If you enter a
negotiation with the single-minded, macho goal of beating down
your opponent, you’ve probably already lost the first round.
That’s because, like it or not, your body language—demeanor
and facial expressions, if not your actual words—will tip off
most opponents, who then either will be so wary that they’ll
resist making any concessions out of spite or they’ll simply
recognize further talk is fruitless and terminate the
Steps to good negotiatiog:
- Prepare a detailed memo to yourself that lists what you
must have in any deal, what you’d like to have and what you
can live without. Likewise, decide what you cannot give up,
what you are willing to lose if you must and what you can
give away painlessly. Be sure to include an ample collection
of things you can give away because, distributed at the
right moment—such as when there is an apparent
stalemate—give-aways can lubricate tough-going talks.
- Negotiation is give and take. Don’t give
anything away without taking something in
return. Follow that rule; it will strengthen your position
and make each request you make more credible. It also tends
to grease the wheels of negotiation. Do not consider
anything you give away as trivial: What may be trivial to
you may be valuable to the other side.
- An absolute no-no: Never accept a first offer—no matter
how attractive. Reason: If you do, your opponent will assume
he or she should have initially asked for more and will
likely try to make up the “loss” in subsequent parts of the
- Never assume you understand the terms of the deal. Keep
asking questions until you are sure of the details. Demand
- Spend more time listening than talking.
- Once you come to an agreement, shut up. Deals often are
upset when a negotiator keeps talking about the terms.
- Don’t rush the talks. Guard against interruptions: Hold
your calls, turn off your cell phone, put on an air of calm
and patience. If you rush, either you or your counterpart
will come away feeling that a better deal could have been
struck. And if you negotiate in the future—and you probably
will—that memory will stain those talks.
More Brainstorming Ideas
Mlady Jr., CPA, a product analyst for Progressive Insurance,
Mayfield Village, Ohio, read the July item in this column on
brainstorming tips and he sent along these additional ideas
that he uses in his business meetings:
to compile brainstorming lists of their own. When they’ve
finished, ask each person to read one idea. Go around the room
as many times as needed until every item has been presented.
Eliminate duplicates, but be careful not to erase
variations that may sound similar but contain different
elements. The differences will become more evident when the
group has time to discuss each item in detail at the end of
the brainstorming session.