Be A Master Negotiator

By Mel Sim

Five tips on how to get what you want.

Everything in life involves some form of negotiation. Asking your friends to try out a new place instead of the regular one you always go to. Buying a car at a price you’d rather pay. Asking for a raise. Asking for a change in your position. Asking for a new job!

Which is why when they call it the art of negotiating, you better believe it because if you’re good at it, it can take you places.

So how do you become a master negotiator without looking too desperate? Here are some tips we found that we think will work just fine.

#1 Give more than the other party can
When you have more to give instead of to receive, you put yourself in a valuable position where you need less but people need more from you. So think of what you can offer when you are negotiating. If it is a raise you’re after, list down all the valuable things you can bring to the table if being promoted so your boss can see the true value in giving you better opportunities. This puts you in a more powerful position where the company would be at the losing end if you’re not promoted but has more to gain if you do get the senior executive role.

#2 Think of the win-win
A negotiation is successful when both parties feel like they got a good deal. So to make it successful, think of what it is that you want out of the negotiation and what you can also offer the other party to keep them happy. Buying a car? You obviously want to pay lower than what is offered but the salesperson doesn’t want to lose out on commission. So instead, maybe negotiate for other extras like freebies or longer free servicing years (which all translates to savings) so you both walk out of the deal happy.

#3 Don’t take it personally
It’s personal because it affects you, right? But what we mean by not taking things personally is to leave all emotions at the door when entering a negotiation. Business is business, and work is work. It’s important that you understand trying to negotiate with emotions will make you look desperate and often crumble because you are not able to see through it objectively. Imagine telling your boss the reason why you want a pay raise is because you feel poor compared to your peers. That’s not going to get you what you want! But if you tell your boss why you deserve a pay raise is because your work has shown for it, then you have something tangible (and objective) to justify for what you are negotiating for.

#4 Be assertive
Nobody gets what they want if they don’t show that they really want it. It is critical when negotiating that you have at target in mind, how much you are willing to deviate from it and when to walk away. Take control of the discussion; you don’t want your colleague to turn things around when you are trying to negotiate who gets to do what for a project and you end up with more on your plate! Don’t accept the first thing given to you if you are not happy with it. Be assertive in what you want and ask for it.

#5 Aim high
Think it’s silly to ask for X amount for your raise? Think again! Don’t be afraid to start high (or low depending on what you are negotiating for). Who knows, you might be convincing enough to get it and if you don’t, at least you have more leeway to go low from a high position instead of having to start from low.

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