First, realize what makes a bad negotiator.
The worst negotiators hate rejection. They can’t accept the fact that all the negative stuff coming at them in a typical negotiation is not personal. They think the other person is angry with them.
Bad negotiators get their feelings hurt, which makes them soft or defensive. both are bad positions from which to negotiate. They also don’t let the other person vent, one of the key elements of a good negotiation. In the process of letting off steam, the other person is likely to reveal both problems and possible solutions. Bad negotiators miss these signals because they don’t listen.
In contrast, good negotiators have the following in common:
- Prepare thoroughly. Advanced preparation is critical. They recognize that the side with the most information will receive the better outcome in a negotiation.
- Have patience. Most concessions occur in the last 20% of the negotiation. Good negotiators remain patient and wait for the right moment to act.
- Realize deadlines aren’t set in concrete. They can be moved, changed or eliminated. Instead of meeting an arbitrary deadline with panic, they merely suggest a change.
- Knowledge or expertise. People who have knowledge or expertise can wield tremendous power in negotiations.
- Character. They do what they say they’re going to do, without exception. If they have agreed on a point in the negotiation, they don’t try to change it later.