The 5 Pillars of Negotiation

The 5 Pillars of Negotiation

The 5 Pillars of Negotiation 1920 1080 The Conscious Professional

“Successful negotiation is not about getting to ‘yes’; it’s about mastering ‘no’ and understanding what the path to an agreement is.” – Christopher Voss

Negotiation is a part of business. Indeed, it is a part of life. When anything involves more than one person, inevitably there must be some level of debate, case making and compromise. Whether it’s about what movie to watch or how to close on a multi-million-pound deal for your company… negotiation exists.

Now, the stakes for what movie to watch with your pal, in general, are not especially high. But, in the workplace, artful negotiation, or not, can make a huge difference to many people. Negotiating well is very much a skill that requires practice. It is still true that many companies and professionals go to aggression as their main tool, but this needn’t be the case. Indeed, if professionals practice (as is becoming more the case) mindful, constructive, and connecting forms of negotiation, agreements often come to the fore with both sides feeling respected and catered for.

There are many views on how to negotiate. However, we believe that these five pillars are a good way to begin approaching your negotiations in a more mindful way.

1. Clarity in Speech

It is critical to be clear and economical. Come to a negotiation knowing exactly what you want to achieve, what compromise you will tolerate, and what you will not. This will set you up to be crystal clear with the other side. Lack of preparation or hot-headedness can lead to waffling. Being unclear in your intent also leads negotiations down paths that neither side is really happy with.

So, be clear. Be concise. Don’t add irrelevant detail. Stay on track. This way, the parameters are clear, and the conclusion is more likely to be close to what you want.

2. Active Listening

Don’t sit there ‘listening’ to the other side, when really you are just waiting for your turn. It’s easy to get bogged down in your own needs. However, if you are not present and sensitive to the argument of the other side, they are much less likely to steer in your direction. Listen. Properly. Try and genuinely see things from their angle. If there is this kind of appreciation on both sides, and goodwill to go along with it, it is much more likely that all involved will be on board with pleasing all parties.

3. Constructive Questions

This ties into the clarity and economy point above. Do your best not to ask empty or irrelevant questions. Or, indeed, any question that doesn’t point to you end goal. In a negotiation, be mindful that all parties want to get to the end with a good result, so ensure that your questions move the argument forward and do not go back over old ground. Not only does this muddy the waters… but nobody wants a negotiation to go on longer than it needs to. Grumpy professionals make grumpy negotiators!

4. Positive Body Language

There have been many studies about how humans communicate. Most of them agree that physical communication (so, body language) accounts for about 55% of human communication. So, you can communicate with the right words all you like (incidentally, verbal communication accounts for around 7%), but if your physical attitude doesn’t fit, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Physically engage. Show positivity and respect in the way that you move and present yourself. It all plays into a positive outcome.

5. The Inclusion of Metatalk

In case you are unsure, metatalk essentially refers to communications about the way in which you wish to communicate. It is really useful to lay out the ground rules and to agree a system of communication and mutual respect when entering a negotiation.

By Chris Thomson


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