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Three Common Negotiating Mistakes

How to negotiate successfully when it doesn’t come naturally

Fast Co NegotiationWhether you want a higher starting salary or a promotion or even a raise you’ll get better results if you’re a good negotiator. Unfortunately, for most of us negotiating to get what we want feels confrontational. And because most of us are uncomfortable with confrontation we often just accept whatever is offered.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

In a recent article, Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of Think Like a Negotiator, told Fast Company that negotiation is a skill that can be learned. She says, “It’s like playing baseball, you have to do it to get good at it.”

The key to being successful is to get comfortable with negotiating, to get over the fear. The best way to do this is by starting small and practicing. In the article, Lewis-Fernandez suggests starting with a yard sale.

The best place to practice negotiating skills is at a yard sale where the stakes are low, says Lewis-Fernandez. “It’s a great place for training,” she says. “Nobody expects to get what they ask for things; they expect negotiation. Drill your skills by turning a purchase into a game.”

Those new to negotiating should expect to have a mistakes. Here are a few common ones.

You lack confidence. You don’t have to have to be born with a bold personality. The secret is to be tenacious and prepared.

Before you begin any negotiation Lewis-Fernandez says, “Make sure you’ve identified mutually desirable terms, anticipated possible objections, and determined what motivators or ‘hot buttons’ will resonate with your opponent. Projecting confidence also means having a heart, which is often endearing and gives the opposition a less defensive stance.”

You assume that something is non-negotiable. Once you have a negotiator mindset everything is negotiable.

Lewis-Fernandez says, “When you decide that the terms for anything can be changed in your favor, a world of opportunity presents. Rules can be modified if you simply propose an ethical, viable, and mutually beneficial alternative  solutionPowerful negotiators are rule breakers.”

You just don’t ask. Don’t let the fear of rejection or of seeming greedy stop you from asking for what you want.

Know that it isn’t personal. When it comes to rejection Lewis-Fernandez says, “It’s merely a reflection that you did not present a viable argument substantiating why you should get what you want. Your offer was rejected, not you.” She adds that, “People say no an average of three times before they say yes,”

In the Fast Company article, Lewis-Fernandez also cautions against talking too much.  The secret hear is to get comfortable with silence. “When discussing a deal, if you simply stop talking and get comfortable with the awkwardness of silence, your ability to win your argument, sell the product, or a get concession in the negotiation increases significantly.”

To read the complete article visit Fast Company.

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