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Three ways that will always win a negotiation

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16 May 2012

Negotiation is all around us – getting your children to tidy up, buying a car, asking for a pay rise as well as being a core part of every business transaction. Nobody likes to lose in a negotiation – and the good news is you don’t ever have to.

If you follow three basic rules of negotiation, then every time you will find you  - and interestingly the other party – can win. Firstly, before you even start, find out what your best alternative is. This is sometimes known as your ‘BATNA’ – the Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement. In other words your walk away position – if the other side won’t agree to at least this – then you are better off not making a deal at all.

Once you have established your BATNA, you need to look hard at outcomes rather than taking positions. This means looking more at what you want, rather than how it will be achieved. So you might decide you want to have more factory output (your outcome) – and so be negotiating a shorter lunch break (your position). If the workforce comes up with a different idea that increases output – then don’t stay focussed on wanting a shorter break, drop your position in favour of looking at the final outcome.

Lastly, always remember to trade. If someone asks for something, then don’t just negotiate by saying ‘no’. The best way to negotiate is to say ‘yes – provided you could …’. There is always something that you could have in return that would make it worthwhile. If you know what your alternatives are, you focus on your outcomes, and you trade to get them, you will always be a winner.

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