May 10, 2010

Be a good negotiator

Filed under: Uncategorized — ktetaichinh @ 10:02 pm

1. After a job interview, HR calls to offer you the job. The staffer names a salary 15% higher than you’re making and says the benefits are generous.

She doesn’t have time to negotiate the terms right now, but wants to know if you’re going to accept. Since you really want the job, you should say yes now and hammer out the details tomorrow.

Don’t say yes too soon. If the company wants you, executives will wait a day for an answer. But once you accept an offer, they have little incentive to negotiate. Instead, say something like: “This is wonderful news, but I’d like to talk more about the details of the offer before I make a decision. What time works for you tomorrow?”
2. You’re about to meet with your boss to negotiate for a promotion and a raise. You’ve put together a strong pitch, and practiced it numerous times, but you’re still keyed up and anxious.

In the hour before the meeting, the best thing to do is review your supporting materials one more time to make sure they’re fresh in your mind so you feel calm and confident.
Wrong! The correct answer is: False.

If you’re well-prepared, going over and over the details of your argument could ratchet up your anxiety even more. Instead, find ways to get into a good mood before the negotiation. Step out for a yoga class or a lunchtime workout, talk to a friend who makes you laugh, listen to music on your headphones–whatever makes you feel relaxed and upbeat.
3. You want to switch to a division in your company where you’d have more to contribute and the work would make better use of your skills. A friend recommends that you lay out your case in a detailed e-mail.

Instead, you decide to negotiate face-to-face. This will produce better results.

If you put your entire proposal in an e-mail, your bosses may accept or reject it in its entirety. A face-to-face negotiation gives you more flexibility, allowing you to respond to the other person’s reactions, offer more information when you sense it’s needed, or even change strategy partway through. You can also factor in non-verbal signals, such as body posture and facial expressions.
4. An employer makes you a job offer and asks you to name the salary you want. Your prospective boss agrees to your number immediately, so you go home and celebrate. Not only did you get the position, you aced the negotiation.

If you get what you want in the first round of a negotiation, you almost certainly didn’t ask for enough. Aiming high and hearing no doesn’t mean you’ve miscalculated, either. Rejecting your first request may just be an opening gambit by a skilled negotiator. Try pushing back: “If you can’t give me what I asked, how close can you come?” Or find out why the other negotiator said no–perhaps you can remove a roadblock.

5. You’re based in L.A. and apply for an executive position at your firm’s Chicago headquarters.

Partway through the interview process, your personal situation changes and you can no longer move.

Rather than inform management now or withdraw your candidacy, you should continue to pursue it. If things get to the offer stage, you can try to work things out then.

If you turn down the job early on, you and the company may both lose out. Wait until you’re offered the job, then raise the issue of your personal situation. If the company really wants you, they may be willing to look for creative solutions, perhaps allowing you to remain in L.A. and travel to Chicago once or twice a month, for example. Sharing information about your interests, goals, and personal constraints often opens up surprising possibilities, builds trust between the negotiating parties, and leads to superior, mutually beneficial agreements.
6. You want a raise. You’ve researched the current market for your skills and found that an 8% increase would bring your salary in line with your peers.

You decide to ask your boss directly for the 8%. A straightforward, honest approach will be most persuasive and likely to get you what you want.
Wrong! The correct answer is: False.

Most negotiators expect to engage in some back and forth, with multiple offers and counteroffers until the two parties reach an agreement. So ask for more than what you want. Aim higher and you’re more likely to hit your target
7. You’re negotiating to rent office space for your business. You ask if the rent, listed at the high end for your area, is carved in stone.

In response, the broker drops the price per square foot by almost half.

Your counteroffer should be close to that number — they’ve already cut the price so much they probably can’t reduce it much more.

If they reduced the rent that much, their original number was hugely inflated. By dropping down rapidly, they’ve signaled that they badly want to make a deal and are ready to give up a lot to get it. Counteroffer aggressively.
8. You have a strong case for a bonus this year, but feel anxious about asking and worry your nerves will make you look like you think you don’t deserve it.

Rather than wait till you feel more confident, you should go ahead and schedule the negotiation anyway.

Studies show that putting off a negotiation actually makes anxiety about it worse. Your built-up dread from procrastinating can heighten your stress when you finally get there. To calm your nerves, ask a friend or colleague to play your boss and role-play the meeting. Brief this person thoroughly and run through the negotiation repeatedly, with your friend taking a different approach each time. This preparation will give you a greater sense of control and — research shows — produce a better agreement
9. It’s time to renegotiate your top client’s contract. He loves your work, depends heavily on your services, and pays you more than all your other clients.

To make sure you get the raise you seek, it’s best to bluff. You should say you need a 6% increase to bring his fees in line with what your other clients pay, and without one, you won’t be able to afford to renew the contract.
Wrong! The correct answer is: False.

Such high-pressure tactics have the potential for disaster. Once you’ve made such a strong claim, it’s hard to back down, especially if the client refuses to raise his fees at all. And if he calls your bluff, you’ll lose your most valuable client. Even if this strategy does work in the short-term, the client may find out you bluffed, and you’ll have destroyed any trust you’ve built up. It’s better to avoid ultimatums. If you’re hoping for 6% more, ask for 8% but signal that you’re ready to negotiate.
10. You’re one of two finalists for a much bigger job, one where you’d be the only woman working with a group of high-powered men.

In the interview, you want to seem professional, goal-oriented, and capable, so you decide to wear a conservative suit, tone down your usual lively social manner, and speak in a direct, no-nonsense way.

This will win the team’s respect, allay any concerns they may have about your ability to play with the “big boys,” and give you the best chance of being their final choice.

While a direct, no-nonsense approach can work well for men, women should be cautious about using this strategy. New research has found that a man’s personal style has little impact on whether negotiators think his request is legitimate, but style matters a great deal for women. A direct approach can make a woman appear too demanding and provoke a backlash, even against a woman everyone likes. Research shows that women can be much more persuasive when they seem likeable and friendly, and communicate an interest in the other side’s needs and problems. For women, a softer style produces better results.


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