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Negotiating Principles from the Public Speaking Perspective Part 1 of 2

Negotiations are required in many aspects of our life. It could be a situation where we are negotiating for a business contract, convincing our fiance to marry us or requesting for a particular birthday present from our parents. Public speaking and negotiation skills are closely interrelated. One skill builds onto the other.

By definition, negotiation means discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. Note the word agreement. Good negotiation will lead to agreement by both parties without any sense of losing to win.

There are four critical factors that need to be observed during the negotiation process. Much has been written about it perhaps, but these four things need more clarity so that it is easier to remember and put into practice. The four things we need to know and do are the keys to our success or failure in the negotiations. They are:

The Right Mindset

Remember that the person whom you are negotiating a deal with is not your enemy neither are they your opponents. Yes, you want something from them, no doubt. However, if you look upon them as your enemy or opponent, you will most likely go for a win-lose approach trying to win as much as you can at the expense of the other party. Trying to “get” something from them will also lead you nowhere.

Look upon them as your counterpart. Remember, they too, want something out of this negotiation encounter. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have wasted their time meeting you. When you look upon them as your counterpart, you will most likely gun for a win-win arrangement.

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Do Your Homework

Your success or failure in the negotiations depends on how well you prepare. Preparation before the negotiation meeting is important. Knowing who you will be facing will make you better prepared to negotiate. In public speaking, it is no different. You need to prepare, rehearse & visualise your presentation in advance. This is why I mentioned earlier that public speaking skills and negotiations are closely interrelated. One skill builds onto the other.

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Find out in advance the character, likes, ambitions, core values and dislikes of your counterpart. Prepare data and analysis in advance to support your case. While negotiating, try not to force your opinion down the throats of others. If you give them what they want, they will (hopefully) give you what you want. In order not to appear too forceful, ask them for win-win alternatives. Who knows, they may have a better solution which you never thought of. Accept the fact that you too, may have blind spots. Their demanding nature could actually be doing you a favour.

Make a preliminary introduction to your counterpart, understand the target they wish to accomplish, and alternative strategies you have to offer. Remember the rule that everything is negotiable. There is nothing that cannot be negotiated. If the negotiations end in a deadlock, it simply means that both parties were not creative or sincere enough. Sometimes, things don’t work out for the greater good of all.

A win-win solution should be the end result of any negotiation process. This is the mindset we need to remember always.

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In Part 2 next week, we will explore the other two critical factors to win at negotiations. Stay tuned until next week and I wish you well in all your negotiations.