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Come out on top during negotiations

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Negotiations are tough enough without negotiating from weakness. Use the following tips to overcome your weaknesses and negotiate powerfully:

  • Emphasize the relationship. If someone’s demand is too hard to meet, look for a possible compromise that emphasizes your desire to preserve the relationship for the long haul. For example, if a supplier’s quote is high, consider saying: “I’d like to work with you for a long time to come. Of course, this has to work for both of us so I wonder if you could come down 10% for a guaranteed two-year contract? Then I can stay within my budget.”
  • Emphasize mutual interests. Suppose you’re told to cut your budget 10% across the board. You know it is going to hurt, but it’s a downsizing initiative and every manager is getting the same directive and will have the same complaint. Thus, your negotiation position is very weak, but not hopeless.

Consider your boss’s goals and motives as carefully as possible. If you can present a compelling case as to how you can meet his or her goals and needs provided you retain the same, or nearly the same, staffing and expense levels, you may be able to trim the cut to something you find more digestible.

— Adapted from Harvard Management Update, www.hbsp.harvard.edu.

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