General Negotiation Strategies
for Achieving Negotiating Success

Negotiation strategies are an important part of most businesses. Negotiating wages, benefit packages, product sales and supplies needed to manufacture goods are just a few areas where you would apply negotiating strategies.

Strategies for negotiations should be tailored to fit each bargaining session, as there is no "one strategy fits all" where negotiations are concerned.

Preparation for Negotiations

All negotiation strategies require preparation, so before you sit down at the bargaining table, conduct background research. Determine what concessions the company is willing to make, and try to determine what you feel the other side will concede.

By having an idea of what points you are willing to trade off on, and which items you cannot, saves frustration or indecision during negotiations.

Preparing for any type of negotiation, be it salary increases, promotions, suppliers or shipping, will give you an advantage during the bargaining session.

Key Negotiating Tools

There are a number of tools used in negotiations with critical thinking being a very important one. By critically evaluating the issues that will be negotiated, a clear view can be established.

Organization is another very useful negotiating tool. Setting priorities of the bargaining session provides a starting point for negotiating and prevents key issues from being conceded.

Listening is a valuable tool in all aspects of business but especially for negotiations. By allowing the other side to speak and present their ideas for a successful conclusion, you can gain valuable information that will help you to strategically interact with the other party during negotiations.

Planning Strategies in Negotiations

A very important strategy for negotiations is planning. When preparing to negotiate, setting goals prior to negotiating, allows you to keep the focus of the negotiation on key issues that are high on your priority list.

Learning about the other negotiating party will provide invaluable information that will make your planning strategies easier. Some people present a stoic front, while others may take a less confrontational approach.

Writing out a negotiation strategy will provide a guideline to use during the bargaining session.

Negotiating Research

In negotiations there are usually two sides. Each side may have similar feelings and expectations but each session and both people are unique.

By learning as much as possible about your opponent, negotiation strategies can be tailored to suit the individual. For instance, being humorous during a negotiation will not be appreciated by someone who expects a facts-only bargaining session.

Failing to recognize the other side's key points of the session may put you at a serious and costly disadvantage. Knowing what skills, attitudes and goals the other party possesses will provide you with a strong foundation for successful negotiating.

Negotiating Awareness

When negotiating on an international level do keep in mind that there may be cultural differences involved in the negotiations.

Even regional differences may color the bargaining session. Learning what is, or is not acceptable during a negotiation with someone from another culture may be necessary.

This should include information of their community, customs, societal expectations and personal standards. Learning what is expected and what is unacceptable can prevent inappropriate presentations during negotiations.

Trade Offs in Negotiations

All good negotiations involve give and take, (mutual benefit) and successful negotiations are well balanced in this area. If one side feels they are trading off too much without gaining equally, they may become resentful and stop actively participating in negotiations.

Understanding that all negotiations involve trade offs, and working to ensure that each side is trading equally, may avoid animosity and allow for a successful resolution to the negotiation.

Learning successful negotiation strategies will enhance your bargaining power. These simple strategies will allow you to negotiate in a professional manner and help you to achieve your objectives.

In labour related negotiations the strategies used are a lot more complicated and the stakes can be very high, therefore for industrial relations negotiating it is advisable to use qualified and experienced professionals.