How to Be Clear on What You Want

Negotiations will cease to have any meaningful result if the parties involved fail to communicate effectively. Many people get nervous or tongue-tied during a negotiation and they fail to get what they want. The problem is miscommunication. Oftentimes, what we say is misheard or misinterpreted in a way we didn’t intend. This can lead to unsuccessful negotiations and prevent you from achieving your desired results. If you want to get the most out of your next negotiation, you must be clear on exactly what you want. Here are a few tips for asking for- and getting- exactly what you want during a negotiation. 


Prepare with Research

You can’t enter into a negotiation with unrealistic expectations. You need to do some research beforehand so your requests have validation. For example, you wouldn’t just call up your cable provider and demand a lower price. You would, however, do some research to find out what other customers are paying with different companies. If they have similar contracts and services but a lower price, you now have a leg to stand on when you call to negotiate your bill. Knowledge is power so the more research you do in advance the more power you have at the bargaining table. 


State Your Goals Clearly 

Any time you are negotiating with someone, you must be crystal clear about what it is you want. For instance, if you’re trying to negotiate a higher salary, you can’t just walk into your boss’s office and say, “I’d like a raise.” This could mean $1500 or $15,000. If you don’t clarify your goal, your counterpart has no idea what you are aiming for and what number is your bottom line. It’s your job to have clearly defined goals in mind prior to negotiating so you are prepared to state them during the discussion. In the example above, if your goal is to increase your salary from $100,000 to $115,000 you need to be clear on your expectations. 


Offer Clarification

When you ask for something during a negotiation, you need to make sure your counterpart clearly understands what it is you want. Even if you think you were very clear and concise, your counterpart might not feel the same way. Therefore, you need to ask them if they understand your request and if they need you to clarify any points. You might even encourage them to repeat back to you what you want so you can be sure everyone is on the same page. Be sure and offer this same courtesy to them when they are negotiating. 


Follow Up

It’s possible for two parties to walk away from the same negotiation with a completely different view of what was discussed. For this reason, you always want to follow up and reiterate your goals. You never want to assume that the other person fully understands. Misunderstandings and miscommunication happen all the time and you can ensure everyone is on the same page by following up after a negotiation.