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)
The ability to focus on the task at hand for sustained periods until you achieve your objectives is the hallmark of leaders, winners, and great negotiators in every field of endeavour. Just as a laser condenses and focuses a small amount of energy into a concentrated beam of light particles that can cut through diamonds, so your capacity to focus turns your energy, intention, and presence into a formidable force. A strong, developed focus allows you to remain intelligently, intensely present and conscious, and functioning at maximum capacity. Success in any endeavour requires the capacity for intense sustained focus for extended periods. A great negotiator develops the capacity to maintain a “laser focus” from start to finish and to turn his or her focus on at will.
A powerful focus is a combination of will, intention, and attention fused into a concentrated beam of single-minded awareness. With a clear focus, you can observe, assess, understand, and respond to difficulties or obstacles that may arise in a negotiation. With a strategic focus, you can visualise the outcome before you start, develop a specific negotiation strategy and tactics that will lead to that outcome, and apply your strategy and tactics in the negotiation until the outcome is achieved. A lapse in focus can result in slips and errors that can create a bad impression and sink a negotiation.
An emotional focus in negotiation means being fully present, observing and listening to the other party, and observing nuances and subtle shifts in mood, attitude, and behaviour. An alert focus allows you to recognise and quickly redress mistakes, respond to tactics used by the other party to control or derail a negotiation, readjust your strategy and possibly your objectives if necessary, apply just the right pressure at the right moments, and keep the negotiation on track until your goal is achieved.
All these “kinds of focus” are really just applications of focus in different areas. So, how do you develop focus? Again, practices like meditation, visualisation, concentration, and disciplined study habits can help you develop a powerful focus. But simply having the intention to develop your focus, while applying yourself in a disciplined way, is the key.
But there is another kind of focus relative to career choices or areas of specialised knowledge that become your area of expertise. The world today is a world of specialisation. Generalists are useful but specialists are essential, and are the big earners in their fields. This is commonly seen in the difference between the incomes of general practitioner doctors and specialist doctors, the latter earning more than twice as much as the former. So, focusing on a specific area or field of knowledge in order to gain specialised expertise will also make you a better negotiator in your field as the respect for your position is heightened.