Whenever I deliver our Master Negotiator Workshop I always ask the delegates to tell me when they have found negotiating particularly tricky. Invariably some of the most taxing examples have occurred during internal negotiations.
Whether you’re asking for a payrise, a deadline extension or extra resources for your project – negotiating with your colleagues can be far more difficult than negotiating with suppliers and customers because of the relationships and emotions involved.
So how do you make sure you have a level playing field when you negotiate with your manager? Based on years of experience from my training and commercial background, here are my 4 secrets to help you become a true commercial athlete in negotiation.
1. Balance The Playing Field
The biggest danger when negotiating internally is coming to the negotiating table on the back foot because you are focusing too much on the existing relationship. You need to avoid adopting a parent/child relationship and instead keep the negotiations on a balanced playing field. Your knowledge of the other person can help you with this, so use it to your own advantage. As you already work together, you should be able to read their body language and get a clearer understanding of what makes them tick. Use your emotional intelligence to negotiate effectively.
2. Plan Ahead
Remember, as I regularly tell my clients, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail! Preparation is just as important in internal negotiations as it is when you’re negotiating a large contract with a customer. Make sure you write down the list of the things you think both people want to achieve and take the time to think of their potential challenges. If possible practise delivering out loud – it will help you keep your emotions in check and allow you to hone your delivery style.
3. Be Ambitious
Mastering your ambition is essential to success in all negotiations. You need to be consciously ambitious in your preparation at the start, during your conversation and at the end. You always need to start the negotiations ahead of your ideal to give yourself a proper chance of securing the best outcome. For example if you definitely need an extra two people to deliver a project on time, start by asking for three – this way you are far more likely to walk away with the two additional resources you require.
4. Be Resilient
Don’t get phased by the no’s during internal negotiations – to be a masterful negotiator you have to be resilient. This is also where your preparation comes in, as it should help you to stay confident and allow you to bring different variables to the table. The more confident you are, the more ambitious you will become and this will ultimately help you deliver better results.
Finally, remember that these top tips are just as relevant when you negotiate externally. So whenever you next enter into negotiations, bear in mind, Maureen Dowd’s wise words, “The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settle for.”
If you want help honing your negotiation skills, then join us on our Master Negotiator Open Workshop in London on Friday 6th May 2016. To find out more about this highly popular one-day workshop or to book your place, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.