zones.

A reputation for unpredictability will also go a long way in increasing your bargaining power. The other party will be conscious of what he/she tells you for the fear that he/she cannot predict your reaction. Ask the other party unexpected questions that matter.

Being an expert, you should set the pace. As people say, attack is the best defence. It could be in comparison to playing the Chess game. You want to use the white piece, not the black one. You make the first move.

In setting the pace, be the first person to mention money (or whatever is the dominant item to be negotiated. Before you do that, you should know what your competitors charge, and what the organization may be willing to pay.

As a pace-setter, you have to open with strength. It is during the first few seconds of a negotiation that each party forms their impression of what the final agreement will be. Get the attention of the other party in thirty seconds or less. Don't beat about the bush. If you do, you are giving the other party the impression that you don't know what you want. When you don't know what you want, you can take anything.

Furthermore, you have to set goals for yourself: Both short term and long term goals. 

Before you get to the negotiation venue, you have to determine your fall back position. Determine your Banta. During negotiation, start high, and if necessary, gradually, come closer to your fall back position and don't go below it.

Instead of going below your fall back position, you can decide on what you will do voluntarily for free. That doesn't make you cheap. Rather, it is a way of giving the organisation a taste of your offering, thereby, fostering a business relationship with them. That's the equivalent of sacrificing a Pawn. It's a simple Chess logic.

Once you have established your authority on the subject matter, the other party will treat you with respect.

Some ploys and gambits used by aggressive negotiators are: keeping you waiting, the best offer, and last minute wavering, so, watch out for them.

Keeping you waiting is a tactic senior people use on junior people. It is a way of saying: I am a decision maker here, so you have to dance to my tunes. Other manipulators can use it to disorganize you or make you nervous, so you can concede quickly. An effective counter measure is, to read a book while you wait.

After waiting, the boss, emerges and asks you-what your best offer is? If you've been overly nervous, you will be pushed straight to your fall back point.  Side-stepping the request and signaling that you need information is a good counter measure. Don't forget to start high.

Imagine that after reaching an agreement, the other party tells you that he/she is not the decision maker, that his/her boss has the final say. The new boss comes over and begins wavering over some seemingly trivial points.

Your defence is to remember that every time they raise a new issue, points that have been previously agreed on can be brought back for discussions. Stay positive and stand on your rights, while acknowledging the rights of the other person.

I would love to hear your views on this article and i hope you benefitted from this piece

                                                                                                                                                                                           SADIQ DANIEL