Negotiation is an essential part of professional life. Whether you’re working out the details of an important contract, negotiating a raise, or even determining how a new project will be executed, the ability to sway others to your side and get the best deal possible is a valuable skill. However, negotiation isn’t just about getting what you want; a strong negotiator is also able to maintain their professional relationships by making sure the other person feels respected and walks away thinking they also got a good deal.
How can you use effective communication to make sure you walk away satisfied while maintaining your professional relationships?
Watch Your Tone
Your tone of voice can significantly impact the impression you make. One particularly damaging tonal pattern is “upspeak”, the habit of continually raising your tone at the end of a sentence as though you were asking a question. Upspeak can make you seam inexperienced and unsure of yourself and your position. Pay attention to your typical tonal patterns to make sure you come across as professional and authoritative.
Use Concrete Language and Examples
Back up your position with concrete examples. Come to the conversation prepared with numbers and specific examples that objectively demonstrate why your position is justified.
Being nervous often makes people speak more quickly than they normally would. Rushing your words not only betrays the fact that you are nervous, it makes it much more difficult for the other person to understand your speech. Take your time, and pause in between important thoughts.
Use Collaborative Language
Using “we” rather than “I” helps keep the tone positive and collaborative rather than demanding. Phrases like, “Help me understand…” or “What could we do…” can also be great for setting a cooperative tone.
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