How To Get What You Want: Negotiating tips for work, home, and relationships.

We all negotiate every day. Whether it's at work when closing a sale, at home with your children, when making large purchases with your spouse, with a seller at a yard sale, or just while choosing what to have for dinner. Negotiating is a skill that stems from one of the most important soft-skills one can possess; interpersonal communication.

If you feel like you are always the one in your relationship to compromise, or get passed up for opportunities at work, or just can't seem to get to where you want to be in, keep reading.

I've worked, observed, and studied management and communications. Over the years, I have applied all that I have learned to every day interactions in the real world. One common finding I come across, is that people tend not to ask for what they want, because they associate the act of asking with "conflict" and "aggression". The inclination for people to avoid conflict deters them from asking for what they want in life.

Here's what I know...

Asking for what you want doesn't make you adversarial; it makes you confident, and in control of your life.

Unfortunately, not enough people verbalize what it is they truly want, yet complain when they don't "get their way", or that they have not received whatever it is they desired.

Guess what? No one owes you anything, you have to get out there and get it. #SelfAdvocacy

Here's a few tips on how to get what you want!

1. Work on your confidence.

You can't have the discussion or negotiation if you cannot even muster up the courage to begin. Remember, whatever it is you want, you have to first be sold on the idea that you deserve it. Sell yourself on the idea first, before you can even think about selling someone else on the idea. Prepare your mind, body, and soul. How? Exercise positive self talk. Write a list of all the reasons why you deserve it. Work hard to make sure others see why you deserve whatever it is you are preparing to ask for. Sell yourself on the idea!

2. Practice your speaking skills.

Literally, practice (out loud preferably) before heading into any negotiation or discussion where you have to ask for something. You are your own advocate, so you had better be prepared to be the best at it. Learning what to say, when to say it, and how to say it, is such an important skill to have, and it carries over into ALL aspects of an individuals' life. Read aloud. Practice in front of a mirror. Role play with family or friends.

Speech is power; speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

3. Ask questions to understand the other party.

You need to know what the other party's need(s) are in a negotiation. Ask them directly what it is they want. This is the no-brainer questions like: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? The more knowledge you have about their need(s), the more power you will have in the discussion. Don't assume you know any of the answers.You could be way off! Ask!

4. Listen to their answers. But REALLY listen.

If silence is golden, then listening is platinum. - Me

After you have asked what the other party wants, listen...with all of your heart & soul. Give them your undivided attention because the objective is to get as much information about their need(s) as you can. You need to know their exact position on the matter at hand. It doesn't matter if it is in a sales pitch, during marriage counseling, or just trying to get your 8-year old to eat her veggies. LISTEN!

5. Grow thicker skin.

Negotiations are emotional at the core, however, you absolutely cannot show your cards. It's poker face time, baby! Control your emotions during a discussion and you just might be able to control the outcome. You cannot get offended by anything said during the negotiation. View their emotion as fact. Never invalidate the other party's feelings; acknowledge them as real, even if you think they are being sensitive or over-reacting.

If you cannot control your emotions, you cannot control your money. - Warren Buffett

6. Be prepared to compromise. Keep an open mind.

Assume going into it that you are going to get what you want (because this helps with confidence); but definitely be willing to make concessions. If you go into a negotiation with a "final offer", "ultimatum", or "my way or the highway" attitude, good luck; you've likely already lost. Kiss whatever it was you wanted good-bye! Compromise is NOT a one-way street.

At a standstill? Can't come to an agreement? Didn't get what you wanted?

  • Try a neutral third-party mediator. It could be another team member, a friend, family, etc.

  • Take a break and revisit the conversation later.

  • Walk away, breathe, go to the restroom.

  • Change the location of the conversation.

  • Move offices, change rooms in the house, etc.

  • Add another concession. Be careful! You don't want to give too much. especially if the other party has not offered to compromise as well.

  • Recap the discussion using an "if"/"then" statement. If we do this, then you will do that? Always clarify. Maybe you haven't lost after all, perhaps you just aren't LISTENING.

I hope this helps! And remember.....

When it comes to luck, you make your own - Bruce Springsteen

Note: I purposely left out the role of body language from this article. That is a whole different ball game altogether. It is VERY important but, too much to get into for this post. Different day, different article.

Thanks for reading!

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