Negotiation Blog

Happy People Make Better Negotiators

By Marianne Eby

Inc. magazine contributor Jeff Haden gives us a list of “10 Things to Stop Doing Right Now”  to be happier. We couldn’t help but point out that if you subtract these 10 things from your negotiations, too, you’ll be happier AND a better negotiator.

Haden's top 10 subtractions on the road to happiness are no-brainers to master negotiators, so we wanted to highlight the biggies from a negotiator’s perspective:

1. Blaming - Take responsibility for your part. If your customer hasn’t kept up with its volume commitment, ask yourself – did you set the bar too high, have you trained their users on your service, what part of this is yours?

2. Impressing – It’s important to sell value – yours, your company’s, your product and service. But if all you do is promote you and yours, you will miss the golden opportunity to learn about your counterpart.

3. Interrupting – Even new negotiators know to ask a lot of questions, but it doesn’t pay off if you interrupt the answers. And fake listening doesn’t count – master negotiators listen with sincere curiosity!

4. Controlling – Even when you have all the power, trying to control the outcome of negotiations is counter-productive. Controlling the discussion or outcome ensures that you will miss opportunities to talk, to find hidden value for both parties, and thereby create a sustainable and viable agreement.

5. Dwelling – Haden tells us “the past is just training.” Negotiators, even the best, make mistakes. They do their homework and they diligently follow the best practices, but to get the best deal they are creative risk takers. Asking questions has risks. Suggesting options has risks. Showing your cards has risks. And with the risks come some mistakes. But master negotiators don’t dwell; they turn mistakes into lessons.

6. Fearing - For negotiators, fear is what keeps us from asking for what we want, the nail in the coffin for achieving a beneficial agreement. Think of the "big ask" as a way to start the conversation. If your request is defensible, then you can confidently ask for it.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate for what you want! You’ll be happier, build stronger relationships, and achieve mutually beneficial agreements.

Negotiating Tip

Be sincerely curious and ask three questions after their offer. Listen as an ally! This will tell you how legitimate they think their offer is.

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