Most people don’t like negotiating and try to avoid it at all costs. However, like it or not negotiating is part of our lives and we need to learn how to negotiate win-win solutions for both parties especially if we want to achieve our goals.
Negotiating is a skill essential to improve our personal brand and good news is that you can learn this skill at any age. Nevertheless, like all the other skills, becoming good at negotiating requires some practice. Maybe you don’t notice but most of us negotiate every day. For example; you have several tasks that you need to finish during the week and everyone wants you to finish their task first so what do you usually do in these situations? You ask the other party how urgent their task is so you can prioritize them and work accordingly. Do you see? You actually negotiate with the other party on the deadline of the task.
The key of negotiating is instead of making it a win-lose game where one person wins and the other person loses, trying to create value by listening to both parties and making it a win-win situation where everyone benefits and gets what they want. This is called expanding the pie. Let’s look at this concept with an example. You are in the middle of switching your project and your manager/boss would like you to work on Project A. However, you are not very keen on Project A and instead, you want to work on Project B. You talk to your manager and ask him/her to assign you to Project B but your manager insists that they need someone immediately on Project A and tells you that you will be assigned to Project A. This is where you need to take a different approach and try to expand the pie by providing your manager with different options. In this situation, you can offer him/her to work on both projects at the same time such as 50% on A and 50% on B. Another option that you can offer is to work on Project A for some time until you accomplish a few tasks and according to your performance, you can switch to Project B. The third option can be to work on Project A until another resource becomes available so you can switch to Project B and the new resource can work on Project A. There may be other options according to your company culture and you may come up with other solutions. The most important part in this concept is to understand why the other party insists on what they want. If you truly understand the other party’s needs, then you can come up with a resolution that will satisfy both sides and make it a win-win solution for everyone.
I highly recommend reading Getting to Yes if you are shy on negotiating. It is one of my favorite books on negotiating and it is very easy to read as well as explains negotiating techniques with real life examples.