“In business, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.” Charles L. Karrass
We negotiate every day both at home and at work. It’s a way to get what we want from others – a back and forth communication to reach an agreement.
You want more resources for your team…but your boss says she has a reduced budget.
Or you want your direct reports to assume extra duties at the end of the fiscal year…but they resist, already stretched.
You’re arguing to keep the team you’ve built…but your manager has been told to cut costs and consider layoffs.
So you have to negotiate. And to be successful – that means being persuasive…and responsive.
Persuasion means changing someone’s thinking or behavior – to get them to think, feel or do as you you’d like them to. So…
–Know what you want.
–Thoroughly study/analyze the other side. Who are they? What do they want? What are their biases? Resistance patterns? Needs?
–Walk in their shoes. Feel the force of their point of view. Because it’s the reality as they see it that’s your problem.
–Listen actively, and show it: “Let me be sure I understand you. From your perspective…” People listen better to you, if they feel you understand them.
–Decide what you want the other side to think, feel, do – then build a clear, strong case, using supportive evidence, facts, examples and stories that will resonate with the other side. Stories especially captivate and touch people emotionally. Make others feel the way you do about an issue– and you’re half-way home.
–Look beyond the other side’s position – to their underlying interests.
Interests are not the same as positions.
Interests are what cause you to take a position. I want more resources to begin a new project is a position. I want this project because I want to show I have vision, take initiative – and deserve a promotion are your interests.Your boss’ position: There’s no budget for new projects. But her interest: if I go over budget, I’ll be seen as a weak manager. Discovering the other side’s real interests points the way to creative solutions.
Self-interest is the most powerful interest.
Renowned mediator Theodore Kheel: “The way to get someone to agree with you is to persuade them it is in their interest to do so.” So figure that out, and build it into your case. Another way to describe self-interest is the acronym W.I.I.F.T – What’s In It for Them.
Find shared interests.
Whatever the opposing views…always search for shared interests. Are they in preserving the relationship? Further opportunities to work together? Having your division look good? Shared interests help you come to agreement.
Find creative solutions.
Brainstorm beforehand with people you trust. Generate options…look for shared interests…make the other side aware of the consequences if they do, or don’t do, as you wish. Remain open to reason, and be flexible.
“The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people half-way.” Henry Boyle
Speak with conviction.
Believe in what you say, and say what you believe. Don’t be a pushover. That leads to you feeling exploited. Be firm. Use clear, respectful language. Don’t blame, insult or show hostility. That only makes the other side defensive, hardens their position – and could ruin your relationship. And don’t let them get you upset. Stay on an even, professional keel.
Have a plan B.
Just in case you can’t come to an agreement. Measure any agreement against this and it will protect you against unfavorable terms.
HBA member Carol Rosenbaum is a communications coach, speaker, journalist, video writer/producer – and winner of 2 Emmys for her healthcare video productions.