Negotiating is the ultimate challenge for any leader. Being good at it is essential for success. You don’t have to be a shark to succeed. The dolphin approach is better. The difference is one of style. While sharks try to intimidate, dolphins genuinely enjoy people. They are confident, assertive and don’t try to manipulate their opponents with negotiating ploys and gambits.
Here are three dolphin principles to becoming a better negotiator almost immediately:
1. Exercise Self-discipline.
Self-discipline can be defined as, “Doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done whether you feel like it or not. ” That requires the discipline to prepare. There is a rule of thumb in negotiating, “The better prepared you are the better your chances for success. ”
Dig for the facts. Do your homework. Find out all you can about the other party that relates to the pending negotiation. Find out their goals, motivation, needs, interests and problems. Yes, that will require self-discipline to do the work and the due diligence (you do want to succeed, don’t you?).
Remain emotionally detached. The biggest detriment to success in any negotiation is to become emotionally involved. Be agreeably disagreeable. In other words, don’t disagree, agree and change. “I see your point. However, have you considered…?” Avoid arguing or getting in the last word. That creates defensiveness, which will work against you. Do what will work for you. All of this requires the exercise of self-discipline.
2. Reinforce Continually.
Reinforcement builds the type of confidence you want in the other party. The way to guide a person toward this confidence is to let them reinforce what you are saying. It is the human condition that if you say it then it’s suspect, but if they say it, then it’s gospel truth. Therefore, get them to say it. How? End your statements with a question that requires positive reinforcement such as:
- “That’s fair, isn’t it?”
- “You understand that, don’t you?”
- “You can see the value in that, can’t you?”
- “That makes sense, doesn’t it?”
Ask the questions in a calm conversational manner, but authoritatively (you see the wisdom in that, don’t you?).
3. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse!
Anticipate and prepare for as many predictable responses, obstacles and objections as possible. Prepare your responses in advance. Role-play with someone knowledgeable about the situation.
Thomas Edison once said, “Genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. ” Preparation and rehearsal is the perspiration of negotiating genius. Our astronauts found few surprises on the moon and functioned very efficiently because of their disciplined rehearsals under simulated conditions here on earth.
If you truly want to be a better negotiator, follow through on this exercise: take out a 3x5 card and write vertically in big letters, E R R (the first letter of each of the three principles). Then, next to them write what they mean. This may be the shortest yet most effective negotiating manual ever. Review it frequently remembering the guidelines for each heading, as shown here, until it becomes second nature.
Aristotle gave us good advice when he said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit. ” Now that you know this go forth and E R R your way to negotiating excellence and greater leadership recognition. You can see the rewards in that, can’t you?
© 2005 Gaining The Edge Feel free to reprint this article provided that it is not altered and that the resource information as shown below is included.
John Nicholas is co-author of Leadership Inside Secrets - How to become indispensable, get top level jobs and make top dollar: http://LeadershipInsideSecrets.com
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