Your SOP mindset is crucial
You negotiate every day. Sometimes it’s big stuff. The contract for a new client. The compensation package for your new job. Smaller, daily negotiations also exert a substantial cumulative impact. How you feel before and throughout the negotiation process effects more than the outcome. The emotions elicited by anything you do daily are key factors in how you experience the world.
The following three tips are especially helpful for approaching negotiations. But these mindsets are useful in many other aspects your personal and professional life.
1: You are the only thing you can control
Most of the negotiation process is beyond your control. As in life, you cannot control the behavior of other people. In every human interaction, the only thing over which you have absolute control is your reaction. Considering situations prior to engagement will give you an edge. If you’re aware of the possibilities, you can anticipate your emotions and prepare reactions that truly serve you. If everyone does this, the whole process is optimized: more efficient and effective.
Sometimes, you won't see it coming. In these situations, having a clear and current understanding of your vision and values system can help ensure that your on-the-fly decisions best serve you.
2: Leverage EQ and basic marketing to identify the real win-wins
Negotiations are human interactions. So yes, we’re back on the topic of emotional intelligence (EQ). Self-awareness and empathy will help you to go beyond the stated objectives to figure out what both you and the counterparty are really trying to achieve.
Look at a negotiation like a marketer. The features of the outcome are its stated terms. But what you and the counterparty really care about are the benefits that those features provide.
For example, you negotiate the terms of your compensation—features. Your employer is motivated to provide your desired standard of living—your benefit—so that you’re able to focus on your work and consistently deliver quality results—your employer’s benefit.
When you enter negotiations, think beyond the financials, explicit terms or logistics. Are they trying to build a stronger economy of scale? A more efficient supply chain? Will a stable long-term relationship enable your organization to expand? New R&D initiatives? What are the actual benefits, the real wins, that each participant is after?
3: Strong negotiators apply influence, not force
Given point 1, skilled negotiators understand that force is ineffective. Using point 2, identify win-win scenarios that align everyone's objectives, or desired benefits. Assert influence by cultivating legitimate motivation for counterparty buy-in.
Not to be reductive, but Aesop has fable for this point. Remember the one about the bet between the Sun and the Wind? They each tried to get a man to take his coat off as he walked down the street. But the harder the Wind blew, the tighter the man held his coat. The Sun won the bet by shining intensely. The air warmed, and the day became hot. The man removed his coat.
Learn how to negotiate like a boss
Ready to learn more about the art and science of negotiation? Read more about negotiation and other aspects of STEM-while-womaning in the WEST blog. But you can also take the learning live. Join us at the next WESTevent, a workshop on the art and science of negotiation. Treena Diebolt, Senior Director of Global Talent Acquisition at bluebird bio, will present practical approaches and techniques for negotiating like the boss you are. At the workshop, you’ll learn how to:
- Effectively prepare for negotiation discussions
- Build a strategy and leverage win-win solutions
- Navigate the landscape of emotions
- Close the deal