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Win the Deal: 5 Effective Persuading and Negotiating Tips

In the workplace, you'll find yourself in situations where you'll need to negotiate to serve your interests.

That could be persuading your boss, pitching an idea to stakeholders, deciding on a project deadline or motivating your staff for change.

But in most situations, you'll want to solve a problem by doing it your way.

Although negotiating is a walk in the park for some, it can be a very difficult and exhausting process for others.

But, with the right training and guidance, this is a skill which can be learned and utilised by everyone. To help overcome the challenges surrounding negotiation and persuasion, we have put together 5 tips which are vital for beginners.

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5 Effective Persuading and Negotiating Tips for the Workplace

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Use body language to communicate
  3. Listen & Acknowledge
  4. Silence is key
  5. Keep your options open

1. Plan Ahead

In order to have an effective and successful negotiation you need to go in prepared. First, ask yourself what you want, what the purpose of the negotiation is and how far you’re willing to push. This will help you maintain focus so you don’t become indecisive in critical situations.

Also, try to understand who you’re negotiating with. Know what their options are, their strengths, weaknesses and motivations. From this, you can be realistic with your expectations and determine how your counterpart can be persuaded.

2. Use Body Language to Communicate

Remember to smile. You don’t want to come across as unwelcoming and unfriendly as discussions can get intense when hostility is sensed. But, at the same time, you don’t want to display too much enthusiasm as this gives away your position. So try to control your emotions and remember to keep a poker face.

Making eye contact when your counterpart is speaking is also important. For them, it shows that you’re interested and listening, this helps the progress of a negotiation as it expresses trust and openness.

Learn more about why body language is important in communication.

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3. Listen & Acknowledge

This is a difficult skill, we often try and get our point across truly listening to the other person. From just listening to your counterpart you can learn about their stance or concerns on a particular area.

However, you don’t want to just sit there and listen to them talk throughout the whole negotiation. Try and ask the other negotiator probing questions, this will help make sure that you get the right information.

4. Silence is Key

This is something that works both ways, but using silence wisely can give you a major advantage in any negotiation. If your counterpart said something that you don’t like or agree with, remain silent. After making an offer or suggestion, remain silent.

Silence can be awkward for many which are why some people need to talk to overcome the discomfort. So try to remain calm and wait for a response. Silence will destabilise your counterpart as they question their own position and what you’re thinking.

5. Keep Your Options Open

When negotiating, just consider the opportunity to walk away to consider other options. You don’t want to come across as desperate, as the other party will pounce on this with demands they know you’ll cave into.

If you're prepared to walk away from a negotiation, it will show your counterpart that you have a strong stance and other opportunities.

Gain More Tips and Expert Insights on our Influencing and Negotiating Upward Course

At our one-day Influencing and Negotiating Upwards training course you'll gain a wide range of tools and techniques for negotiating and influencing in all contexts, with an added focus on how this plays out within the organisational hierarchy. View all upcoming dates here.

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Related Questions and Answers on Persuading and Negotiation in the Workplace

1. What is the difference between persuading and negotiating in the workplace?

The main difference between the two is that negotiating requires question, limitation and priority searching as well as exploring needs from both sides for better, more obvious trading opportunities. Whereas, persuasion is all about causing or giving someone a reason to do something.

The question is not which skill is more important to have but how to effectively use both in order to negotiate successfully and influence others.

2. How can I stay confident during a negotiation?

A key to successful negotiating is good knowledge of your audience’s background, needs and what motivates them. Make sure you and your team are on the same page and well-prepared for any reactions.

3. What are the 4 common mistakes to avoid when persuading or negotiating?

  1. Not giving yourself enough time to prepare - know your needs, what they want and how you could potentially meet in the middle.
  2. Giving in too easily - stand your ground to get what you want.
  3. Being abrasive or aggressive - it's important to be considerate and respectful of other perspectives and needs.
  4. Losing control of your emotions - Keep a level head, or potentially allow your emotions to cloud your judgments.