Negotiation is one of the most difficult jobs a person can do. It requires a combination of diverse traits and skills. The process of negotiating demands good business judgment and a keen understanding of human nature. There is no other area in business where the alchemy of power, persuasion, economics, motivation, and organizational pressures come together in so concentrated a fashion and so narrow a time frame. But – nowhere is the return on investment potential so high!
Today economic pressures around the world are causing organizations to put more pressure on their negotiators. In other words—you!
Buyers and supply management professionals are being asked to cut costs and increase efficiencies. Sellers and marketing professionals are being asked to increase volumes and increase margins. Engineering, system analysts, IT professionals, manufacturing managers, and HR managers are being asked to do more with less. There is a lot of negotiating going on!
Here are some of the key attributes good negotiators exhibit:
1. An ability to negotiate effectively with members of their own organization and win their confidence.
2. A willingness and commitment to plan carefully; know the product/project, the rules and the alternatives; and the courage to probe and verify information.
3. Good business judgment; an ability to discern the real bottom-line issues.
4. The ability to tolerate conflict and ambiguity—it comes with the negotiating process.
5. The courage to commit oneself to higher targets and to take the risks that go along with it.
6. The wisdom to be patient—to wait for the story to unfold.
7. A willingness to get involved with the other party and their organization— to understand all the various personal and business issues.
8. A commitment to integrity and mutual satisfaction.
9. An ability to listen with an open-mind.
10. The insight to view the negotiation from a personal standpoint—discover the hidden personal issues that could affect the outcome.
11. Self-confidence based on your knowledge and your planning.
12. A willingness to use experts and an understanding of how a team might be valuable in the negotiation.
13. A stable person; one who has learned to negotiate with oneself and to laugh a little; one who doesn’t have too strong a need to be liked so they can feel free to disagree when the need arises.
Research shows us that skilled negotiators create better agreements. But we are not born with these skills, it takes training, practice and persistence. Be confident in your ability to negotiate. You have the tools and skills to create good, long-lasting agreements that will satisfy all parties.