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Do you know what you’re aiming for?

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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)

53 Goals

Before you enter into a negotiation, you must clearly articulate your goals to yourself and to your team. You can’t aim at – let alone hit – a target that you can’t see!

The question to ask upfront is: “What do I want to walk away with at the end of these negotiations?” Discuss this with your advisors and your team, and come to decisive clarity about the goal and a unified decision about how to achieve it. Do the necessary practical research so that your goal is realistic and informed.

Before you commit your goal to writing, ask yourself two more questions. The first question is: “Am I capable of improving on this goal?” If you can reasonably improve it, take the time to do so. Then ask the second question: “Is this goal achievable?” If you believe it is, then it is worth going for.

Now it is time to write down the goal in detail, as a set of specific objectives.

(For example, I want to buy/sell this car: for this much money; for this down payment; on such-and- such terms.) Then start to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the negotiation so that you will be standing on solid inner ground during the negotiation. This preparation includes creating a strategic plan and tactics to achieve your goal, and also doing the inner preparation described in the Focus story. Both are required. Designing a strategy or tactical plan, knowing what you intend to do at different points, and how you might respond in different circumstances in the negotiation, is the essential context for inner preparation. You can’t visualise and rehearse vagueness.

In doing all the above, it’s important to consider the following: Do you have all the necessary skills to successfully work the strategy and tactical plan? Do the present conditions – how much the other party wants what you have, and vice versa; the current value both parties bring to the table; their financial circumstances and yours; their character and present disposition; and any other relevant factors – work to your advantage or to theirs? Can you accomplish this on your own or do you need a partner with complementary skills to assist you? (A great negotiator is also an effective delegator and team player, and knows to call for help to counterbalance any weakness in him or herself.)

Armed with a goal, a strategy, tactical planning, the required skills, and sufficient preparation, there is one more question to ask yourself before you begin negotiations: “At what limit do I throw in the towel and walk away from these negotiations?”

Now, fully equipped, prepared, and “aimed” toward your goal, you can enter the negotiation room with the clarity and confidence of a great negotiator.


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