Preparation is key to negotiating with confidence. Explore the importance of writing an opening statement and scripting responses to potential resistance and pushback.
- To be successful in negotiation, it's best to walk in prepared. You might be able to work on the fly in minor negotiations, but for most, preparation is key to helping you think on your feet and be more at ease during your conversation. So let's set the stage. Here are four essential steps. Step one is to define what you want. Think about all the opportunities you might have to negotiate. It might include a key project you'd like to work on or getting more people or resources to complete a project.
Or, how about an extra week of vacation to compete in a marathon? In each of those examples, you need to define what's important to you. What will your request help you achieve? But you also have to define how what you want will benefit the other party. What's in it for them? Will it improve your team or company reputation? Will it save money or earn money? Or will it improve productivity? Answering those questions leads to step two, and that's research.
If you're making a pitch for promotion, you'll definitely want to do some salary research on sites like Glassdoor and PayScale and Salary.com. But you also want to get some insight into how viable your request for promotion is. So your research should involve talking with key influencers about timing and company climate or to discover hidden issues you might not be aware of. You should also ask those influencers about salary expectations and to put in a good word for you with a decision maker.
Step three is to write your opening statement. Now that you know what you want and how what you want maps to the needs and goals of your conversation partner, you have the raw material you need to script out and memorize your opening statement. Now, the reason your opening statement is so important is that when we wing it, we tend to trip over our words and leave out important details. And sometimes, we let fear take over and end up asking for less than what we really need or want.
So in effect, your opening statement establishes your anchor, let's say a promotion, and frames it with a value you're poised to deliver. In other words, it's mapping your strengths and skills to the goals and results that are important to your partner. And right behind that is step number four, which is to make a list of potential pushbacks. Write down every possible no you anticipate hearing. And for every no, you want to draft a diagnostic question that'll help you untangle that no so you can keep things moving forward.
I've provided a couple of examples of opening statements in the Exercise Files to use as a template for writing your own. Now, the goal of the four preparation steps I've outlined is to give your negotiation a foundation and to help you feel grounded and prepared and confident. So don't skip it.
- Identify the different types of negotiation.
- Distinguish the difference between asking and negotiation.
- List core negotiation practices.
- Explain anchoring and framing for mutual benefit.
- Describe tactical empathy.
- Explain the principles of influence.
- Create an influence plan.
- Analyze conflict styles.
- Recognize contentious negotiation tactics.