Negotiations can be fraught with emotion. After all, both parties want to get what they want out of the deal while still walking away with a good relationship intact. Believe it or not, that kind of outcome is possible. So, how exactly do you drive a hard bargain while also remaining polite and well-mannered? How do you advocate for what you want without offending the other party? The answer is simply to negotiate with confidence while also remaining a nice person. Most people think that negotiation only involves hardball tactics and heated debate. However, there are plenty of ways to negotiate with respect. Here are a few tips for staying professional and well-mannered while negotiating to get what you want.
Establish a Rapport
You never want to walk into a negotiation and immediately start talking business. Instead, you want to spend a little time making small talk before the negotiation begins in order to build a relationship with the other party. It can be personal such as talking about sports or a favorite hobby you might have in common. It can also be professional, discussing your experience at the company and asking about theirs. Ultimately, people who engage in small talk before a negotiation are more likely to reach an agreement.
Be Firm but Respectful
It’s perfectly acceptable to be firm when speaking about your subject and you can do without coming across as rude. Demonstrate your knowledge on the topic and speak with confidence, without belittling or insulting the other party’s position. Keep your argument focused solely on you and back up your argument with facts and logic. This will help you to come across as an expert in your field rather than rude and arrogant.
Ask Questions and Listen
Great negotiators understand that listening is even more powerful than speaking. They ask careful questions that allow them to better understand the other side’s interests. They avoid rhetoric and only ask questions that serve a purpose. They also wait for the answers and listen attentively with genuine interest rather than arguing their own perspective.
Keep Emotion to a Minimum
It’s easy for things to get heated during a negotiation when two parties do not agree. However, you should never allow your frustration to get the best of you. Take a deep breath and remember that remaining calm, collected, and professional is your best bet to reach an agreement. No one wants to work with someone who is pushing them too hard to agree or who is showing outward signs of frustration. While showing some emotion is only natural and shows that you are human, be cautious about getting overly emotional and even call for a short break to collect your thoughts and diffuse the situation if needed. No matter how difficult the situation becomes, you should always remain calm and courteous.
Avoid Criticizing, Correcting, or Interrupting
You never want to make threats, criticize others’ opinions, or interrupt the other party when they are speaking. All of these behaviors come across as rude, selfing, and unprofessional. It can be unpleasant to be on the receiving end of these behaviors so it’s important to remember your manners and listen carefully, show empathy, and consider where the other person is coming from before jumping to conclusions.