3 Tips for Increasing Your Negotiating Skills

So how do you increase your skills at negotiation?

1. Research. Knowledge is power. Start with the product if you looking to purchase a product. If you are trying to persuade another, then focus on the other person and their background, situation, culture and paradigms.

One of the basic tenets of negotiation is that the person who knows the most about the deal/product/other side’s interests is more likely to get the most concessions.

Haggling at a garage sale does not give you much time to research, but you would be surprised what you can find out in small talk prior to making an offer on an item.

There are some personalities that need to make a production where they yell and curse about how curse about how unfair a deal is in order to satisfy their ego or show off for their colleagues when they fully intended to accept it all along.

Talking to someone who knows the person you are dealing with and their quirks and antics can be very helpful prior to hashing out a deal with them.

2. Study the body language. I have read books that say that 80% of communication is non-verbal. In the book Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell he tells about “micro-expressions” and about a researcher who was able to accurately judge whether a couple would or wouldn’t stay together after only 15 minutes of observing their body language.

If you have never read a book about non-verbal communication, check one out from your library and start to recognize the basics. You will be surprised to find how revealing our body language can be.

3. Start a negotiation journal. Every time you negotiate, write about the experience. You should include the various positions in the negotiation, the body language, and techniques that each side was using.

In your journal, you should also make note of your thoughts, impressions, and the attitudes and/or tones of the conversation. This exercise will help you develop your observation skills.

Negotiators with good observation skills and even a fundamental knowledge of body language will know when to ask for concessions and when the lower limit has been reached.

As you add more and more entries in your journal you will start to tease out patterns from your negotiation. You will start to see how the body language will coincide with the change of their position.

The awkward feeling of asking for concessions will go away and you will begin to ask with more confidence which will yield higher concessions still.

Some people call negotiation a game or a dance. Although it can be and often is, it is also a practice in communication and human behavior. Whether you love to haggle or not, by following these tips you will become a better negotiator.