Try as we might there are often conflict situations that are difficult to settle. Sometimes, both conflicting sides are uncooperative, and it is almost impossible to see eye-to-eye. However, that doesn’t mean that you or the other person has to live with the conflict forever unless that is an option you choose!

If it’s not what you want, there are ways to negotiate that can lead to compromise, and eventually a resolution.

Be a Confident Negotiator

Negotiating is an important communication skill that can help you reach a resolution without anyone getting angry at each other. Just like any skill, negotiating takes time and practice. Some people are naturally good at negotiating, while others feel insecure when they have to face another person and put their point across.

However, you can learn this skill, and here are a few tips to help you become a confident negotiator:

Before You Begin Negotiating, Be Prepared

Never begin to negotiate with someone without doing your homework. Spend time accumulating all the facts and data that you can. Even if it is with a personal friend or family member, you still need to be prepared and have all the facts to lay on the table. So research as much as you can to back up your reasons and claims, which will allow you to ask relevant questions and listen to their responses.

You can also prepare for what they may ask you! If you have your responses ready you are prepared two-fold. To be even better prepared, practice what you are going to say during the discussion, especially if you know that you may get nervous and stumble with your words. You want to appear confident at all times.

Have Definite Goals You Want to Achieve

A negotiation can turn ugly quickly when both parties are unclear on what they want to achieve. Even before the negotiation starts, be clear about what you want to achieve. Explain your side calmly and provide reasons for your decisions.

You should also be clear on what is not negotiable too. This will make you even more prepared if there is a possible solution that doesn’t appeal to you. Don’t be afraid to let them know your limits. Communicate in a non-confrontational tone, but speak in a tone that shows you stand by your decisions. This is the difference between being assertive (positive action) and aggressive (negative action).

Be an Active Listener and Show You Understand

Just as you want to be heard, so do they. Practice active listening and rephrase their questions. This way you are letting them know that you are understanding their opinion and that you are open to discussion. Ask open-ended questions to get to know more about how they are feeling. Asking the right questions can help you navigate the negotiation towards a resolution.

Avoid Getting Emotional

Don’t get emotional and burst into tears if you want to look like a confident negotiator. Being emotional does not have a place in a smart, professional negotiation. Getting emotional just makes you lose power, even if you think you might be using it to make them feel sorry for you.

Unfortunately, it can make you look weak or manipulative. So keep your feelings in check. Plus, if you get overly emotional it may cloud your judgment and you could end up not making the decisions you intended to.

Come Up with Win-Win Solutions

A successful negotiation is one where both parties are happy with the resolution. Both sides should work together to come up with a win-win solution so that no one walks away as a winner or a loser. Aim to come up with a creative solution that benefits both. Negotiating is all about getting a good deal for both sides, especially if you want to preserve your relationship with the other party.

If the negotiation does not go well, you might want to give it another try at another time, when both parties are more receptive and cooperative in finding a resolution. Forcing both parties to ‘agree’ to an outcome despite their hesitations is not a good idea.

Being a good negotiator is a valuable skill. Are you going to practice? Being able to clearly communicate with another person is a skill you will benefit from all your life.