Negotiation is a word that brings up fear, trembling and trepidation for a large percentage of people.  In fact, Salary.com did a survey of 2,000 people and found that 39% said that they always hesitate in negotiation, another 39% said they sometimes felt that way and only 13% said they never get nervous regarding negotiation.

That survey would suggest a large percentage of people are hesitant to negotiate.  Why?  Negotiation is seen as confrontational by many and it’s primarily because we are challenging someone or pushing back on what we have been offered or presented.  Many people find negotiation as a big boardroom of people heavily haggling over a multi-million dollar deal vs the day to day agreements we negotiate on a regular basis.

While negotiation may sound, look and feel confrontational to many people, when drilling down to the basics negotiation is simply making agreements.  Whether it is that multi-million dollar deal, how to get your kids to do their homework or a job interview, the strategies used in negotiation can be applied across the board to any situation in personal or professional life.

The following strategies are foundational for any negotiation.

Preparing for the negotiation in advance

Taking the time to prepare is essential to a successful outcome.  The time to prepare for the negotiation is not when you are face to face having the discussion.  You want to walk into the meeting prepared.  If it’s a job interview, do some research on the company and the job.  Find out something about the culture and highlight how you will fit in. If it’s a joint venture or contract discussion; do some research on the other participants and the marketplace to have some advance knowledge about the deal you are discussing.  Be armed with facts and how you will solve the problem or what solution your provide.

Determine reasonability of the proposal

This is part of the preparation process and also part of the discussion during the negotiation.  Is this or is this not fair and reasonable to me?  If it is not fair and reasonable, you need to determine what must occur to make it fair and reasonable and plan that into your negotiation.  Fair implies a proper balance of conflicting interests.  Reasonable means not extreme or excessive.  A fair and reasonable price or term and condition is one that is balanced and somewhat moderate.

Ask for exactly what you want

Ambiguity is the deal breaker for a successful negotiation.  If you are unclear in what you want or are clear and don’t ask specifically, the deal may disintegrate.   Oftentimes people hesitate to ask for fear of rejection.  Understanding rejection is never personal will be helpful in giving you the confidence to ask.  We don’t get what we don’t ask for.  When my daughter was a child she would make the announcement that she was hungry.  I would look at her and acknowledge the statement.  She would get upset because she expected me to make her something to eat.  I encouraged her to ask for what she wanted.  Finally she learned to ask and it has served her well today in her adult life.

While negotiation may be a word that brings up fear, trembling and trepidation for some.  These tools will help build confidence and success in the negotiating arena which will drive more successful deals that create a win-win outcome where both sides feel confident about the deal.