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Negotiation 101: Say What You Need to Say

This has happened to all of us: you just got home with something you purchased and you realize it's defective. Or how about this -- the waiter brings your order and you realize it's wrong. Finally, have you ever felt exhausted by a child trying to push your boundaries? In more situations than you may realize, having strong negotiation skills is imperative for all of us in our everyday lives.

When you think of situations where you've needed to negotiate, buying a car or a home may quickly come to mind, but parenting also requires strong negotiation skills.

Here are some fundamentals to get you better prepared for your next negotiation.

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1. Create a strategy

Many times, a negotiation is won before it even takes place due to the research done ahead of time. Take notes, obtain documentation, rehearse, and clearly define what you expect.

2. Seek advice

Have a trusted advisor hear your plan. This may be a spouse, friend, or a mentor. Obtaining this dual control can help you keep emotions at bay, identify any gaps, and ensure practicality as you keep your eye on the prize.

3. Target the decision maker

Avoid wasting time and make sure you are speaking to someone with the authority to address the issue. Address them by name and speak with confidence to your equal in this negotiation.

4. Stick to the objective

This may sound a bit aggressive, but don't back down from what you aim to achieve. The moment you show you're willing to settle for less, you've already lost the high ground.

5. Anticipate obstacles  

As you plan your strategy and practice your delivery in step one, make sure you anticipate push back, objections, and countering offers ahead of time. Also, plan your responses so you won’t seem surprised or caught off guard.

6. Follow the Golden Rule

If you follow the above steps and ignore this one, you'll almost always fail. You must check your emotions at the door and go in with an attitude of respect. Believe it or not, they too are a human being who has very likely been in your shoes and on your side of the conversation you're about to have. Thank them, speak your piece, and listen to understand.

Confront that waiter or retail manager. Stand your ground with your children. Don't settle as you negotiate the selling price for your home. Be willing to walk away from a deal if it's not the deal you deserve. Having a rock- solid strategy going in to your next negotiation will give you the confidence you'll need to come out victorious.