Negotiation is a necessary life skill – it could mean the difference between being underpaid and getting the salary you deserve; between getting your kids to do some of the chores versus raising lazy kids; or unfairly paying for a portion of your friends’ restaurant bill versus trying your best to save money. Negotiation is not just for people with jobs in accounting who need to get the boss to spend less on wining and dining clients and more on training employees, but it is for everyone who is trying to carve out space for their self-worth.
Rule number one for negotiation
The first rule of negotiation is to value yourself and to appreciate the things you want. The basis for this value is to realize that it is okay to want things, especially if it means better compensation for what you are doing, instead of persistently compromising for others.
What you need to be a better negotiator:
Give and take
Negotiation is not about making demands on another person (or other people) – it is about informing them that you would like your voice to be heard and your values respected. Asking your boss for a raise does not mean telling him to “show me the money!”, However, rather signaling to him that you think the extra work you have been doing and the time you have been committing to your job make you eligible for higher compensation. When he asks you for proof of your time and commitment, have the reports and figures ready to show how you have benefited his company and bottom line.
Don’t take it personally
Negotiation is making a deal. If you approach someone to negotiate, you have the goal in mind to get what you want. How you feel about what has led up to the negotiation is irrelevant – feeling short-changed, left out, betrayed, or passed over for promotion can all be dealt with after hours, as long as it does not affect your negotiation skills.
As in the example mentioned above, it is best to come ready to a negotiation table. You want something out of this negotiation, so it is not a stretch to understand that the party you are negotiating with also wants something in return. Making a compelling argument in your favor takes work, and if you can back it up with reliable figures and proof, the party you are negotiating with won’t be able to fault you for subjective value.
Go in asking for more than what you want, knowing that the other party will try to negotiate down. In the end, make sure you get what you want.