What are the 5 Key Practices for Negotiation Success?

What are the 5 Key Practices for Negotiation Success?

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Negotiation skills are leadership skills.

Conscious leadership and value-creating negotiation both require self-awareness, learning agility, communication and influence.

I share my definition of negotiation and five key practices for negotiation success.


Full Episode Transcript:

Hello! Welcome to the eighth episode of Born to Thrive with Jamie Lee. I am your host, Jamie Lee. I work as a negotiation and leadership coach for ambitious women. I believe that we are all born to thrive.

I looked up the definition of the word thrive in the dictionary, and it said it means to grow with vigor. I looked up the word vigor, and vigor means vitality, life force, energy.

The word thrive kind of makes you think of something really happy and joyful, but for some reason I keep confusing the word vigor with rigor. It might be because English is my second language, I don’t know, but I got curious and I looked up rigor, too.

Rigor is harshness. Something difficult. Constraints. It kind of makes sense to me that to thrive requires both vigor and rigor. Yes, you need life force. Yes, you need energy. But you also need to overcome something difficult. You need rigor in order to truly thrive. 

I say that because negotiation is difficult for a lot of people. We’d rather not do it. We’d rather avoid it. We’d rather resist it. Or we’d rather approach it with this attitude of defensiveness, anger, righteousness. We put up a fight.

I don’t think this is really constructive. I also don’t think that negotiation is a fight. Negotiation is not about manipulation, confrontation. It’s simply a conversation. A conversation where everyone has the right to say no. A conversation where we try to come to an agreement. That is it. That is my definition of negotiation. That means we negotiate all the time, for little things, big things.

Who’s gonna do the dishes? What are we gonna do for dinner? How are we going to resolve peace, how are we going to come to peace in the Korean peninsula? These are all negotiations, and we have been engaging in these conversations ever since we were able to say the word “No,” ever since we were able to express our desire for autonomy, for self-expression, when we were either one and a half or two years old or for some people three years old.

So, whatever your age is, subtract two from it and that’s how long you have been practicing, that’s how long you have been negotiating for what you want. 

I believe that negotiation is a leadership skill, and so every time I teach negotiation, I start with, “What kind of leader do you want to be?” Next Monday, I have the great privilege of leading a hands-on, interactive negotiation workshop for Smith alums in Philadelphia, and for that workshop, I prepared a one-sheet with five key practices for negotiation success, and I thought, “You know, why not share it with my podcast audience?”

So, a quick preamble here. There’s a wonderful book called The Fifteen Commitments of Conscious Leadership, and it says there are four core competencies of conscious leadership, and I find that these four core competencies are also the core competencies of value-creating, problem-solving negotiation. I learned this from Lisa Gates at She Negotiates, my business mentor, and I think it’s phenomenal, because it really teaches you what you need to bring in order to have problem-solving, value-creating, negotiation conversations. 

So the four competencies are: 

Number one: Self-awareness. Are you aware of your skills, your strengths, your qualities, your tendencies, your conflict style, your communication style? The more you know, the better you will handle, the better you will manage yourself in and throughout the negotiation process.

Number two: Learning agility. The goal of negotiation is to 1) gather information, and 2) influence the behavior of others. So, throughout the conversation, you want to be learning and learning in different ways. So, improving your learning agility will really help you negotiate with success.

Number three: Communication. Negotiation is simply a communication discipline. It’s a communication with a goal, right? So, how do you communicate? You listen. You express yourself. You reflect on what you’ve heard and you try to express your desires so that it is receptive to the listener. Much earlier in this podcast series, I think it was Episode 3, when I talked about the traps of perfectionism, I talked about how there are four elements within communication: What you want to say, how you say it, what people hear, and what they make it mean. So, that’s communication.

Number four: Influence. You want to influence the other’s behavior in a negotiation, right? You want them to say yes* (In the podcast, I say "no," but I mean "yes." Mea Culpa.) or you want them to change their minds if they’re saying no. The thing about influence is it’s not about telling people what to do and in negotiation it’s not always a debate where you want to prove yourself right and prove the other person wrong. Real influence doesn’t work like that, because real influence is when you have an indirect impact on the other person’s perception, decision making process, and in which they feel that they have come to the decision on their own. So, it’s not about telling people what to do. That’s not negotiation, that’s making demands. It’s not about proving the other side wrong. That’s debate, right? It’s really about influencing. In order to influence, you really need to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the other, see their perspective, and of course that requires empathy.

So, I will wrap this up with, as I mentioned earlier, the five key practices of negotiation success, and what I would like to do in the subsequent episodes is go a little bit deeper into each of the key practices. 

So, number one: the first key practice of negotiation success is to articulate your value so that they see the value of you as a benefit to them. 

Number two: build your alliance. Lisa Gates calls it building your influence posse. I love that. Reaching out to your network. Identifying who are champions who can advocate for you, allies who will go to bat for you, and influencers who will create inroads with the key decision-maker in this negotiation. 

Number three: dig and listen deeply. I know there are a lot of combative negotiators who feel like the point of negotiation is simply to get more than the other side, and it’s all about me, just let me make my point, and I am right. No. Real negotiation happens when you listen and dig deeper into the hidden interests of the other side. 

Number four: anchor first and anchor high. Really good, masterful negotiators understand the magic of telling people what you want and dropping that anchor. It’s a cognitive bias that can work towards your favor.

Number five: get genuine buy-in. That’s what I was talking about earlier when I explained influence. It’s not about telling people what to do, that’s making demands. It’s not about proving other people wrong, that’s debating. Negotiation and true influence is when the other side come to see your point of view, and the other side come to decide for themselves to go along with your proposal. So that’s real, genuine buy-in. It’s how you really get through to people and connect.

I’m really excited about going deeper into these key practices with you in the subsequent episodes, and I hope that you have a wonderful day where you thrive. Talk to you soon!

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