Three skills for better negotiation

Negotiating is a make-or-break skill, whether you’re a CEO in charge of a merger or a parent trying to sort out a sibling squabble.

Follow these tips to negotiate agreements productively and without stress:

• Keep an open mind. Brainstorm ideas. Listen to outlandish proposals. Entertain unusual possibilities. Thiswill expand opportunities for agreement.

• Treat people fairly. When people feel you’re being fair with them, they’re more likely to make real commitments. If they think you’re trying to cheat them, they’ll walk away in a huff. You won’t get commitment unless the other party feels you’re sincerely trying to do what’s right.

• Listen actively. Don’t plan what you’re going to say while the other side is talking.  Pay attention to what they’re saying so you know where they’re coming from and what they really want. When your response makes it clear that you’ve really been listening, they’ll be more willing to listen to your proposals.

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