One of the vital skills that your MBA programme will teach you is the art of negotiation. Every conversation you’ll have in the business world involves negotiation to some degree. Being good at it requires discipline, strategic thinking and emotional intelligence. Every negotiation has its own context and will require something different from you.
Here’s how you can approach the process.
- Do Your Homework:
Research is important. Once you know whom you’ll be meeting, find out all you can about the people and situation that you’ll be discussing. How has the other party handled things in the past? What kind of work have they been doing and what do they like? Know all the possible issues that could come up before you head to the meeting. Have the offers and counter offers ready in your head too. Sometimes it helps to write it all out as a script. This way, you won’t fumble for words whatever happens.
- Build Relationships:
You could have everything there in your hands in a spreadsheet or on the slides you’ll be presenting, but negotiations are about making deals with people. If you want to seal a deal, you need to earn the other party’s trust. In fact, research says that they’ll be more influenced by you if they like you. This means that you have to look at building a bond and not just the money you can gain. Let them know that you’ll be working with them as a team – not as isolated entities. Don’t expect to agree on everything but don’t work too hard to find common ground too since differences can result in more value creation as you trade them. Who knows? Maybe you can give them a lot more than you’d thought they’d needed.
- Listen Well:
Negotiation is not a one-sided activity. You need to be able to hold a conversation where lots of information is exchanged. Find out about the other side’s needs. Ask open-ended questions so you get more information to work with when you are using your strategy. Connect what they say to you in the meeting with what you know about them. You should be able to understand their needs and preferences that way.
- Focus on Timing:
Saying the right thing at the right time can get you your deal. Similarly, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time or any time at all can ruin things for you. So leave out some questions that aren’t really needed and don’t go overboard with the selling when you should stop. Claim your value early in the conversation so that they know what you can give them best. Never say yes too fast. And when things get heated, take a break.
- Be Ethical:
Ethics is a major subject covered in top MBA programmes like the one at NBS. Being ethical is a must if you want to have a good reputation in the industry. Don’t go back on promises. Be fair and involve the right people from your office and know about the best practices in your field. Once you take a decision on your side, explain the reasons.
Coursework at your B-school will involve role-playing in cases that resemble ones that you will confront in the real world. That will enable you to try out your negotiation skills under the eyes of experts who can tell you where you’re going wrong. Lots of practice will show you the way to form relationships and bring success to your organisation.