people shaking hands

Whether it’s about saving money by getting the best deal, making more money by asking for a raise, or simply trying to decide which movie to see, negotiation is a reality of our everyday life.

But if this is the case, why do so many people shy away from negotiating for the best possible outcome?

Why is it so much easier and often more comfortable to simply take a backseat when it comes time to make decisions or advocate for what you want or believe in?

In my experience, it comes down to confidence. If you enter a negotiation confidently, no matter how large or small it may be, you’re bound to feel more successful at the end.

In order to build that confidence, a bit of a negotiation primer might be in order:

Preparation is Key

Information goes hand in hand with confidence as being your best friends during a negotiation. If you are trying to negotiate the price of a product or service, the more you know about it, the better your chances of securing a reduced price.

If you’re attempting to negotiate a salary or raise, being able to clearly and accurately detail your accomplishments and qualifications helps to ensure a positive outcome for your negotiating efforts.

Say it with a Smile

You might be pleasantly surprised to see just how far the power of a positive attitude can take you during a negotiation. Not every conversation or attempt will go your way, but you increase your chances of a more favorable outcome by remaining positive.

If you don’t receive the reaction or outcome you had hoped for at first, resist the urge to argue or show negative emotion through your words or actions (pay attention to the non-verbal cues, too!). By countering in a positive way, you’ll strengthen your argument. This is also a great time to employ your plan B if necessary.

Be an Active Listener

Active listening goes beyond any sentiment of what a “good” listener is. Active listening is when you make a concerted effort to let the person who is speaking to you know that you’re hearing the words they are saying.

It can be as simple as politely rephrasing what they’ve said as a question you ask back to them. This way, you’re showing your understanding of their intended message. Active listening also means engaging the speaker—nodding your head; asking relevant questions; continuing the dialogue without interruptions.

As an active listener, you build rapport with a person. Rapport can often be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful negotiation outcome.

Have you ever tried any of these negotiation tactics? What has your experience been like when it comes to negotiating?