TIGER Talk Recap: Negotiation Skills – To Give Your Business The Competitive Edge
Negotiation is one of the few business skills we use every day. We use it to “get more” for our business, and to save more on expenses. Most importantly, negotiation is used to strengthen key relationships both in our personal and professional lives.
Kwame Christian Esq., M.A., and founder of the American Negotiation Institute, presented “Negotiation Skills – To Give Your Business the Competitive Edge” at Innovate New Albany’s TIGER Talk luncheon on July 15. TIGER Talks are offered free of charge each month to help business owners grow their businesses in the areas of technology, innovation, growth, entrepreneurship and responsibility.
During his interactive presentation, Kwame helped the attendees define negotiation, articulate differences between negotiation and other business skills, and identify three keys to negotiating.
Negotiation is a conversation between two or more people, where at least one person wants something. Once you think about negotiations as a different type of conversation, you become more aware of them.
He led the group in identifying the following distinctions:
Negotiation vs. sales. They are similar, but require different skills at different points in the process. Sales is generating interest for a product and how much you will get. Negotiation is figuring out what it looks like on the back end, and how much you will keep.
Negotiation vs. argumentation. Argumentation is focused on the present or past, and is about trying to be right. Negotiation focuses on the future, and is not concerned with who is right.
Kwame said there are three keys to negotiation:
- Curiosity. By asking open-ended questions – even the ones you know the answers to – you can see how they respond and lead them through a conversation. You can’t learn if you are always talking. Asking the right questions and listening gives you more information and control, but the other person doesn’t feel like you are in control.
- Creativity. This is how you use the information you obtained from asking open-ended questions. Identify their pain points, think outside the box for options, and trade things of unequal value. Take the time to build relationships by using small talk appropriately.
- Confidence. Kwame said hesitation leads to mistrust. In a negotiation, the first person you need to convince is yourself. Get confidence by practice, familiarizing yourself with what you have to offer and comparing it to others. Then structure better arguments.
Kwame emphasized the importance of being authentic. Don’t try to be someone else. Amplify certain characteristics of yourself during a negotiation, and downplay the other parts.
He invited the attendees to participate in a negotiation simulation, where a lessee had to negotiate a rental office space from a lessor using facts provided in a handout. Afterwards, roll play negotiation tactics and outcomes were discussed as a group.
When it comes to negotiation, competence breeds confidence. Kwame said to take advantage of opportunities to try to persuade people, listen to podcasts, and attend presentations. If you don’t invest in this skill, you’ll be leaving money on table and missing opportunities to strengthen relationships.
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