Within our family of medical and technical solutions, my team and I believe in ongoing personal development strategies to increase desired outcomes. Learning more about the art of negotiation is a skill that can enhance all aspects of business – and life – when mastered. However, fear and a lack of confidence keeps some from asking for what they want. If negotiation is important for today’s forward thinkers, what steps are available to help seize everyday opportunities? 

Fontini Iconomopoulos, author of Say Less, Get More, believes some people panic and lose composure during the negotiation process. To overcome these challenges, she suggests taking mindful pauses and staying authentic to your best possible outcome throughout negotiation discussions. Iconomopoulos recommends preparing proposals that convey self-assuredness. She also believes in the power of arming yourself with proven examples of prior success to share with new contacts. Asking straightforward open-ended questions can also support gaining more information while also inviting your audience to remain receptive to innovative and/or new ideas. Iconomopoulos suggests that some people are more likely to take offense if you ask them too many “why” questions upfront regarding how they did something, so incorporate how and what questions too.

When negotiating, consider a collaborative approach that incorporates a mutually beneficial mindset. In Iconomopoulos’ publication, she suggests five questions to help you assess negotiation interests.

5 Questions to Help Assess Negotiation Interests

  1. What’s their objective? – What do they need?
  2. What are the stakes? – What happens if they don’t succeed?
  3. Whom does this affect? – Whose interests do they represent? Who are the stakeholders? 
  4. What leverage do they have? – How much negotiating power does the other party have?
  5. How do other parties perceive you? – Do they regard you as powerful or powerless?

Aim to Create Value: 9 Ways

Iconomopoulos also suggests the following ways to help generate value during negotiation discussions:

  • Focus on Mutual Value: Remember that money isn’t your main objective. Seek to create mutual value.
  • Suss Out Interests: Take time to figure out what the other party wants. Imagine diverse ways you could collaborate to serve both of your interests.
  • Listen to Others: People find satisfaction in others hearing them. Understand that acknowledging others’ points of view is different from agreeing with them.
  • Decide What to Share: Decide which information you will share ahead of time.
  • Identify Possible Value Sources: Consider which variables you could trade to create qualitative and/or quantitative value for everyone. Potential variables range from advertising to exclusivity deals.
  • Assess Variables: What are you willing to give away, what do you hope to get, and with what will you not part with? Identify possible areas of conflict as you prepare your proposals.
  • Don’t Settle: Never give away more valuable variables than the other party gives you.
  • Create Conditions: When making proposals, make it clear that you will give other parties something of value to them only if they meet your conditions.
  • Consider Motivation: Reflect on other parties’ primary motivations and objectives. When introducing your proposal, frame the options you present by reminding them of your desire to create needed value for them.

Did you know our words account for only 7% of the message we send to others? Interestingly enough, body language accounts for 55% and voice tone for 38% says psychologist and communication researcher Albert Mehrabian. This means successful negotiation often requires leveraging all three communication modalities (tone of voice, body language and words). Remember to choose your words carefully and strategically. When you use fewer words during negotiation, you appear more confident. Avoid using words that can make some view you as uncertain. For example, avoid saying “I think” (replace with “I believe”) before you express opinions. Poor body language can also undermine credibility during negotiations. People may be less likely to view someone with stooped posture as a leader so be mindful of your posture throughout each discussion.

Leveraging unconventional techniques can help you experiment with new ways to create mutually beneficial relationships and overcome negotiation anxiety. Whether you want to petition your loved ones for more alone time or if you’re asking for a salary increase from your manager, strong negotiators understand people. I invite you to explore applicable strategies to become a more effective negotiator in 2022.

Leadership Challenge: What other valuable negotiation tips have you and your team found effective? Share your thoughts in comments.

Brandon Rouse leads a diverse and growing team of professionals well-versed in the challenges facing healthcare today. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK, Brandon’s experienced team represents various technological and innovative medical solutions. ZB RX Medical and RX Medical are direct distributors of Zimmer Biomet.