Ken's Weekly Blog Entry
Posted: November 30, 1999, 12:00am by Ken Canion Print Email
The Art of Negotiation is Really Just an Attempt to Agree

When most people hear about having to attempt a negotiation, it can cause a bit of anxiety. When having to face someone who is rumored to have mastered the art of negotiation, it can be downright terrifying! Negotiation itself really isn't that threatening at all. Negotiation is simply a discussion intended to produce an agreement. Any "art" involved is simply when a person knows how to have a productive and effective discussion with another person having a goal in mind.

If you take a moment to think about it, you probably have some kind of experience with negotiation almost every day. Sometimes you have to make a l arge purchase like a car or home and you don't walk in expecting to pay the asking price. Many times negotiation is just an expected part of the purchasing process. The key to any negotiation is finding the advantage that will provide both parties with a satisfactory end result.

Anyone can "master" the art of negotiation. It takes some knowledge, thought and patience. The most powerful way to successfully negotiate almost anything is to find a way to create a situation where both parties get something beneficial as a result of the negotiations. It is almost impossible to successfully negotiated anything when only party seeks to benefit. When negotiating, try to make sure both parties get what they want or as close to what they want as possible.

It is essential to have excellent listening skills while negotiating. You may enter into a negotiation without knowing exactly what the other party wants. You need to ask the right questions and listen to their answers. You may realize before they do what they want as a result of negotiations before they do! Learn as much as you can about the other party through conversation and make an effort to meet their needs.

Be creative when negotiating. You will be able to learn a lot by leading the conversation in different directions. The more you know about the other party, the better you should be able to figure out what will make negotiations successful.

If you aren't a patient person, you need to learn how to be before you can learn the art of negotiation. Most negotiations don't happen in a few minutes, hours or even days. They take time and should never be forced or pushed. Patience is a virtue many others value. Your patience today can lead to many new partnerships and lasting relationships.

Whenever possible, learn all you can about the person or party you are negotiating with before negotiations even begin. You can have the advantage of knowing what they need in advance, any concerns they might enter into negotiations with and what you can go prepared to offer during negotiations.

During negotiations, the way you come across can play a huge role in how the other party reacts to you. Confidence is crucial to having successful results in any negation. Be careful not to cross the line between confident and conceit. Confidence is well-received and respected while conceit is completely rejected.

Don't expect every negotiation to end successfully. It isn't always possible to arrive at an agreement that is beneficial to both parties. Know that there is the possibility of a negotiation not working out when you enter into one, but go knowing that you are confident and have the drive to make it a successful one.

The art of negotiation is simply good communication. Entering into negotiations with the right attitude, tools and skills are what can give you an edge. Prepare for your negotiations, understand that they are not always going to end with the result you want and always negotiated with the desire to make them successful.