By: Margaret Wood 6.5.2017

Negotiation is a learned tactic, and it should come as no surprise to learn that you learned this skill as a pre-schooler. Remember when you wanted the yellow crayon and traded for the green one, or you wanted to play with the fire truck and swapped for the ambulance. You even negotiated with your parents – take your nap and you can have milk and cookies when you wake up, or do your homework and you can watch TV.

As time passed, you started negotiating with siblings, friends and of course your parents.  More time passes and now you find yourself in a position to negotiate as an adult and you don’t think you’ve got what it takes.

Think Again! The only difference now is that the stakes are higher!Honing your negotiating skills takes a little work and lots of practice.

Here are 3 of the most important elements to help you become an even better negotiator and prevail the majority of the time.

1. Share – Trust

We tend to be very guarded and wary when approaching negotiations. While some believe this is a good tactic, it could easily backfire, eroding trust and having a negative outcome since most people tend to respond in kind. If you want to be trusted, you must first offer trust.

Keep it simple; start out by sharing some information to improve your odds of prevailing.  Put something of yourself out there, for example, cite another situation in which your were successful; setting a positive tone creates an atmospher conducive to gaining agreement.

2. Prioritize

You know what your key issues are as you prepare to negotiate; priotitize them well.

For example: if we’re trying to close a deal with a client,  and price is most important, plan to focus on that aspect first, as it is their first priority. Without a concensus, there’s no point in elaborating on what the rest of the package looks like.

Be Transparent–Rank the issues and leave them all on the table– this will increase your chances of achieving a better outcome.  It facilitates both parties in comparing their rankings and helps identify all the options available.

Don’t forget about trade-offs;  if the client is having trouble getting to your price,  consider a trade-off in travel requirements or scope of project.

3. Know your range

Do the research! Make sure it is based on firm data. Being prepared will allow you to negotiate with more confidence and reduces the chance that you’ll throw something crazy out there. By knowing your own range, it will help you make better decisions in the moment, and be clear about your limits.