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Negotiation Tactics: The 10 Minute MBA Course On Negotiation

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1. Always, do your homework. Success in negotiation is strongly correlated with time spent preparing.

2. Preparing in a group helps; others will come up with things you didn’t.

3. Be ambitious. There’s usually a connection between aspiration level and what people get. (Obviously, you can go too far, so look at your benchmarks.

4. It’s very valuable to have things you don’t want in a negotiation so you can give them away for things you do.

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Early in the Negotiation:

1. Focus on influencing them, not being passive and waiting for them to decide. If you want to influence them be clear and consistent. Influencing is like teaching. You are teaching the other group to negotiate. Explicitly talk with the other side about not just substance (making money) but also process (rules of the game.)

2. Act with a purpose, don’t react. Most people act without thinking. Decide how you want them to act and what you need to do to encourage that. People’s behavior is not to be predicted, it’s to be affected.

3. Small talk before a negotiation is good.

4. Be careful what behavior you reward.

5. Your first goal in every negotiation should be to find out more.

6. Always begin with the frame “Should this deal be made?” not “How should I make this deal?”

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This whole page on negotiation is excellent. I'm saving it for future use. Favorite gems:

Any time someone presents a benchmark number, evaluate it, don’t just accept it. Ask ”Where did that number come from?” If they don’t have a good reason, they’ll need to come up with another number. If you’re not sure about it, a good response is always “Let me look at this and call you back.”

Being perceived as fair is key. People don’t respond well to being treated unfairly, even if the alternative is, objectively, even worse.

Let them talk and explain their story. If you can show them you understand their reasons, you take away the “you don’t get it” defense. And if you still disagree with them after, it makes them curious to know where you’re coming from.

If you can explain their argument even better than they can it shows you understand and they’ll be much more receptive to your POV. Don’t make their argument sound stupid.

Always attach a fairness argument to whatever you propose: “Here’s what I’m offering and here’s why it works for you.” This is much better than a positional “I want $100,000 because I deserve it.” A fairness argument allows you to be flexible. If they give you new information, you can alter your reasoning versus being stuck with an arbitrary number that no longer makes sense.

If someone says “take it or leave it”, don’t respond. Wait. If they’re still there a minute later, you know it wasn’t legit. A good strategy here is to change the subject because you don’t want them to feel embarrassed and then have to do something even more stupid.

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