Preparing is the first important hurdle in any negotiation. The person who spends more time preparing is naturally better equipped for a positive outcome. If you’re looking to gain the upper hand in a negotiation, research and evidence gathering are your first and most important line of defense. For example, if you’re negotiating for a raise, you’ll want to have examples ready of how your flexibility, talent, and work ethic have helped the company in the past.
Research and evidence are necessary tools to apply in negotiation and thus a good starting point. If you’re looking for even more ways to ramp up your negotiation preparation game, try one of these tactics:
People sometimes hesitate to role play because they feel a little silly doing it. However, role playing can be a powerful technique to use during negotiating planning. Role playing helps you see the flaws in your argument and anticipate defensive scenarios. In other words, you’ll be able to formulate your responses to criticism before negotiations begin – not in the heat of the moment. It may feel awkward at first, but it’s a huge confidence booster for when it matters.
Roleplaying also helps you see the negotiations from your opponent’s point of view. This allows you to play out any arguments, and it will help you understand the other party’s priorities and how they may affect your case.
People sometimes are mistaken by the notion that negotiations are formulaic and require x amount of tactics. Truly talented negotiators understand that negotiation is an art form not a science. As such, it requires no small amount of creativity. The goal of any negotiation is to come up with the best solution of the ones available.
In your preparations, try this: Write down plenty of ideas related to a negotiation. Imagine what the other side is thinking or dream up the best possible scenario. These ideas can be out-of-the-box and may even seem hard to apply. Often, a flawed idea becomes a more viable option throughout the process. Each solution you create in your mind’s eye might not fit the situation perfectly, but these ideas may pave a path to the best possible outcome over time.
Find Your Leverage
Finally, every good negotiation involves taking advantage of your own strengths. A little introspection before the negotiation will help identify the direction in which you’ll want to steer your negotiation.
A negotiation is only as powerful as your preparation. Apply these tips to your next negotiation, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.