by Amy Levin-Epstein: As far as career skills go, negotiating is a useful one for the workplace. From snagging the salary you want, to getting your first pick of project, being able to massage a situation comes in handy. In Getting More: How You Can Negotiate to Succeed in Work and Life, author and negotiation expert Stuart Diamond shares the tips he teaches to his students at The Wharton School and executives at the 200 Fortune 500 companies for which he’s consulted. His research on negotiation spans 20 years of research, was conducted in 45 countries and used data from 30,000 people. Here are four of his tips for never-fail negotiating:
Don’t think about “winning.”
Negotiation is not a competition, it’s a collaboration. Instead of winning, you should focus on meeting your goals. “If you think of it as ‘winning,’ you will think about beating them. And if you do that, you will not collaborate as much,” says Diamond. Define your goals and ask yourself if your actions are helping you meet them.
Ask what you can do for them.
Negotiation is a give and take, and asking how you can help the other person can go a long way. “In order to get your needs met, they have to feel, first, that you are willing to meet their needs. For instance, when interviewing for a job or asking for a raise or promotion, ask the company official what needs they want met,” says Diamond. Then, discuss how you might meet their needs — and vice versa.
Uncover any misconceptions.
Diamond says people often have a closer viewpoint than they think, and an angry approach can prevent you both from seeing how close you really are. Instead of expressing your distaste for their viewpoint, ask them to clarify it. “Anytime you have a conflict with someone, ask what the parties are perceiving, whether there is a mismatch and, if so, why. Also, knowing their perceptions gives you a better starting point for persuasion, because you understand the pictures in their heads,” says Diamond.
Never threaten or walk out.
Ultimatums and walk-outs make agreements a near impossibility, says Diamond. His favorite example is the NBA lockout of the past year. “The National Basketball Association wasted $800 million in a shortened season when the parties refused to deal with each other in a constructive negotiation setting, wasting precious time that could have been used to get a deal.” Keep your emotions in check or you’ll be checking out of your negotiation.
Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MWOnTheJob.