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How to Make a Negotiation Not a Negotiation


Robby

If you haven’t done it already this month, you’ll be doing it soon:  negotiating at work.

Negotiation could be a big deal: like finalizing your starting salary for your new Indianapolis job!

Or you could be negotiating a deadline, or asking a colleague to cover for you when you run an errand. No matter what the scale or where you work in Indiana (or outside), you’ll be negotiating at work, constantly.

How do you do it?

The best negotiation tip is to make the negotiation not feel like a negotiation.

Haggling
© Flickr User Jonas Forth

Think of it this way. It’s a change  from two sides meeting in the middle to both people wanting the same thing.

Here’s a before and after;

Employee: I want to work from home.

Boss: I want you to come into the office every day.

That’s pretty direct. How do you make that not seem like a negotiation?

Employee: I’ve been brainstorming on ways to increase my productivity. Would it be helpful for you if I could be more productive?

Boss: Yeah, it would. What do you have in mind?

Employee: Well, I realized that five days a week I spend two hours of my workday in the car, and on Mondays 100% of my work is heads-down because I never have a meeting on those days.

Boss: I guess that’s true.

Employee: I’m wondering if I’d be more productive and provide more value to you at the company if I worked remotely on Mondays. What do you think? Would you be interested in an experiment to see if productivity went up?

Now, that’s not really a negotiation. It’s just a question about whether or not you both want something (more productivity) and a follow up question about whether you’re willing to give it a try to see if it works.

Here’s another example:

Colleague #1: We need to finish these reports today, even if we have to stay late.

Colleague #2: I need to leave at 5PM to pick up my kids.

That’s pretty ugly. There’s going to be some serious conflict if that doesn’t get resolved.

Colleague #1: We need to finish these reports today, even if we have to stay late.

Colleague #2: I’m concerned that if we rush to finish them, we’ll make mistakes. Why is today the deadline?

Colleague #1: I promised them to the client tomorrow.

Colleague #2: Okay, so if we got them done first thing in the morning, that would still work. How about we take a break and then meet here, first thing? I’ll bring the coffee.

And one more if you’re working on a new salary. First the before:

Candidate: I’m looking to make between $50 and $70k a year.

Hiring manager: We only have $45k budget for the position.

Going right for the answer creates conflict. Try this:

Candidate: How are you valuing this position?

Hiring manager: Our budget is $45k.

Candidate: Would you like to get more value?

Hiring manager: Sure, but our budget is $45k.

Candidate: Okay. Maybe we can talk about the level of work at that price, and what kind of results you’d need to see to get a larger budget approved. What would that look like? What are your big challenges today?

Hiring manager: Off the top of my head, if we could get our error rate down by a percentage point and reduce our turnaround time by a week, it would be easy for me to get approval for more budget.

Candidate: Great! Can we write that into the offer?

These are all conversations. Want to improve relations at work? Make a negotiation not a negotiation. Try it!

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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Fri, September 27 2013 » Corporate Culture, Leadership

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