President Trump recently announced a deal between the U.S. and Mexico, one our nation has been working toward for years.
With a long-awaited agreement, there certainly is a thing or two to be learned about how to be a masterful negotiator. Regardless of your personality or situation, whether you're discussing your salary, a potential new job or even a new home, negotiations are a big part of life and every career.
While all of the details have yet to be released, as of now we know the agreements — which took months to settle — covered the mobilization and expanded deployment of guard troops across Mexico with a focus on the southern border. It also addressed whether Mexico would soon host undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally through Mexico.
So far we know, as Trump announced in his address, Mexico will be moving 6,000 soldiers to the end of their border. Reports also suggest Mexico will be offering educational programs, healthcare, and job opportunities come December.
More details will be released once Mexico gives the president the okay to move ahead. Yet after months of this anticipated deal, there is a thing or two to be learned about the art of negotiating.
While you may not have anything to negotiate just yet, you certainly will in the future. Now is the time to begin to equip yourself with the elements needed to successfully present a case.
Here are seven steps to master the art of negotiation:
- First, consider your approach. Particularly for those who are naturally confrontational, it’s easy to want to jump in and start a fire. But before you do more damage than good, realize successful negotiation doesn’t only require tenacity, but careful thought and consideration. Be patient and don’t jump the gun.
- Do your research. Take time to fully understand, not only what you're asking and why, but who you're asking. Realize what objectives and passions the individual, company or organization you are approaching have and shape your case to address these areas.
- Determine the best time. Just because you feel impassioned to discuss the issue doesn’t mean it’s the right time. Strategic timing of negotiations can be just as essential as the points you’re bringing to the table. A few ideal times are: right after a big win at work, when you’re consistently bringing your A-game to the team, or in the midst of major shifts in the company. While many can be timid to ask for a raise or present a proposition during a major influx at work, this is often when a company is most pliable and open for change.
- Don’t do all the talking. One thing that speaks the loudest is not speaking at all. In fact, speaking too much may ruin your case. Be sure in your discussion you are carefully listening and pacing your points so that you’re not drowning out the other individual. While this may be the most challenging point, be sure to hear their side and genuinely consider it. It can be very obvious when you verbally run over the conversation.
- Negotiate like an introvert. Following the last point, even for introverts, one can approach a confrontation and feel they need to fit the mold of a salesman. Naturally, introverts are good listeners and truly take the time for others to talk and hear what they’re saying. When they do speak, they make their words count.
- Avoid getting emotional. Yes, it’s good to be passionate about your argument, but you never want to convey that you are willing to live or die on this hill. On the flip side, if you are easily rattled by conflict, don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the discussion.
- Don’t hold back. Ask for what you want. In the rush, excitement and nerves prepping for a controversial discussion, it can be easy to let all the preparation fly out the window. Don’t let it. Don’t let your guard down or give in unless it’s what will best benefit you and your future.
Negotiations in the workplace can be overwhelming and nerve-wracking, but they will be a critical part of your career now and in many moments ahead. This is your moment. Don’t avoid it, prepare for it and take it.
Dr. Kent Ingle serves as the President of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and is the author of “Framework Leadership.” A champion of innovative educational design, Ingle is the president of one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation. As president, Ingle founded the American Center for Political Leadership at the university and is also a founding member of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. Before becoming Southeastern’s president in 2011, Ingle held leadership positions in higher education and the nonprofit sector in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle. Ingle is the author of several leadership books and the creator of the Framework Leadership podcast. He currently serves on the board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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