Negotiating isn’t a fight, but be ready.

Recently a one of my favourite people was talking about me (which is always a bit interesting), specifically she mention the biggest thing I taught her about negotiating, she said – until I worked with Sam, I always thought to be a good negotiator you had a be a bit of an a**hole, that you had to be aggressive to get what you want.

This statement made me smile. Don’t get me wrong, I can be a bulldog in a negotiation, when it’s necessary, but why would you want to behave like a jerk to get what you want? It’s just a conversation to find out what’s most important to each of you and talk through where there is cross-over.

Here are 3 tips to help ‘keep your head’ in negotiations:

·      KNOW WHAT YOU WANT – Be prepared, know points that there isn’t an issue, where you are willing to be flexible, and what your deal-breakers are – this is where you want to focus your energy. (Also, consider where they will probably have the same.)

·      IT’S NOT A BLOODY FIGHT – Get your head in the game, a negotiation is simply a conversation, not an argument. Emotions are inevitable when it’s important, so prepare for that and don’t enter into it with a negative mindset. Have a list of questions ready, to help you stay focussed and create time for you to breath. If things get a bit heated, take a break.

·      BE CLEAR, THEN BE QUIET – When you get to talking about your deal-breakers, listen to their position, talk it through to try and understand the core difference of opinion, then – state your position, outline why you feel it is reasonable, then ask the other person if they agree? And BE QUIET, give them to time to think – usually if it is reasonable they will agree with you.

Here’s an example to bring this to life – recently one of my websites went down – normally not the biggest deal. However, it was in the middle of a promotion, so it was a big issue that a white screen was appearing in place of the webpage that readers required. I didn’t know I was entering a negotiation with the web provider, but nonetheless, I did the following:

·      I prepared by taking a few minutes to investigate if I had missed something and I recalled a conversation with them a couple of months ago about how I had received a notification about this site, something was expiring, but when I rang they said they thought I had been spammed so not to worry about it. So, I thought that MIGHT have something to do with it.

·      Adjusted my mindset – yes, this was a bit of a big deal, but I had to get a solution, more than I needed to blame someone. After 30 minutes of investigation, the consultant informed me he could get everything fixed, however I would have to pay the Disaster Recovery team’s fees…..ah, I’m not sure that’s fair….

·      So, I tried to be very clear, I calmly explained that I had rung and discussed this with the company some months earlier and was told ‘not to worry’, which I had done. But as it turns out the current issue is related to that conversation, I think it’s unreasonable for the organisation to expect me to pay for a service that is only required because of an error on their part. I asked him ‘Don’t you agree?’ and I was silent.

·      I’m pleased to say he did some further investigation, spoke to his boss and they agreed. More importantly, he got the problem solved, AND we had a really positive interaction, I was extremely thankful for what he did (and gave him a glowing NPS review).

No need to have a fight or be an a**hole to get what you want – I hope you find this helpful!

#BeBoldForChange Ask This Simple Question

Today, of all days, is the day to be empowered by the men and women around you that know the power of being valued for what you do.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is Be Bold For Change, so keep it simple – use it as a reason to start a conversation that might highlight how you are valued.

Just throw it out there with your manager – ask this simple question: “The statistics show that men earn 17% more than women, is that the case in our team?”

I did this with a manager once and their face said it all, I had always had my suspicions, but until that moment I didn’t know. Initially I was buoyed by the knowledge that I was right, then within seconds I was frustrated that my effort was valued lower than my direct (male) counterpart, who did exactly the same job as me!!

But thanks to this one question it was out there. My manager and I knew the problem to solve to ensure my job satisfaction kept me focussed on delivering for the business, it couldn’t be ignored. We agreed to solve it together. It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.

As a known challenge, you have a reason to raise it again and again and it really is a test of your manager and your company’s dedication to staff being the heart of the business – and your value in it.

One little question can make a difference today. #beboldforchange