Wouldn’t it be nice to always get what you want? Ask for that raise you’ve always wanted? Get your kids to eat their vegetables? Pay less for a big purchase? Sure thing! While this may seem a little far-fetched, it’s actually easier than you think.
Negotiation consultant, Fotini Iconomopoulo,s breaks down some tips to help us master the art of negotiation so we can make these wishes come true.
Step outside your comfort zone
Surely the thought of getting what you want sounds lovely, but for some, this is not an easy thing to do when fear stands in the way. The fear of rejection and not knowing how to properly negotiate is the biggest mountain people have to climb. Besides, what’s the worst that can happen? Hearing a no. That’s not so bad! So step outside your comfort zone and learn how to find agreement. This is what negotiation is all about. It’s about a process of discovery with people. Thinking about it this way allows negotiation to be a conversation, rather than something that is terrifying and intimidating.
Know your worth
In most cases, the fear of negotiating stems from people wanting to come across as nice and likeable, instead of seeming difficult to deal with. Sadly, this fear seems to reside more with women. A 2001 study by Linda Babcock called Women Don’t Ask, found that only 7 per cent of women negotiated their salary and 57 per cent of men did. That’s a huge gap that needs to be closed. Of those who did negotiate, including both males and females, they were able to increase their compensation by 7 per cent. If you compare two people (one who negotiated and one who didn’t) and they have the same promotions and same salary expectations over their 35 year career, the person who didn’t negotiate will have to work eight years more to have the same rate at retirement. So if you would like that early retirement, learn how to stand up for yourself and negotiate.
Choose your words wisely
When making a negotiation, choose your words wisely. What you don’t want to do is use words like ‘just’, ‘actually’, ‘maybe’, or ‘probably’. Doing so will take away from your authority and give away micro moments of power. If you start off a conversation by saying “I just wanted to follow up on…” right off the bat you’re putting yourself in a conciliatory position by justifying and basically apologizing for doing something you should own if you want to be taken seriously. Remove the word “just” and you sound much more credible. Practicing this self-edit exercise will raise your level of confidence.
Ask the right questions
Now, for all you parents out there- kids are the best negotiators and we have a lot to learn from them. But in return, we need to teach them that not everything is going to be served on a silver platter to them. When negotiating with kids, you want to make sure you are asking the right questions. No one likes to be forced to do anything, even kids. That’s why it’s best to give them choices. For example, to get your children to eat vegetables- arguably one of the biggest challenges of parenting- ask them “what do you want to eat- broccoli or cauliflower?” Avoid general open ended questions and give them two options. The choice makes them feel like they are the kings and queens with all power, but really the choices are yours and you’re still in charge.
It’s important to remember that negotiating is not always about a money exchange. It’s about improving your quality of life whether it’s negotiating with doctors to get you an appointment as soon as possible, reducing office work load to avoid a burnout, or convincing your sister to let you borrow her clothes. Negotiations are about agreements that help you resolve what YOU need. You’ll never know what could be if you don’t ask. Always ask questions and don’t be afraid to hear ‘no’; it’s just a word.
Does negotiating scare you?