The Art of Negotiating

The Art of Negotiating


I had the honor of speaking to the Junior League of Savannah on Monday, November 6. This is the highlights from that speech.


We negotiate every day – probably every hour.  From bartering with our kids over vegetables, to working out a raise or landing our next big client – negotiating is a skill we need to know.


Negotiating is a way of getting what we want, while also allowing the other party to get something they want.


The dictionary defines negotiating as:

  • To obtain or bring about by discussion
  • To find a way over or through an obstacle or difficult path.


Keys to Successful Negotiations

  • Know what you want
  • Attitude is everything
  • Logic over emotion


Logic Over Emotion

One key to successful negotiations is knowing your data ahead of time – what facts, numbers and statistics support your position.  How can you show the other person your position is correct?


Attitude is Everything

When entering into a negotiation, think about how you are presenting your point.  To this end: no whining. No blaming. No complaining.  No finger pointing.


Be positive.  Approach each negotiation with a win-win attitude.  We really do catch more with honey than with vinegar.


Think about it – when someone approaches you with hostility, what is your reaction?  You’re probably defensive.  Your walls go up.


But if someone approaches you with a positive attitude and explains an issue calmly, you’re more likely to be agreeable and work with them to find a solution.


As part of your attitude – remember to always act with integrity.  Be open in your communications and treat people kindly and fairly.


Finally – as much as we hate to think that we have to model ourselves over what other people think, we have to realize that other people’s perceptions of us definitely color whether or not we are successful in noegtations.


So wear the suit.  Put on the lipstick.  Wear your favorite heels.  Whatever makes you feel confident – look professional – for the situation.


Know What You Want


Before you walk into a negotiation, think about what you really want.  You save a lot of time – and money – by being clear with yourself about your goals.  Know what you are willing to give in return.


For example, if you are looking for sponsors for an event – know what level you want the company to sponsor the event for.  AND know what you are offering the sponsors in return for their monetary or in-kind donation.


And, when the situation calls for it – think outside the box. Can you get where you want to be without following the “normal” path?



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Taming the Whirlwind

Do you ever feel like your work tasks are creating a whirlwind — or even a tornado around you?

I know there are days for me when it seems like 10 things are coming at me from 10 different directions and they are all important and all should be priority.

Sometimes, I find myself giving a bandaid to each one — you know, doing a quick fix in an effort to stop the whirlwind.  You might do that too — the quick text that says “working on it” or “give me 5 minutes”.

But it doesn’t always work, does it?

There are a few things you can do to stop the chaos of 100 little things to do:

1. Write it down.  This gets it out of your head and lets you plan and organize how you are going to tackle the day.

2. Do just one thing. But do it completely and do it well.  Make the follow up call and write the email response.  Read the article. Finish the edit.  By completing something completely, it is now off your list and out of the whirlwind — beginning to calm the chaos.

3.  Group similar tasks together — like making 4 or 5 phone calls, or responding to your email.

Good luck calming the chaos!