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'Good negotiation skills'

Published: 05 September 2019

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This is one of the most common soft skills we are asked for from a client looking to recruit an additional hire. Love it or hate it, we are all negotiators in life, sometimes without realising we are even doing it. I am constantly negotiating with my 8 year old son, offering the 'either, or' scenario most commonly and as for negotiating with my husband, well that takes a whole new approach! Negotiation is basically about communicating and interacting with another human being and the strength of the relationship will affect whether the outcome is a positive or negative one.

Working in recruitment is one HUGE negotiation! Here are some tips we have learnt along the way which might help you to understand better the art of negotiation, whether it's a pay rise, guaranteed commission scheme or finders fee you are discussing.

Establish a firm relationship:

Integrity is a quality which can help you to establish a strong, mutually respectable relationship with the other party. Respect the other party as a human being and this will take you far. There must be a positive rapport between both parties before negotiations can begin.

Pre negotiations:

Preparation is key! Make sure you have researched into the person or people you are negotiating with beforehand. Analysing what you think the opposing party will be asking for and considering the benefits to them will stand you in good stead, as well as considering your ideal outcome and what you would settle for.

Body Language:

You are more likely to have a positive experience if you are negotiating face to face so make sure you maintain strong eye contact (without staring!) using appropriate levels of nodding and smiling. Avoid crossing your arms or shaking your head - sometimes we do this with without realising! If you are negotiating over the phone then standing up is helpful when you need to bring some inner power to the surface and remember to smile!

Slow down:

Try not to rush what you are saying and never interrupt the other party. Use silent pauses to slow down the conversation and enable you to think rationally about your objectives and reach a suitable win-win conclusion. Additionally don't feel that you need to finish negotiations that same hour/day/week. Think about the relationship you have with this person/people and the long term reputation you want to maintain.

Finally, both parties need to feel as if they have won. If you can't reach an amicable conclusion that day then it's often good to walk away and leave the door open for future negotiations.

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