You know how some words suddenly zoom up the ladder of discourse and become the word du jour? The word that is on everyone's tongue right now is negotiation.
The United States is now over a week into a painful government shutdown. Will President Obama negotiate with the Republicans and save the nation from default? We shall see over the next few days.
It all depends upon a willingness to negotiate.
Negotiation was defined years ago by the original guru of the subject Chester Karrass as "give and take." One party makes a move. The other party makes a counter move. There are concessions. And agreements. And finally, if all goes well, a deal. Hopefully a deal that all the parties in the negotiation feel good about and will uphold.
This is an incredibly important topic to job hunters, but one that is seldom discussed and operationalized. So here are my negotiation tips:
Know what you want - If you do not know what you want --in terms of the job itself, the company, the location, the commute, the benefits, the salary-- you are putting yourself at a serious disadvantage in a negotiation. A mentor of mine taught me, Always go in with your eyes wide open. Have a clear set of objectives going into any important negotiation.
Find out what they want - The key to a win-win negotiation is finding out what the other party wants! What are their objectives? Their needs, issues, concerns, problems? Who are they negotiating with that you should be aware of?
Ask yourself, How can I help them? - Then, having done the previous analysis, ask yourself how you can help them get what they want. Sounds contradictory to the aim of negotiating? If this were a win-lose scenario, then yes, you would not care very much about them and their objectives. But since this is a job offer that is on the table, you want both sides to feel good about the outcome. So focus on helping them!
Only make a deal if you know you can uphold it - If you have even the merest whisper of a concern about your commitment to the deal, don't make it. Only make a deal that you can fully support.
Be ready to walk away - Know what elements of the deal are critical and what elements are dispensable. If a critical element is going to be sacrificed, know what your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (aka BATNA) is. Always give yourself options. Always be ready to walk away.
Never put all your eggs in one basket.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Thursday October 10, 2013
Terrence H. Seamon is an organization development consultant who provides leadership and team development services to employers in New Jersey. His book Lead the Way explores the challenges of leadership. Additionally, Terry is a job search and career coach whose book To Your Success provides a motivational guide for anyone in transition. His third book, Change for the Better, provides leaders with a guide to initiating, and navigating through, organizational change. An alumnus of PSG, Terry co-founded and co-moderates the St. Matthias Employment Ministry in Somerset, NJ. He can be reached at email@example.com and via his website: http://about.me/terrenceseamon