Tips for Negotiating and Influencing Other People

Compromise donkey

Recently I listened to an audiobook version of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, which inspired me to attend a workshop at my university called ‘Persuading, Influencing and Negotiating Skills’. I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learnt about negotiating with other people and influencing or persuading them.

The key to negotiating and influencing people is simple: understand what it is you want and understand what the other person wants. Both are essential, you cannot go into a negotiation or try to influence someone without also considering them. A negotiation is precisely a compromise between two parties, a win-win.

  1. Come up with the best case scenario for what it is that you want from the other person and then come up with other strategies according to your priorities – you may not get everything you want because negotiating with another person may highlight contradictions with the other person’s best case scenario or priorities.
  2. Try to build a relationship with that person before the negotiation or before trying to influence them into something. This builds confidence, respect, and a (professional) friendship. The following points should also help you do that.
  3. With this being said, you need to do some research or put some thought into what the other person may want or need – how can you twist those things you want or need into positives for them and potentially into things they want or need? What could you trade for something you have really prioritised? You need to keep looking at the positives and how you can collaborate rather than focusing on the conflicts that arise from the contradictions between your strategies.
  4. Therefore, don’t criticise and argue with the other person – all that will do is make them resentful and make any sort of negotiation or compromise difficult because they will both not feel comfortable around you and only be focusing on the conflicts rather than the potential compromises. Again, focus on the positives and the potential collaborations.
  5. Your attitude is essential to gaining confidence with the other person and building rapport – listen to the other person’s opinions and needs, show respect for those things through appreciation and encouragement, and remember to keep an open mind through looking at that person’s point of view.
  6. But that doesn’t mean you need to let the other person walk over you: be confident and positive in your approach and the other person will respect you too. It is a two-way street, otherwise any negotiation will never have the best outcome.
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