Take FULL Control: 5 min Crash Course in Negotiation

By on September 3, 2013

Fotolia_54020632_XSI have a confession to make. The first time I was asked about this personal development skill shortcut, I thought it would be really simple – just go to Amazon.com and search for books on negotiation. But which of the top 869 results that first came up should I start with? Even with targeted keywords, Google narrowed it down to just under 2 million hits. Not very helpful.

I decided to go back to basic principles and recalled what my first boss (in my first ‘real’ job) taught me a long time ago.

He said there are three fundamental things you must always remember in any negotiation:

  1. What’s the very best outcome you could ever wish for?
  2. What’s the most likely (realistic) outcome?
  3. What’s the very least (the bare minimum) you’d accept?

So, I thought okay, for my end of year appraisal that directly translates into:

  1. End of year salary increase (greater than rise in inflation), 10% end of year performance bonus and a promotion.
  2. Salary adjustment in line with inflation and a 5% bonus.
  3. Same salary and acknowledgement of good performance

What I actually ended up with was somewhere in between 1 and 2 with a few other minor ‘bonuses’ I hadn’t even thought of. I considered the outcome of the negotiations to be a success.

The simple technique I’ve just taken you through encourages flexible thinking in that it leads to three potential (yet still positive) outcomes. Compared to the alternative technique (of success or failure) it’s obvious which approach is better. The really neat thing about this technique is, even if you don’t meet all the criteria for success, then the result isn’t automatic failure – it’s just a different outcome.

Another benefit of using this basic negotiation technique is that it forces you to prepare, which gives you room for maneuver when you’re right in the thick of the negotiation. You’ll be much clearer about your position and better able to get that across.

If you’ve had some recent experiences with this please feel free to share by posting a comment below.

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