How do you become a fearless negotiator?

Even the most experienced negotiators feel jitters and fear when negotiating. Negotiate Without Fear, by Dr. Victoria Medvec, a renowned expert in high-stakes negotiation and advisor to Fortune 500 companies. It’s a must-read book that I often recommend to CEOs and C-level executives who coach with me.

Whether it’s a high-stakes business transfer, your paycheck, or just your kids’ bedtime, life is filled with negotiations. Medvec’s tactics are based on a compilation of studies from both sides of a negotiation. One side will lead the way by negotiating with confidence and maximizing success. The other is afraid of losing the deal and damaging the relationship.

It is important to build a negotiation strategy by considering at all times to meet the needs of the other party. The more you know about the other party’s interests, objectives, and options, the more power you have. When building your strategy, aim for these objectives:

Answer the other party’s questions and address their needs.

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State what makes yourself, your product or your service different and unique.

Build and grow the relationship with the other side.

Set ambitious goals to maximize your results.

Two powerful strategies that can favor your side when negotiating.

BATNA or “Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement”. This is your biggest source of power, namely preparing your options or your Plan B (or C, D and E). It’s also how you assess the other party’s or BATNA’s options and use them to establish your goal for the negotiation.

MESO or “Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Supply”. Would you rather have multiple offers, or rather, many ways to win? People often like choice and evaluating all options. You look sincere and cooperative and you are more strategic by thinking through all their needs and bringing more to the negotiating table.

The Five V’s of the Intrepid Negotiator:

Go first. Research tells us that whoever bids first usually has the advantage because you can take the lead.

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FOCUS on them by collecting the rationale that shows you how to meet their needs.

FRAME your offer correctly in terms of potential losses, rather than emphasizing the benefits, to create a sense of urgency on the other side and act in your favor. This will prevent them from staying in the comfort of the status quo.

Be FLEXIBLE by offering different options to lead any deal to an agreement. Work on “how” and not “if” we work together.

Avoid FEEBLE offers. Be solid and clear about your offer and share ways you can help them achieve their goals, rather than waiting for them to propose a new offer.

There is a point where you have to end the negotiation with a commitment tactic around “the board only approved this” or “I am only authorized to go so far”. In this way, you are saying that the deal must be done now and that you are not closing the door to further discussions, but that you must stick to the settlement you are discussing.

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What works for me is that I try to remember that the other side is scared too. They are only people like you are. Negotiation usually starts with “no” and should not be seen as a wall, but as an opportunity. Your goal is to boost your confidence and maximize your results by testing the boundary conditions and pushing back the other way.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not’s.

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