Negotiation is a skill so important, yet one that I thought I do not need as I am not a salesman, well, so I thought!

The January 2018, Global Leadership Lab- Immersion session offered orientation on various Leadership topics to the Atlas Corps Fellows, and I thought, I had previous knowledge of all the topics discussed except when it got to negotiation. Given an exercise to split into 3 groups, A, B and C, A being the best group, of which I happened to be in, we pretty much thought we would EASILY WIN the negotiation as we were the strongest team; who doesn’t want to partner with the best player? Lo and behold! The shocking reality is that we lost the game because we thought too highly of ourselves and ended up missing all the important things.

In real life, we negotiate a lot of times with our employers, donors, friends, spouses and children among others. It is important NOT to over value ourselves and what we have to offer the other party but we have to be prepare well for the negotiation and be ready to listen. Some important things to consider when preparing for a negotiation are:
1. Gather as much information about the subject at hand
2. Have a goal in the negotiation and stick to it, with some flexibility of course
3. Plan for all possible outcomes of the negotiation to manage the element of surprise.
4. Confidence! This cannot be overstated, just be careful not to cross the line and become proud.
5. Balance between self interest and the interest of the other party, it has to be a win-win for both parties.
6. Practice before you go into any negotiation.
7. Be objective and more level headed all throughout the process.

Indeed, a great leader, should be a good negotiator, this skill is not only for salesmen. I will end with a quot from Aristotle, “first have a definite clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, material, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.”

Happy negotiating.!