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5 Simple (but Genius!) Tips to Negotiating Like a Pro

Tired of losing? Always follow these easy tips from expert Jeff Hoyt of to win negotiations whether you are home, at work, or on the used car lot.

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Prepare, practice, and playact

Do you have difficulty asserting yourself and do you constantly find yourself railroaded into deals that you didn’t want? Check out these tips for being more persuasive. Or are you the opposite—so difficult and inflexible that people won’t work with you? In either case, your negotiation skills could use some sharpening. Check out these five simple but genius negotiating tips.

A Q-Tip can’t help you negotiate, but this “P-Tip” will! Prepare, practice, and playact: Preparation produces positives. practice prevents panic. Playacting produces poise. If you don’t prepare for a negotiation, you will likely be reactive instead of, you guessed it, proactive.

Establish your interests in the negotiation before you begin. What is your starting position and what is the least that will you settle for? Playacting will help you decide what the other person’s interests are likely to be. Determine the things that are most important to you and things that you are willing to give up in good-faith negotiation.

To negotiate successfully, you must also be prepared to walk away if no deal is above your minimum acceptable limits. Do not cave in just to be done—and check out these options for swinging a good deal.

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Communicate and listen

It is important to establish good two-way communication. Do not talk past the other party, or fail to communicate what it is that you want or expect out of the negotiation. Communicate your points clearly and factually, and let the other party do the same without interruption or leading questions.

Restating important points and asking for confirmation establishes that you are truly listening, trying to understand the other party’s position, and want to make sure the statement is understood the same way by both parties. You may want to brush up on your listening skills. This can be especially important when negotiating with your teens.

As the other party realizes you are willing to listen but will not be bulldozed into an opinion, you will be perceived as an equal and the two of you can assume direct but fair negotiations.

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Develop your people skills

Non-verbal cues (such as body language) are extremely important. Work on maintaining eye contact and keeping a pleasant, relaxed demeanor regardless of what you are feeling. Wear your poker face!

Meanwhile, assess the personality of the other negotiating parties. Do they tend to be dominant and results-oriented? Are they more contemplative? Do they listen well? Are they unfocused? Do they like to shoot the breeze before getting down to business? More importantly, is their style like yours or opposite to yours? Opposite personalities may require a change in approach to a method that the other party understands and respects.

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Look for win-win situations and common ground

It is hard to build toward a negotiated goal when you are looking only at the differences. Start by assessing the common ground. It’s one of the secret tactics of naturally charming people. What goals do you have in common? Branch outward from there and you are far more likely to bridge gaps.

Acknowledge the valid points of the other party, and be flexible where you can—but stay well above your minimum limits. Do not default to the lowest acceptable point immediately or you have lost your remaining negotiating leverage.

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Build trust

If you do not think you can trust someone, it is very hard to negotiate a deal with that person—and he or she will feel the same about you. Try some of these tips for building trust, which include doing what you say you will do, even with the little things such as calling or meeting at an exact time.

If possible, make sure you give advance notice for changes and explain why there was a delay. Breezing into a meeting 15 minutes late without explaining and apologizing gives the impression that you are uninterested in the other party’s concerns, and they will be less likely to cooperate.

Practice these tips whenever possible and you should build stronger negotiating skills. You may not be able to establish peace in the Middle East, but perhaps you can walk off the car lot with the car and price that you wanted.

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