Do some research on the people involved and their company culture. Having that information top of mind will be very helpful. Once you are in the heat of the moment, you will need to think on your feet. If possible, learn more about the person you’ll be negotiating with and their style. This will help you prepare and not get blindsided.
2) Make Small Talk
Introduce yourself and take some time to get to know the other parties. This will help build rapport. This can lower the guard of the other side and allow you to gather important information about their interests. According to a Stanford University paper called “Schmooze or Lose,” students who schmoozed before a negotiation were much more likely to come to agreement than those students who didn’t. Making smart small talk “is where the great negotiators really shine,” says Professor Wheeler.
3) Don’t fear confrontation
When an important relationship is on the line, you may be tempted to cave in to the other side’s demands. Maybe you concede because want to avoid confrontation. Experts say that pushing back in a professional way is part of the process. It’s okay to challenge people, as long as you do so respectfully.
Using “we” instead of “I” stresses what you have in common. It shows the other side that there are areas of agreement. Find common ground. If the other side identifies hot-button issues, listen carefully and show an interest in helping them. Understanding their issues will help you come up with new possibilities to put on the table.
(to) drive a hard bargain – to make a deal to one’s advantage; to be a skillful negotiator
(to) jeopardize – to put at risk
(to) compromise – to reach an agreement in which both sides accept less than they would like
(to) settle for less – to accept less than one would like
(to) maintain good relations – to stay friendly with someone
(to) keep in mind – to remember
top of mind – at the center of one’s thoughts; readily accessible
in the heat of the moment – in the middle of a situation, often a difficult one
(to) think on one’s feet – to think quickly; to have good answers ready
(to) get blindsided – to be caught unprepared
(to) build rapport – to create a friendly relationship
(to) lower one’s guard – to stop being cautious; to open up to new ideas or experiences
(to) schmooze – to talk informally or casually
(to) come to agreement – to reach an agreement
(to) shine – to do really well; to show one’s best side
confrontation – conflict; argument
on the line – at serious risk
(to) cave in to – to agree to something you don’t really want
(to) concede – to yield; to give in
(to) push back – to argue; to refuse to accept something
(to) have in common – to share (such as interests or ideas)
areas of agreement – things that both sides agree on
common ground – shared interests or beliefs
hot-button issue – a very important issue; an issue that raises strong emotions in people
come up with – to identify; to find
on the table – an option, especially one that has been presented and can be negotiated (if something is “put on the table,” it is presented for to be discussed).