Negotiations happen every day – at work and at home.
It could be a discussion with your partner about who's cooking dinner or picking up the children from school. Or a conversation with your boss about a pay rise, negotiating the sale of your home, or buying a new car.
Also read: How to fall in love with your job
Building negotiating prowess is an essential life skill, particularly during times of economic challenge and uncertainty.
So, here are six key tips to help you get what you want:
1. Know your end game
Negotiations often involve compromise, so it's crucial to identify what really matters.
You want to outline your boundaries. These are your non-negotiables – what you are not willing to sacrifice - and your trade-offs - the items you are comfortable giving up in return for the other party giving you something else that matters more.
As part of this, understand the options and how your proposal could satisfy the other person's needs. Be clear about your needs and what you ask for.
2. Do your Homework
When negotiating, you need to know what's in the scope of the negotiation and what's reasonable to request.
If you are negotiating salary, you'll want to know the market rates in the industry, so you can understand whether your request is above or in line with the market.
Various job websites and LinkedIn provide data on salary ranges for roles and professions. When negotiating, you don't want to go in too high or pitch too low.
3. Know your leverage
Skilful negotiators know their points of leverage.
If you have something someone else wants and there are limited options to access, then you are in a stronger negotiating position. Similarly, if you are willing to walk away from the negotiating table, it can pressure the other party into agreeing to your demands.
When you're desperate to secure something, and the party you are negotiating with knows that, you will often have less bargaining power.
4. Be prepared
Consider how the negotiation process will unfold and the steps required to secure an agreement. Consider these steps before the discussion and be curious how they may play out.
Where possible, seek to understand the other people involved - their operating style, agenda, needs and what they care about. Be interested in them and their perspectives and ideas.
The more you understand those involved, the more significant insights you'll have into what they are likely to support or reject.
5. Ready your mindset
Negotiating is mentally taxing. Your mind will be pushed and pulled in many directions.
It's essential to consider how you will likely think, feel and react throughout the process. If you go in with the perspective: "I'm right. They're wrong" and you’re unwilling to find common ground, you're unlikely to make good progress. It is much more productive to approach the negotiation from a basis of mutual respect.
Don't negotiate when you are tired. If you find your mind racing, focus on breathing deeply. This provides time for you to relax, regroup and your heart rate to slow down, making it easier to reflect and respond calmly.
6. Back yourself
Step up and into your personal power and have the courage and conviction to back yourself every step of the way. You have the right to express your wants and needs.
Negotiations often take unexpected turns, so be ready for it and have the resolve to see it through.