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Negotiating With Confidence: A Woman’s Guide To Getting What You Want

Negotiating With Confidence: A Woman’s Guide To Getting What You Want

By: Jennifer Weitsen

Research shows that men negotiate earlier, more often and on a broader range of things than women. Advancing your negotiation skills can "ellevate" you as a unique leader among your peers and business partners.

Have you ever negotiated a deal, but felt a queasy feeling in your stomach afterwards? This is often due to closing the deal too quickly.

Negotiating is tough...and it's a science, but there are steps you can take to successfully close a deal and advance your career. In this Ellevate Network Jam Session, Ananda Laberge, a Negotiation Consultant and Tutor for Scotwork USA, shares practical advice you can use in preparing for any negotiation.

How to Prepare for Negotiation

There are five key steps involved in preparing for your negotiation.

Step 1: Identify your objectives and prioritize them

Determine your objectives, i.e. what you want to achieve, as well as respective priorities. Are they a wish, an intend (non-essential item) or a must have?

Before any negotiation, you should always have a strong wish list ready. This offers you flexibility during the negotiation. If the other party says “no” to a non-essential item, then you have an opportunity to sweeten the deal with your wish list items.

Make sure your objectives are realistic and that you set your limits. If your objects are not realistic, the other party will either walk away or not put a lot of value on the meeting. Also consider what the other party’s objectives might be, and their relative importance.

Step 2: Prepare the information you will share

- Plan, script and strategize your opening statement. It is the only thing you can plan and rehearse in advance.

- Share important information early on. You want to create trust and if information comes out late, this will cause distrust.

- If there is bad news, give the news upfront and in the opening statement.

- In your opening statement, structure expectations.

- Ask if they have any issues to discuss in the meeting.

- Prepare questions to test your assumptions, especially if the other party is someone that you have been dealing with for a long time.

Step 3: Plan your strategy to achieve your objectives

If your strategy is not defined ahead of time, you may run into obstacles and lengthy negotiations.

Your strategy should be:

Simple: i.e. everybody should understand it

Flexible: But don’t confuse your strategy with your objectives – they are set.

Adaptable: Give yourself permission to adapt it in the moment. You have to have multiple strategies if one is not working

If your strategy is not working during the negotiation, be prepared to take an adjournment or a “time out”, to reconsider your approach. Step out of the room for a few minutes when you find your objectives are unrealistic, new information has been shared — or you just need time to think. This prevents you from agreeing to something too quickly without thinking it through.

Step 4: Assign negotiation roles within your team

You should never go into an important negotiation on your own. It’s important to establish who on your team is doing what in advance. For a strong negotiation party, incorporate these three roles within your team.

1. Leader: This is not necessarily the most senior person. Their role is to offer proposals, opinions and concessions.

2. Summariser: The purpose of this role is to ask questions, obtain and clarify information and to point things out. They are the housekeeper, but cannot make proposals.

3. Observer: This role keeps quiet and listens. They watch verbal signals and body language — and try to understand the underlying motives of the other party.

Step 5: Determine Your Concessions

Before entering the negotiation, be clear on possible concessions. This is the opposite of wish lists and typically includes items that are of low value to you, and high value to the other party. Concessions are often used to close the deal.

For more information on networking at work, watch our Ellevate Network Jam Session.

Ananda Laberge is a Negotiation Consultant and Tutor for Scotwork USA. Her experience ranges from leading sales teams at Pfizer and Abbott Laboratories, as well as for start-ups (Premise), consistently exceeding ambitious sales goals in a variety of specialties within the healthcare sector, including pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, supply chain and healthcare IT. One of Ananda's goals as a negotiator is "to encourage participants to share challenging experiences and show them how the Scotwork method can open doors to innovative strategies that can lead to success."