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Look the part

Your appearance should match or better those you go into negotiations with.

Negotiation touches every part of our lives. Relationships in business and in our personal lives are negotiated. And the skills to do it effectively can often mean the difference between getting what you want or losing out. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!

In the first section of the book, How to be a Great Negotiator, written by property economist, investor and developer Neville Berkowitz, the characteristic traits of a great negotiator are explored in short, bite-sized nuggets of advice.

Over the next 132 days, we will bring you the traits needed to succeed at the art of negotiating.

(Courtesy of PersonalEmpowerment.co)

5 Appearance

Impressions and perceptions are quickly formed, and do not easily change. So, when negotiating, it’s important to be suitably presentable from the start. As a negotiator, your appearance should always be immaculate, unless circumstances clearly justify otherwise, as might be the case of a construction worker making a bid on site. In formal meetings, your clothes should be better than the people you are meeting with, but only marginally so, in order not to make them uncomfortable. A neat hairstyle, unexcessive use of cologne or perfume, neatly trimmed facial hair (if you have it), clean manicured nails, etc., are the order of the day. Shoes and stockings should be in good condition and presentable. Handbags, briefcases, and laptop bags should be in keeping with the target market – neither shabby nor too luxurious. People tend to like and trust others with whom they share values, beliefs, mannerisms, and appearances. Birds of a feather do tend to flock together. Visible tattoos or unconventional body piercings can create subtle barriers of apprehension or even mistrust in those with piercings and tattoos.

Such apprehensions must be overcome if negotiations are to proceed to a successful conclusion. If you’ve got them (tattoos and piercings) and you can’t hide them, your trustworthy presence and your professional presentation will have to outshine them.

Cellphones should be turned off or set on vibrate to show respect and avoid needless interruptions. If you absolutely must take calls during a meeting, make it known beforehand and offer sincere and respectful apologies before answering any calls that come. A simple “I’m really sorry – I have to take this call; it’s important,” assures the person that the matter truly is important enough to justify the interruption. And it should be. Taking random, nonessential calls during meetings is unprofessional and immature, and indicates your lack of priorities and ignorance of respectful protocol.




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