the ‘smart’ of the deal: 5 tips for better negotiating

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Life takes a lot of negotiating—from deciding where to eat dinner to making big purchases. But you don’t have to walk away feeling that you got a bad outcome. Let’s say you want some ‘za. 🍕 But it’s the third time this week. Your significant other nixes the idea: “Not more pizza,” they say. But you have to have it: the melty cheese, the chewy crust, the crispy pepperoni… mmm. 🤤 So how do you turn that “no” into a delicious “yes”?

The secret is negotiation.

Whether it’s dinner plans, where to go on vacation, 🏖 a major purchase, 🛍  your salary, 💵 or something else, life requires a little negotiation sometimes. If you’re not a smooth-talking bargainer, don’t worry. These research-backed negotiating tips can help you make your year a more winning 🏆 one.

1. bring it back to kindergarten 

Most of the essential elements of negotiation you learned as a kid still apply. The adage holds true in this case: You catch more flies with honey.🍯 As Law Professor Charles B. Craver writes in The Intelligent Negotiator: “If you come to me and begin negatively, I will look for a reason to tell you no.”

☑️The lesson: Be so reasonable and approachable that the other person wants to say yes to your offer.

2. wear the other person’s shoes 

Being nice ☺️ is just the first step.👟 Being a great negotiator also requires you to have empathy; that is, thinking about the situation from the other person’s perspective.

“The motive while negotiating should be to ascertain the interests of the opposite party,” according to a 2011 article in the journal Perspectives in Clinical Research.

☑️The lesson: Aim to understand your negotiating partner’s position: their wants, needs, and potential hang-ups.

3. put ’er there, “BATNA” 

The Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) theory asks us to imagine 🤔 what happens if we aren’t able to negotiate successfully. BATNA helps you set a baseline for your negotiation. 🤝 The Bureau of Land Management’s negotiation strategies guide (PDF) advises negotiators to compare a proposed option to other available options, and then imagine the consequences if you’re not able to reach an agreement with the other party. That’s how you can determine the value of what’s at stake and what you’re willing to compromise on during the negotiation.

“By comparing … the most likely outcome of the actions they will take if no agreement is reached, parties can determine the value of an agreement,” says the guide.

☑️The lesson: Map out 🗺 what will happen and what you stand to lose or gain if your negotiation doesn’t go as planned.

4. find common ground 

Often the best place to start in a negotiation is naming what you can both say yes to. Identifying common interests establishes trust and rapport, Craver notes. And it can help you to a quick win 🏅 that will move the entire process along.

“The first impression is truly the lasting impression,” he explains.

☑️The lesson: Establish where you and the other party already see eye-to-eye before getting bogged down in your differences.

5. make the first offer 

Doesn’t being the first to draw weaken your negotiating position? Despite some schools of thought, not really. The first offer sets the tone and anchors ⚓️ the rest of the process, according to research from Northwestern University. There’s a strong correlation between what’s initially offered in negotiations and the final agreement.

“If you open first, the other party’s counteroffer is influenced by your offer—[which is] not good for them,” researchers say.

☑️The lesson: Devise a competitive first offer to achieve an advantage in your negotiation.

The last, unofficial lesson is: Remember the human. Negotiations aren’t zero-sum, all-or-nothing. There’s a lot to be said for compromise. Maybe order that pizza 🍕 for delivery and drive to pick up sushi 🍣 for bae.



Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash—release the kraken!

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