Navigating Negotiations

By Janhavi Hunnur, Staff Writer

Negotiations have a history of getting the better of us. Few people get excited about them while an even great number get nervous and avoid them like plague. Listening is vital to the whole process.

PC: Lifehacker
PC: Lifehacker

Since a lot of negotiations happen in the eleventh hour there is a full-fledged set of preparation that takes place before that time. Being backed by solid research is a no-brainer. Having data before going into the negotiation can provide you with more confidence, and allow you to make a stronger argument.

Also, identifying key decision-makers and making it clear that you want to be working with them can ensure productive outcomes. Frequently, professionals strategize their discussion with parties who do not hold decision-making power, and that’s a negotiation down the drain. Negotiating with the decision-makers opens new opportunities and yields better results. Buying time can be another critical benefit for any negotiation. By explicitly stating or maneuvering in a way to make time for a better come back would prove more beneficial.

microexpression-collage-2-1200x675A subtle but deep aspect of navigating a negotiation is paying close attention to the micro-expressions of the concerned parties. Seasoned negotiators have a tendency to mask their feelings and honest opinions through their facial expressions. To an observer their face might be neutral or they can fake an expression to push their luck. The point is to catch the fleeting micro-expressions that can be witnessed even through a façade. If there is an awareness of what to look for, these expressions may be easier to catch. Great negotiators have a radar for detecting such micro expressions and use them to steer the conversation in their desired direction.

It is imperative to focus on the face. Negotiators have the skill to control their expressions while talking so it is advantageous to study their face while they are listening. Presenting multiple options and picking up on hints through the presentation could be a way to steer the conversation to one’s benefit. Attention to such micro-expressions allows one to use the feedback to gain an advantage in negotiation.

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