At any stage of your career—whether
you are interviewing for a job or already a leader at your
company—strong negotiation skills are a must. They also follow you
from the workplace into other aspects of your life. Negotiating with
classmates about who will tackle which parts of a group assignment.
Negotiating a lower price with a salesperson.
The Washington Post
says to “consider everything as a
negotiation opportunity.” Consider the following skills to help you
become a better negotiator:
Preparation is the first step to negotiating successfully.
Understand the situation completely. Have a clear sense of what’s
at stake and run through all possible scenarios. Ask
• What am I hoping to get out of this?
What am I willing to compromise?
• Do I have a solid
• Are my asks reasonable?
• What are the
best and worst case scenarios?
• How is the other party
likely to respond?
Know exactly what you’re asking for before you enter the
negotiation. Build your case and establish why the other party
should consider your request. This helps you stick to your guns
and lends credibility to your argument.
What’s your back-up plan? If you conduct your negotiation
successfully, very rarely should you walk away empty handed—even
if you didn’t get what you originally asked for. Ask yourself
“what’s the best alternative?” and be willing to offer that as an
option. Perhaps you didn’t get the raise you asked for, but are
you okay with being given more responsibilities that lead to a
promotion and raise in the future?
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
Always set reasonable goals, but don’t be afraid to strive
for the best. If you believe you truly deserve something, ask for
it. Some say to ask for more than you’re hoping to get, so your
goal seems like a compromise. Whatever you ask for, make sure it’s
what you deserve.
Take Your Time
Take your time when negotiating to ensure everything goes
• Make all your important points
the other party out
• Consider everything that is
Don’t rush through a negotiation and
don’t be afraid to take some time to think things over before
finalizing an agreement
Communication is Key
Proper communication lets you express yourself clearly so
the other party understands what you’re asking, is willing to hear
you out, and can reasonably negotiate with you. You should:
• Establish trust so the other party feels respected and
• Build a rapport so they can connect with you. Find
commonalities so they are more open minded to what you have to
• Be personable.
• Maintain professional body
• Be calm. The last thing you want is to lose
your temper if things get heated.
You want the other person to feel heard. Their point of
view is as valid as yours, so listen to what they have to say.
Perhaps they’ve thought of something you haven’t? Maybe, in
hearing them out, you’ll rethink your original position and arrive
at a better alternative that works for you both.
Explore Other Possibilities
Being flexible is sometimes the only way to walk away with
a satisfactory outcome. You must be willing to compromise when
necessary. Listen to what the other party is willing to offer,
determine if it aligns with your goals, and recognize the success
of a well-thought-out compromise. If your original request just
isn’t being met, it’s better to walk away with your best
alternative, or something you hadn’t even thought of, than nothing
Be Willing to Concede
Not every negotiation will go according to plan. Perhaps
your boss doesn’t have it in the budget to give you a raise this
year, or perhaps that professor really doesn’t have enough room in
their class for another student. It is the mark of a strong
negotiator to absorb these setbacks , concede to the other party,
and try a different approach next time.
Seek a Win-Win Solution
Look for the win-win situation. Don’t just think about
what the other party can offer you—think about what you can offer
the other party. How can you be sure they benefit from your
desired outcome as well? What can you do to incentive them?
Negotiating efficiently empowers you to fight for what you
want—for what’s fair for you—and even when the negotiation isn’t
successful, you’ve still made your voice heard. Knowing what you
want, conducting yourself professionally, and maintaining an open
mind are key to negotiating your way to success!