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.

Tips for Keeping Motivated


Taylor Swift said in Vanity Fair’s April 2013 magazine interview: “I’m the type of person, I have to study to get an A on the test, I have to work really hard to get a record deal – I have to spend years at it to get it good. I have to practice to be good at the guitar. I have to write 100 songs before you write the first good one.” It is comforting to know that someone with seven Grammys, and who is the only female artist to have three consecutive albums at No. 1 on the Billboard 100 for six weeks or more, has to work hard. She’s ordinary. It didn’t happen overnight. She had to work to get to where she is. It reminds us that all success worth having is the type of success you have to work for. Working hard is part of the journey and its what makes the outcome so great.

We all have to do little, and most possibly mundane, things to get to where we want to go, whether it’s just to pass a test or to achieve a life goal. And sometimes it can be hard to keep motivated, especially if it’s something you don’t particularly enjoy or you know it’s going to be a long task. So here are some tips for getting and staying motivated:

  • Get enough sleep – I would say at least 8 hours if you want to get a day’s work in.
  • When you wake up, get in the shower and get dressed – this will rejuvenate you and it will automatically make you feel ready to face the day with energy!
  • Eat a good breakfast – after all, it is the most important meal of the day!
  • Work in an area that is clean, and devoid of all clutter and distractions.
  • If you’re working towards a big goal, break it down into more achievable sections to make it more manageable and seem more accomplishable – you have to be able to believe you can do it!
  • Make a checklist of everything that you want to accomplish that day – but be reasonable! Not only will this keep you organised, but it’s also very satisfying to cross things off once you’ve completed them. The more you cross off, the more you want to cross off everything else, which spurs you to complete task after task. When the day is over, you really get a sense of how much you’ve done and you can then reward yourself for having accomplished what you wanted. At the same time, be positive and don’t beat yourself up if you are not able to complete everything; learn from it and make a more manageable checklist the next day!
  • Do one thing at a time, rather than starting a load of things at the same time – this will assure you that things are getting done!
  • Reward yourself – not only will this give you something to look forward to but it will also let your brain have a break. But make sure you get back to the task at hand. Remember, accomplishing your tasks is a reward in itself!
  • Finally, try to enjoy what you’re doing – it can be hard, but if you can enjoy what you’re doing, it won’t seem such a chore and it will go all the more faster!

p.s. Inspirational quotes are also very motivating! Here’s one to get you started: “They can because they think they can” – Virgil