“You don’t get what you want. You get what you negotiate.”
Almost everything in life involves a series of negotiations. You may negotiate with clients for a later deadline or with colleagues for a different meeting time. You might negotiate with your kids about eating one more bite of vegetables or studying just 10 minutes longer. When it comes down to it, negotiation is a crucial leadership skill. To lead well, you need to be able to persuade well.
Greg Williams, a Harvard-trained negotiator and speaker, says the difference between a good leader with strong negotiation skills and one who isn’t as skilled is how they engage in the negotiation process. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we dive into Williams’ take on what the best negotiators have in common.
They anticipate negotiating. Leaders with strong negotiation skills go into negotiations knowing how they will accomplish their goals. They consider what-if scenarios, so they’re prepared for any outcome. The better prepared they are, the better the opportunity to reach the desired outcome, Williams says.
They know when to make offers. The best negotiators time their offers and counteroffers just right. They wait until the ball is their court to make an offer. This can help increase their odds of a favorable outcome. Keep in mind that power is perceptional, Williams says. If you think you have control in a situation and the other party agrees, that is power. And the opposite is also true.
They stay composed. Negotiations may get heated, but strong leaders know that cooler heads prevail. The best negotiators always maintain control of their emotions, which can signal to others that they cannot easily disrupt them through mental manipulation, Williams says.
They control the environment. Williams points out that another aspect of leadership in negotiations is controlling the placement of others during the meeting and the timing of the discussion. Strong leaders can also direct the meeting’s agenda and determine next steps when the meeting concludes.
They observe body language and tonality. Skilled negotiators keep a close eye on how the other party moves and responds during a discussion. For example, he says that if the other party is fidgeting in their seat, shaking their foot or touching their face, they may be showing signs of uneasiness. By noticing these shifts in body language or tone of voice, leaders can glean insight into how the other person feels about a particular offer.
When you become a better negotiator, you become a better leader. People want to listen to and follow leaders who can communicate well, value and respect differences, and work to get the best possible outcome for everyone involved.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator and Body Language Expert, is a Harvard-trained negotiator, author, speaker, trainer and a recognized worldwide thought leader on negotiation and reading body language.