How to Be a Better Negotiator in the New Year

In both your professional and personal life, you are bound to encounter many situations where good negotiation tactics can really pay off. Maybe it’s asking for a promotion or a raise or maybe it’s as simple as trying to get your phone bill reduced. If you’re not a born salesperson, it might not come easy for you. Luckily, there are many simple ways to improve your method of negotiation. With a little practice and refinement, you’ll be getting that promotion in no time. Here’s how to be a better negotiator in the new year: 

Sharpen Your Listening Skills 

If you are a poor listener, you likely miss good opportunities! A good negotiator knows how to listen to people – not only what they are saying, but how they are saying it. The next time you find yourself in conversation with someone, take note: are you thinking about your response while they are still talking? Do you find yourself really absorbing what they are saying or are you quick to cut them off with your response (and miss the tail end)? Make it a habit to pause after someone is finished talking to you before you respond to them. Quickly absorb that information and then think of a response. Good listeners can be hard to come by, but if you master it, people will trust you and potentially tell you things they might not tell others. 

Turn to Poker for Practice 

Hone your poker game to refine your negotiation tactics. “Poker is a strategy game—the idea behind poker is to play each hand as perfectly as possible. Sometimes this means driving your opponent to play their hand as imperfectly as possible,” notes Mats Johnson, the Executive Director of Global Poker. So learn this game as a hobby, research the different tactics and play with friends or online. The more you refine the calculus and precision of your poker game, the more equipped you will be to recognize—and call out—someone else’s bluff in a negotiation. 

Control Your Emotions 

This can be a tough area for many people – especially when the stakes are high. The best thing you can do during an intense negotiation is control your emotions and learn to put on a good ‘poker face’. If you loose control right out of the gate, you will likely start to act irrationally. This could lead to less than favorable results. The trick is to keep your cool until even after the negotiation is finished – since loosing it near the end or directly afterward can still impact the long-term outcome. If you have to let off steam, don’t do it in the presence of the other party. It’s best to practice this skill in situations where the stakes are not very high. After a few trial runs under your belt, you’ll be ready to negotiate your next major deal.

Be Patient Under Pressure 

In the same vein of controlling your emotions, it’s important to be patient during negotiation deals. Even if the pressure is on to come to a decision, don’t rush the process. Your behavior is important and you should respect the other side – even if they are not giving you the same courtesy. Especially for business deals, good negotiations can lead to lasting relationships so it’s important to let the deal play out and keep calm. You never know what it could mean for you down the line. The next time you are in a stressful situation, really check your patience and remind yourself to stay calm. You’ll be surprised how far it can get you. 

These are just a few of the many ways you can improve your negotiation skills. With a little practice and potentially good luck, you’ll be closing big deals in no time!