What is the Meaning of Negotiation? How Can I Improve?
Many find it difficult to begin a negotiation. They ask: what is the meaning of negotiation? What does it actually mean to negotiate? When is it acceptable to negotiate? And, how do I start a negotiation?
In today’s business world, negotiation requires tact as well as assertiveness. This can make getting started difficult. However, negotiation is a vital tool to success, one you should take the time to master.
By understanding negotiation, when to apply it, and how to begin, you can manage the give-and-take of any deal.
Here’s what you should know.
Negotiation Definition and Meaning
Before we start, let’s take a quick look at negotiation meaning as it is defined in the dictionary:
According to the Cambridge English dictionary, the meaning of negotiation is:
“The process of discussing something with someone in order to reach an agreement with them, or the discussions themselves.”
What Does Negotiation Mean in Modern Business?
So what exactly is a negotiation? Maybe one of the first things you think of is a hostage situation. Don’t worry, business deals aren’t nearly as scary or as high stakes, but they do require a bit of conflict.
This can be the tricky part if you’re not the most assertive of individuals. Fortunately, negotiations are all about reaching an agreement that works for both parties. They require concessions and compromises to come to an understanding.
Negotiations are an art form, one that usually requires reading the body language and attitude of the other party. If that stresses you out—good news! The virtual nature of the COVID-19 business world means your negotiations will likely take place over phone, Zoom, or email for a long time to come.
Yet, this doesn’t change the nature of a negotiation. Regardless of how you’re conducting your negotiations, you should always stick to a careful plan of attack:
- Thoroughly prepare. Negotiation preparation takes talking to account managers, accountants, inventory managers, and more to know exactly what is needed and what concessions can be made.
- Know who you’re negotiating with. It’s not like you have to know all your suppliers or buyers personally, but knowing exactly what they’re after is key to a successful negotiation.
- Find common ground. Understanding what you and the other party can agree upon will be essential in coming to a mutually beneficial result.
- Seek a win-win scenario. Negotiations are so much easier if everybody wins. No one wants to feel they’ve come away cheated. Find something the other party values more than your company values it, and trade for something your company values more than theirs does.
Negotiation is a necessity in today’s market, especially as economies tighten and supply and demand challenges plague the grocery industry, among others. Understand when negotiation is useful, and give it your best.
When Is Negotiation Acceptable?
Negotiations aren’t just for making deals. In fact, a negotiation is an acceptable form of communication whenever a problem arises in the business world and, to find a solution, all stakeholders can come to mutual agreement.
Negotiation is one of the most desirable skills in the modern workforce because it allows you to:
- Resolve conflict with both employees and customers.
- Maintain relationships.
- Receive better rates over time.
- Protect your business and professional reputation.
This makes negotiation acceptable in times in which the values of partners do not necessarily align. When one party says ‘no,’ the negotiation can begin, finding common ground and a win-win scenario. This may occur in conflict resolution, supplier dealings, wage talks, and much more.
No one wants to feel taken advantage of. A negotiation is an appropriate way for two or more parties to state their needs and the concessions they are willing to make in order to achieve beneficial results. You can even engage in negotiation through text or email, as long as you make sure your language is clear and both parties are on the same page.
To drive strong, clear agreements, reiterate your (and your negotiating partner’s) wants and concessions. Anytime you feel you are not being offered an appropriate value for goods and services, a transparent negotiation will help create a scenario both parties can come away happy with.
Tips for Successful Negotiating
You understand what negotiation is. You are ready to negotiate when appropriate. Now, how do you make the most out of a negotiation? While mutually beneficial agreements might be tricky to reach, these tips can help you refine your negotiating tactics and strategy.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare. Honing your negotiation skills through training and education will help you ensure you get the best deals for your business.
- Go for clarity and brevity. Do you like reading long emails or dealing with long-winded messages? No. Nobody does. Keep your messaging to the point.
- Don’t stand for antagonistic tones or language. Shut down inappropriate or hot-headed comments by reminding your negotiating partner of the professional nature of your discussion. Reinforce that you want a deal that works for both of you.
- Don’t let the silent treatment stop you. Hook your partner with timely offers or intriguing messaging to get them back in the conversation after ignored contact.
- Make clear and secure agreements. Ensure that all legally binding agreements are valid and verified. Create security checklists for e-signatures to ensure a proper procedure is followed. Record the specifics of a deal for convenient review.
Identifying and using the right tools and practices can help make you a better negotiator. In today’s market, every strategy that helps lift up not just you but your business partners can mean continued relationships and better deals.
As we conduct business increasingly virtually, brush up on your email and text negotiating skills. Know exactly what you’re looking to attain, then apply your skills when the time comes. By maintaining a win-win mindset, you can keep your business thriving even in a difficult economy.
For further tips and information, you can take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Negotiation Skills and our Negotiation Skills YouTube Channel. Also, check out our award-winning blog to see more Negotiation Skills Tips and articles.