The Best Way to Negotiate Successfully

When I got laid off in 2009 I faced two choices: hunt down a similar job in the thick of a recession, or say ‘screw it!’ and become self-employed.

Both paths made my stomach turn. Both carried tons of rejection. Neither guaranteed long-term security.

But only one gave me the opportunity to earn more. A lot more. And the flexibility to call my own shots.

And that was to become an entrepreneur and start my own business.

Of course, this would also involve brushing up on my negotiation skills. In the early days of starting my business, a major challenge was establishing my own fees and answering the all-too open-ended question: “What is your rate?”

How much could I actually charge? How could I convincingly ask for more money from a client?

Somehow, intuitively, I figured that the best way to prepare for a negotiation was to imagine myself in the other person’s shoes and really get inside their head to learn: How might they react if I asked for more money? What would be their objections? What would they want to know before agreeing to my fees?

Some good old fashion role-playing usually gave me the perspective I needed to ask appropriately and successfully.

My intuitions weren’t too far off.

In a recent #SoMoney conversation with Harvard professor Daniel Shapiro, author of the new book, “Negotiating the Nonnegotiable,” we learn why pretending to be the person on the receiving end of your request for more money (or a promotion) is the single most powerful step we can take to master the art of negotiation. 

And Dan would know. Not only does he work with individuals to help them better negotiate their pay and positions, he’s also advised CEOs and leaders of war-torn countries.

In almost any conflict – and especially conflicts in business and work – you can create resolutions with empathy and understanding, he says.

Sounds so simple, right?

Yet, we rarely use these tactics in the heat of a negotiation. We think so much about what WE want and what WE deserve. But what about the other party?

This episode is one of my favorites and a must-listen if you’re getting ready to make your case for a raise at work. [And good luck!!]

– Farnoosh

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