4 Tips for Rocking the Representational Negotiation - Lean In Canada

Our last event took on negotiation and stripped it of its enigma. On the subject of asking for more, we focused on ways you can maximize outcomes by mastering the art and science of negotiation.

Negotiation can be tough, but unlocking its potential can take you to places you may have never thought possible. It is well documented that women find negotiations to be challenging, yet, research also shows that women perform better when advocating for others through representational negotiations.

Negotiation on behalf of a community is easier. It does not feel at all like a selfish gesture, as some types of negotiation tend to feel like to women. All in all, negotiations of this nature are a big task, often with a lot a stake. Only by following the basic tenets of successful negotiations can you tackle such a job.

What steps make up the backbone of the representational negotiation process? Find out below.

  1. Visualize your outcome before you do anything else

Before you get to the heavy lifting, you’ll want to know why you are negotiating and what you are negotiating. Simply ask yourself: what do I want to accomplish? Your answer should be clear and concise. It is what will guide the rest of the process.

This is also the time where you will assess the situation from all possible angles. Think of the potential benefits, as well as the potential costs that could result from the negotiation. Begin to conjure expectations. Get ready to dip your feet in the pool.

  1. Put together a thorough plan

Do your research. Understand your perspective to its core. Explore all the tools and styles you can leverage to get what you would like to achieve. Brainstorm some ways to influence your management team. Then put together your plan of action.

Get creative with your problem solving and use data as your main weapon. You’ll want to be able to provide valuable information to truly sway your counterparty. Most importantly, you’ll want to prepare for counterarguments. This is where it pays off to really understand the perspective and interests of your counterparty just as well as your own.

  1. Build support for your plan from your team

There is power in a multitude of voices. Involving others in your negotiation process will make them feel like part of a solution, and might help you find even more arguments for your proposal. When negotiating for change in an organization, it’s important to display that you care about the larger team and the company rather than appear to merely represent individual interests.

This is where Sheryl Sandberg’s “I-We” strategy comes best into play. Sheryl asks us to “think personally, act communally.” This strategy allows you to show the counterparty that you are on the same team and establishes your credibility.

  1. Be firm and confident in your presentation

This part can get tricky, but if you have followed all the previous steps, you can be confident in the arguments that you are bringing forth. At this point, you need to engage your counterpart. You have to deliver the new information, your proposal and its terms, as well as in-depth questions. Asking questions is integral in this stage, it will show that you are listening and it will help you better align your common interests.

Another tool you’ll need to employ in this stage is silence. Let that awkward silence steep in – don’t talk yourself out of a good deal. Lastly, be prepared to negotiate strongly for alternatives that will help you achieve your goals. Be open to building compromises and new solutions, but stay committed to your goals. As Margaret A. Neale, says, “The goal of a negotiation is not to get a deal but a good deal.”


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