Regardless of what industry you work in, there are always negotiations that take place on a daily basis. It may be simple things like negotiating where to hold the next team meeting or it could be much more important like working out the details of a big contract. Whatever the situation, business professionals need to be skilled negotiators and good communication skills are the key to negotiation success. If you want to become a powerful negotiator, consider these communication exercises to enhance your negotiation skills.
We have been conditioned to believe that the price printed on the tag is the final price for the product. However, this isn’t always the case. While some items, such as groceries and clothing, might not be negotiable, many other items and services are. These include things like furniture, cars, home appliances, closeout items, and pretty much all services. When you find a product or service that you would like to purchase, try negotiating for a better price. It’s important to remember that you will feel like you have won by getting the lower price while the seller will feel like they have won your business. This is a great example of how to communicate effectively towards a win-win solution. This exercise will also build your confidence for your next business negotiation.
Listen and Draw
One of the most important components of communication is the ability to listen. This next exercise works to improve your listening skills, as it requires the participants’ full attention. You will gather in a small group and hand out a piece of paper and a pen to each participant. Then, the leader will give verbal instructions to draw an object, one step at a time. As the exercise continues, it will get progressively harder so participants must listen carefully. At the conclusion of the exercise, everyone will compare their drawings to see how accurate they turned out. This is a great exercise to emphasize the importance of active listening during a negotiation in order to avoid misunderstandings.
There is nothing better for developing your negotiation skills than role-playing with a friend or colleague. Role-playing allows you to practice real-life negotiation skills in a safe and comfortable setting. It gives you the opportunity to rehearse what it feels like to have a little pressure on the table. Your partner can also provide important feedback so you can identify your strengths and weaknesses.
The Power of “No!”
For a novice negotiator, their biggest fear is hearing the word “no.” When we hear that word, we might feel like we have lost the negotiation and doubt our abilities. However, “no” is not always the final answer. It simply means it’s time to readjust your tactics and take a different approach. Practice negotiating a scenario where you hear the word “no” and look for new ways to provide solutions. The more you practice this exercise, the more accustomed you will become to hearing “no” and you will know exactly how to adjust.
Learn to Adapt
Negotiations don’t always go as planned so practice for the inevitable with an adaptation exercise. Choose a friend or colleague and practice a negotiation scenario in which you have to adapt and make some changes. Could you offer a concession in return for something else? Rehearse how you will communicate these changes effectively to your counterpart. This will prepare you for those negotiations that might involve unexpected issues.