Mastering the art of negotiationBy Amelia Polaschek | May 09, 12 09:09 AM
Seven tips for better negotiating in the workplace
Have you heard the old wives tale that women don’t negotiate as well as men? Well, the truth of the matter is simply that men and women communicate differently. Everyone has the ability to master the art of negotiating- it just takes a little practice.
We undertake negotiation in many aspects of our lives when buying a car, deciding where to go for a holiday, resolving disputes with friends and family and, of course, in the workplace. Whether you're negotiating details of a contract, flexible working arrangements or remuneration, the art of negotiating is a skill set like any other. It can be learned and the more you practice, the better you get at it.
Good communication and problem solving lie at the heart of all successful negotiations. Here are some useful tips when approaching your next workplace negotiation.
#1 Think about the negotiation from your employers perspective
Recognising what your employer wants and needs will benefit you in a negotiation. You can gain leverage from identifying the specific pressures facing your employer, your business and your industry more broadly. Look for ways to exploit that pressure in order to achieve a better result for yourself.
#2 Quantify your achievements
Often women undertake work that goes by un-noticed, or that is not part of their role or job description. Create a skills and attributes list, use it as a record of your achievements and go into your negotiation armed with evidence of your value to the business. Tell your employer what you are worth to them.
#3 Gain internal support
Find mentors inside your workplace. Preferably this would be someone higher up in the organisation that has internal knowledge of the company but is not part of the negotiation process directly. Gaining support from someone who understands the business and the politics in your organisation will benefit you at the negotiating table.
#4 Be assertive, not aggressive
Practice the language you will use in your negotiation. Keep your tone neutral and use professional language that is appropriate to the situation. For example, use language like: “I would like” rather than “I think you should give me”.
#5 Be positive and expect the best outcome
Successful negotiators are optimists. If you approach a negotiation with a positive attitude and expect the best outcome, you will get more out of the experience as a whole. For example, sellers should ask for more than they expect to receive, and buyers should offer less than they are prepared to pay. It’s a general rule of thumb that people who aim higher do better.
#6 Leave your emotions at the door
Remember that all decisions made at work are business decisions first and foremost. Always remain professional in a negotiation and don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Approach the situation as if you are neotiating on behalf of someone else.
#7 Value yourself
How much are you worth? What is your market value? Do some research into how much others in similar positions in your industry are earning. Make sure that the effort to reward ratio for the work you are doing is appropriate then think about the specific expertise and knowledge that you bring to your job. Be prepared to walk away if your employer isn’t willing to pay you what you are worth.
Remember that a ‘no’ in a workplace negotiation is simply a ‘no’ to a particular request at a particular time. It is not a personal rejection and it is not a failure.
Amelia is a Premium member of Business Chicks, you can request her online business card and connect with her here.
Note: Thanks to Fiona Craig of Sophisticareer for her advice on this article.