No matter who you are, you’ll eventually experience struggles with reaching an agreement with someone. Disagreements in your personal life or inability to reach consensus at work will occur occasionally.
How do you perform when it comes to negotiating a solution to a vexing issue?
These tips can help strengthen your negotiating skills:
1. Find common ground. Identify the points both of you agree on. Write them down so they are clearly defined. In this process, share what you want to happen. Recording those commonalities will help bring you closer to successful negotiation.
• If you wish, engage in brainstorming together to find additional solutions where there’s common ground.
2. Project confidence that the issue can and will be resolved. If you appear relaxed, smile upon greeting individuals arriving to discuss the trying issues, and portray an attitude of, “We can work on and solve this issue together,” the others will also have confidence the trouble spots can be taken care of.
3. Use discussion-friendly language. Customary politeness and showing attention will go a long way to encourage successful resolution.
4. Moderate voice tones. If you’re voice gets whiny when you’re insisting on your way, it will rapidly turn off others. Plus, it will be harder for others to view you as someone who keeps his cool during negotiations. So, too, if your voice shows evidence of frustration, irritation, or anger.
• Keep your voice tones low-key, neutral, and absent of emotional feelings.
5. Show off your listening skills. When you listen to the other person’s position, you’ll understand why they want something the opposite way from your own ideas. Make eye contact with the speaker and simply listen (as opposed to trying to think of what you’ll say next).
6. Be willing to change your mind. During times when you listen to discussions about the challenge in question, you might realize that the other person’s argument makes more sense or has more impact than your take on the situation. It’s okay to change your mind when someone has a creative, fruitful idea that’s different from your own.
7. Demonstrate the flexibility to give up a couple of points. If you give an inch, maybe the other person will, too. When the other person sees you reaching out to give him what he wants, there’s more of a chance he’ll feel charitable toward you as well.
8. Be kind to the person in disagreement with you. Nothing will bring you more riches in life than displaying a giving and ready-to-help nature. Keep in mind that your cohort’s ideas on how things should be resolved are just as important to him as your ideas are to you. Compliment his efforts to work toward an acceptable conclusion for everyone.
9. Remind yourself you’re both on the same “side,” which is to resolve the disagreement. Both of you want to reach a successful conclusion that will make the situation better.
10. Limit discussion times. Because some subjects can be emotionally loaded or be the source of considerable discomfort, establish limits on the amount of time you’ll talk about the disagreement. One hour is probably a decent length of time to accomplish some goals.
• However, if you need more time, schedule it at a time and place that all members agree to. At the end of the current meeting is the best time to schedule your next meeting.
Strengthening your negotiation skills can help you in your quest to live a life built on solutions and compromise. Before you engage in active disagreement with someone, why not try these suggestions? Now, you can confidently approach future negotiations with confidence.
Image: Moyan Brenn/Flickr