This is the fifteenth installment in our 25 week series exploring the 25 competencies, or soft skills, that our assessments measure. Each week we’ll give you the definition of that competency, explain its value, and give you tips to help you develop it. This week: Negotiation.

Negotiation doesn’t just mean playing hardball, it requires listening to many points of view and facilitating agreements between two or more parties. The goal of a negotiation should always be a win-win solution. Though going for the kill and sticking to your guns may get you what you want in the short term, it won’t help you in the long run.

Good negotiators take the time to understand where each party is coming from. What is their ideal outcome? They do a great job at identifying what parts of the issue each party is more lenient on and which parts they are most passionate about. They use this knowledge to find a solution that will get each party as close to their ideal as possible. Good negotiators come prepared to every interaction with as much information as they can find on the issue at hand. They use this knowledge to make sure that each party has the most accurate facts needed to make a decision and reach a compromise.

Negotiation tends to be intimidating for most people, we feel that it is a zero sum game, but it doesn’t have to be. Those who are skilled at Negotiation create a non-threatening environment where each party can be honest and open about what they want, which improves the likelihood of finding a successful, win-win solution. If you’d like to develop your Negotiation skills, you can start by making sure to cut out assumptions. The next time you’re working to come to a deal with someone take the time to fully explain your perspective and ask them to do the same. The more information you have the better, especially when you’re learning more about what the other party really wants out of this negotiation. If you assume that you know what they want, you’ll likely be wrong and may offer them “concessions” that they didn’t need in the first place.

If you would like to learn more ways to develop your Negotiation skills, download our Negotiation Rx Suite here.

Eure Consulting