(MoneyWatch) Whether you’re trying to negotiate a better salary or simply sway a colleague to your way of thinking, being a skilled negotiator can offer many benefits in your job and career. Some people are naturally able to persuade people to see things in new ways, while others struggle to make their case. Here are five techniques to take out of your repertoire. They simply don’t work. They can hurt your chance at a successful outcome, and even your reputation.
Being combative or defensive from the beginning. Being passionate is good, but being angry is not. “Coming off harsh and aggressive is not a good approach to charm your boss or colleagues, particularly in a business setting when dealing with colleagues who you may know on a personal level,” said David Fagiano, chief operating offer at Dale Carnegie Training. “We advocate to begin any business-related situation in an amicable manner, especially with a negotiation.” If you begin a conversation in a friendly manner, the tone has been set — it’s up to the other person to transition things into a nastier context.
Lying about details big and small. It’s a small world out there, and if you’re talking about something that is public knowledge, the Internet can make it even smaller. “They will find out. Then you’ve not only lost the opportunity in front of you, you’ve put your reputation at risk for the future,” said Erica Ariel Fox, author of “Winning from Within: A Breakthrough Method for Leading, Living, and Lasting Change.”
Dominating the discussion. You’ll be able to articulate your case better if you know what is important to your “opponent,” and you can only do that if you listen to what they’re saying. “If you do not listen, it will come off as a one-way presentation and your audience will feel alienated and attacked. Be sure to listen and make certain it is mutual discussion, not just a one-way proposition,” Fagiano said.
Forgetting to do your research. People won’t be able to see your point unless you make it, and facts and figures will help you show, not just tell, what you mean. “If you are proposing something new to your supervisor and do not have support for why this is important or valuable, your proposed negotiation can turn into a lofty, unwarranted request. Always have background and proof as to why and what the benefits are to your proposition,” Fagiano said.
Pushing someone too hard. If you push someone to commit to something they didn’t really accept, you haven’t really “won” anything. “Agreements like these most often fall apart, because people don’t feel compelled to honor agreements they made in theory but which never reflected a true meeting of the minds,” Fox said. “Since they didn’t agree with the commitment when they made it, they very often don’t fulfill it.”
By Amy Levin-Epstein /
MoneyWatch/ November 12, 2013, 8:30 AM