In the world of an event planning professional there are many negotiations to be made. Negotiating with event facilities for the best deal, negotiating with your board on the destination of your next event, negotiating with your boss about your event budget, and on and on and on. Yes, negotiating is part of doing business, but negotiating well is more – it’s an art. Being a good negotiator is critical to your success so here are some winning tips on negotiating like a pro. These tips work for anything, whether you're negotiating with a tough-minded colleague over a big deal or with your husband over getting ice cream after dinner.
1) Ask for what you want: Time is precious. You don’t want to waste yours and nobody wants you to waste theirs, so make sure it’s clear what both sides want out of negotiations from the start. Be assertive and remember, the old adage is true - everything is negotiable.
2) Think BIG: Start your negotiation by aiming high and asking for more than you think you can really get. If you expect to get more, you'll end up getting more. It’s easier to come down on price and make some concessions than it is to start low and try to ask for more.
3) Listen carefully. Even if you have strong opinions on a matter it’s important to listen to the other side's case. Ask probing questions to determine their motivation, why they want the outcome they do, and what roadblocks prevent them from moving to your winning scenario. It sounds simple, but just hearing someone is not the same as listening. Truly focus on listening to understand, not just to respond.
4) Don't take it personally: Even if the issue is personal, don’t take the negotiation personally. In its truest form a negotiation is meant to create a solution to a problem. Try to see things from the other person's perspective. Try something unique like mirror their communication style. They'll most likely find it disarming. Keep a calm demeanor and tone even if things get heated. As the saying goes you can attract more bees with honey than vinegar.