When Nelson Mandela was in prison, the ANC-African National Congress, his political party was split up in different functions. Thanks to his negotiation skills, the party reunified.
In fact, Nelson Mandela was such a great negotiator that in May 1990 he went to a crucial meeting with the white majority government. He led a multiracial delegation of ANC members. He didn’t make demands. He didn’t shout into people’s faces. Instead, he negotiated by basically talking about the history of the white settlers in South Africa. He focused on their situation from what their point of view would be and from a historical point of view. The other party, with the white minority government representatives was so impressed by Nelson Mandela’s negotiation style, that they lifted the state of emergency. This paved the way for the first multi-ethnic elections in South Africa and the rise of the ANT to political power. From there, Mandela served as the president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
Negotiation is a very important factor in our life, which not only helps us achieve our goals, but also sends an important message about our personality, professionalism and emotional intelligence. The key of every successful negotiation is on the first point communication, but good communication skills will only open the door to negotiation. What will lead you through it and bring you to your final destination are many other details that are very often being completely underestimated. It’s not only about what you say but how you say it. It’s all about the presentation, the way you ‘pack your product’ and how you entitle it. Understand that you are the one who is controlling how people see you or what you’re offering, and it all depends on how you see it first and how do you perform it afterward.
”Negotiation and discussion are the greatest weapons we have for promoting peace and development.” Nelson Mandela
While it’s very important to be able to improvise, especially because the turn of events can happen anytime and one should always be prepared for the change of plans, it’s still very important to always have a game plan.
We often lose great deals or miss great offers just because we didn’t clear up first what is that we want to achieve and what our main target is. The flexibility is an important factor in negotiating, but you need to have the clear picture in your mind first. It doesn’t mean that you won’t accept anything but what you have on your mind, it only means that you know what you want and you are ready to negotiate for it. We often accept much less that we deserve just because we didn’t establish our target or goal first.
While you are prepared for the worst-expect the best. Your results will very often depend on your attitude and belief in your own negotiating skills. If you can’t believe your story and arguments, why would anyone else? So, while negotiating your way to your goal it’s important to expect to achieve what you came to achieve, because that is what will awaken the motivation. You are not coming to lose, your goal is to win while you are prepared for the challenges on your way. Your expectations mirror your self-confidence and motivate you for more. This doesn’t mean that you are wearing rose-coloured glasses or that you’re being unrealistically optimistic. High expectations boost your energy for achieving exactly what you want.
Even thought communication is the key of negotiating, it’s not all about talking. Actually, you will gain a tremendous competitive advantage if you listen carefully to what is said-pay attention. When you listen to people you give them respect. This will open the door to the better communication.
”One of the best ways to persuade others is by listening to them.” Dean Rusk
When it comes to the communication, what you say is not always the most important thing, but how you say it. What people pay a lot of attention in negotiating is the way you send the message, the keywords you use in order to express yourself clearly and the way you want to be understood. Your words will represent not only your personality but also your integrity, so control your words and use them as a tool. Words are spirits wrapt in sound, so chose your words wisely.
Finally, negotiating can be very stressful and exhausting sometimes. The very first reaction you get from the other party will often be negative or the rejection. Most people tend to develop stress during such situations, which only leads you further away from the deal and disable you to establish your reputation. Develop your own stress defence and take it as another reason to level up your presentation.
The number one test is if you are able to overcome hard times and situations like those. That is when it’s time to be neutral and not lose any time and energy on anything that is not leading you closer to your final destination.
”During a negotiation, it would be wise not to take anything personally. If you leave personalities out of it, you will be able to see opportunities more objectively.” Brian Koslow
Last but not least is the importance of BATNA. Do your research earlier and always come with a plan B. That’s when your BATNA, also known as Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement comes in. This will not only give you other options and make you feel more confident without negotiating, but it will also give you facts to share with your counterpart. There is a strong interplay between objective validation and subjective encouragement. Emphasize your BATNA, this would then qualify the other side which will lead you to getting a better deal.