8 top rules of negotiation

If you want to increase your competitive advantage and make a better agreement next time you are in a business negotiation, you may want to keep the rules of negotiation in mind. The rules, which are applicable to anyone seeking to be a good negotiator in any type of situation, come from Dr. Chester L. Karrass book “In Business As in Life—You Don’t Get What You Deserve, You Get What You Negotiate.”

  1. Pick the best place and time to negotiate: You are almost always better off negotiating on your home turf. Time of day and of the week may create negotiating advantages.
  2. Always think about your next best alternative: If the negotiation does not go how you initially planned, you must have a Plan B.
  3. Always leave room to negotiate and give concessions slowly: As Dr. Karrass writes “Concessions, carefully controlled, lead the other party toward closure…”
  4. Don’t say yes too quickly: Your goal is too not leave too much on the table.
  5. Don’t make the first concession on a major issue: According to Dr. Karrass’ research, people who make the first concession on a major issue end up doing poorly in the negotiation.
  6. Talk less, listen more: The less the other party knows about you the stronger your position, and the more you know about them, the better off you are.
  7. Be skeptical: In any negotiation there is posturing, and partial truth. Each side will paint a rosy picture of their position.
  8. Aim to be a super-winner and find the better deal for both parties: Being a super-winner means embracing the concept of win-win negotiations and not viewing negotiations as a battle.

These rules are designed to improve your negotiation performance. Planning and choosing your tactics will refine the outcome. If you want to learn more, Dr. Karrass shares more rules (and valuable information) in his book.

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