Negotiating skills training will often give you lots of ideas and tips and strategies for how to negotiate. You will learn how to plan a negotiation and assess the person or team you are negotiating with. There will be options on how to move a negotiation on when it gets bogged down.
But one of the biggest pieces of negotiating is confidence. That is, having the confidence to negotiate at all.
Research data tells us that woman feel far less comfortable negotiating their own salary compared to men. Maybe that’s because women tend to prefer to work collaboratively, whereas men have that ‘let’s go on a hunt’ mentality.
But when negotiating contracts with suppliers, or terms with clients, we have found both men and women can struggle with the very idea of negotiating. Yes they like ideas and strategies, but could they actually say the words?
One way to develop confidece is in the choice of words used. Making things less potentially confrontational and more collaborative helps develop confidence when asking for something in a negoatiation. Simple changes like taking ‘I want…’ and making it ‘Can we look at…’ can make a big difference to confidence.
Strategies like summarising all the positives first, can also really help with confidence. So we’d say, ‘Let’s start by summarising all the things we agree on.’
Asking questions rather than making statements can also help with confidence in negotiating. So ‘I need…’ becomes, ‘Can we discuss…’.
Building rapport can also help. Taking time at the start to get to know the other people can help.
Understanding the context of the other person can also help, because this becomes a discussion rather than a confrontation. So we could say, ‘Before we get into the negoation in detail, it would be great to understand more about your role and your recent projects, then perhaps I could do the same.’
Working on confidence can be as crucial as planing your negotiating strategy.