10 Tips from Master Negotiators
Over at the Xerox Corporation's new digital business journal, Real Business, business journalist Sachin Shenolikar, interviewed Harvard Business School professor and author Michael Wheeler and She Negotiates co-founder, Victoria Pynchon about the ten most important ways to get what you want.
What does it take to become a great negotiator?
It’s all about channeling your inner Miles Davis or Wynton Marsalis, says Michael Wheeler, a Harvard Business School professor and author of The Art of Negotiation.
Like jazz musicians, being an effective negotiator is about knowing your theory, listening to your partner, and improvising.
“The simple fact is that you cannot script negotiation,” he says.
The comparison doesn’t end there. Just as jazz musicians feel each other out and speak to one another using their instruments, finding flow and comfort in communication are essential components in negotiation.
“Negotiation is just a conversation leading to agreement,” says Vickie Pynchon, co-founder of She Negotiates.
“The key is to realize that the outcome of a good negotiation is that both people are happier at the end, and each has helped the other achieve a goal. Negotiating makes people happier, not sadder, but you have to know how to do it.”
Real Business spoke with Wheeler and Pynchon to get 10 simple tips on how to improve at getting what you want without giving up who you are.
1. Engage in small talk. Negotiations can be very tense and serious situations, so idle chit-chat can help put the other side at ease.
“It creates a friendly relationship in which they want to share information with you and they’re more likely to move past what appears to be an impasse,” says Pynchon. “The trust-building part of negotiating is incredibly important. People want to cut deals with people who they trust.”