Most of us have been taught that if we want others to cooperate with us, we have to compromise — that is, to get something, we have to give something. There’s a better way, however, to getting what you want: Start with no. So, if your New Year’s resolutions for 2011 include being more assertive, standing up for yourself, and reaching your goals, the “No” system can be your ticket to success. Eleven steps to get moving:
Start with no. Resist the urge to compromise. Instead, invite the other person to say “no” to your proposal. (Hint: Don’t tell him or her what it is — at least not yet.) And be clear that, personally, you don’t take no as rejection, but as a candid start to an honest discussion.
Dwell not. Dwell on what you want, and you hurt your advantage. Throughout the discussion, focus instead on what you can control — your actions and behaviors.
Do your homework. Learn everything you can before you begin. This way, you prevent a minefield of surprises, whether you’re dealing with the boss, a car dealer, or your teenager.
Identify obstacles. Identify everything might come up in the negotiation that could blow up in your face. If you don’t spend time doing this beforehand, you’ll walk into a trap.
“Out” the elephant. If there’s a big, unspoken problem neither of you wants to talk about, don’t ignore it. Bringing it into the open clears the air and gives you the upper hand.
Check your emotions at the door. Exercise self-control, and let go of any expectations, fears, or judgments. Whatever you do, don’t be needy.
Get them talking. Ask open-ended questions that begin with what and how. Find out what the other person wants and needs. The one who talks most loses the advantage.
Be humble. If someone wants to brag, lecture, name drop, or use big words, let it be the other guy. When they feel superior, the advantage goes to you.
Respect, don’t befriend. In a negotiation, being friends is not the goal. Your goal is to come to a fair agreement. Stop worrying about being liked and you’ll make better decisions.
Don’t sell. Don’t pitch or make a presentation — akin to shooting yourself in the foot. Instead, let them tell you what they want. It’s the best way to shape your strategy.
About the Author:
Jim Camp is a leading negotiating coach and author of NO: The Only Negotiating Strategy You Need for Work and Home. President and CEO of Camp Negotiation Systems, he’s coached individuals, corporations, and governments worldwide through hundreds of successful negotiations. Contact him on the Web at http://startwithno.com.