Negotiating can be a daunting prospect, especially when the stakes are high and of personal importance.
Well honed negotiation skills, however, won't only help you get what you want more of the time, but will also pave the way for greater fulfilment in your career.
At the heart of successful negotiation is creating a win-win situation: An outcome where you achieve your desired outcome, and the other party also feels like they did well. Even more important than what the person on the other side of the table really gets, is what they think they get.
Get what you want more of the time
Confusing? Not really. Imagine for a moment you are negotiating for a salary of £100,000. By carefully determining the other party's exact needs and illustrating how the solutions you offer are worth at least £130,000 to the organisation, they will feel like they got a good deal even if they were to agree on a salary of £115,000.
How do you determine their needs? By asking questions that will give you an understanding of what is motivating the other person - be it reporting flawless data or looking good to the board. Until you have a clear understanding of what the other party's problems are, you cannot propose yourself as the solution.
Think carefully about what you say
There is no point during an interview, for example, to focus on your extensive management experience of senior clients if that will not form an integral part of your new role.
Instead of focussing on what you want to tell a prospective employer or client, listen to what they need, then tailor your response to address what they want to know. By doing this you increase your perceived value and with that your chances of getting what you want.
In the words of the great Dale Carnegie, the American corporate training guru and author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, "The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it."
By doing that, you greatly increase the strength of your negotiation hand.