The Ultimate, Simple Guide for Managing Difficult Conversations 

Negotiating is a difficult task for all participants, especially when it is known in advance that the conversation can be difficult. While reaching mutual understanding is almost always a challenge, with the help of the right preparation, you can minimise the risks of failure in conversations and also turn the final outcome in your favour. Below you will find a simple guide that will help you prepare for even the most difficult negotiations easily and effectively.

how to prepare for difficult conversations

Business negotiations are a whole art. Keeping the right conversation manner is also skill on the verge of art and talent. Nevertheless, planning and preparing can become your secret weapon in any negotiations or conversations. Gathering preliminary information as well as preparing a so-called scenario is a must if you have to face difficult negotiations or conversations. Let’s do it right step by step.

Collect the Required Information

A good negotiator always tries to find out as much additional information as possible. For example, when concluding a business deal in another country, it is vital to learn all the details about the characteristics of the market, its dynamics, and so on.

When talking with a business partner, it is necessary to study the views of the opposite side and their interests. At first glance, an insignificant trifle can be decisive and important. So there is a need to pay attention to everything. A preliminary “dossier” is something that can be the key to winning even in the most difficult negotiations.

Designate Intentions

For successful conversations, it is important to know the true intentions of both parties. You need to understand why your partner wants to negotiate a discount, for example. Understanding the interests and intentions opens up more options when reaching a mutual understanding.

Understanding your partner’s intentions will create a winning partnership for you. Perhaps your partner wants to get an SEO analysis for free due to the costly final amount of the project. Perhaps a 50% discount offer will suit both you and your partner. Define the goals and think about how you use them to benefit your company.

Suggest an Alternative

Before you sit down at the negotiating table, you should be ready with an alternative. What will be the second plan? If you don’t have an understanding of what to do when things go wrong, the other side will feel it.

Therefore, no matter what kind of negotiations you have – you have to prepare a backup plan. Even the most seemingly simple negotiations can go wrong suddenly, and if there is no prepared alternative, the advantage will be lost.

Designate Potential Agreement Zones

The zone of a potential agreement is one of the conditions for a successful negotiation. This is a space that suits everyone in any negotiations. For example, if the seller is ready to sell their goods for $50-70, and the buyer is ready to buy for $40-60, then their agreement zone will be from $50 to $60. Due to the precise designation of a certain zone of agreement, it is much easier to achieve favourable conditions for both parties.

This approach is suitable for any subject of negotiations, not only when it comes to commerce and not only in terms of money. Try to figure out the zone of potential agreement in the negotiations. This can be done with the help of initial data regarding the other party.

Define Negotiation Strategies

Depending on the type of negotiations, it is necessary to choose the right strategy. Sometimes you need to go for confrontation, sometimes for cooperation. Choosing the optimal strategy is one of the tasks of a good negotiator.

What influences the choice of the optimal strategy? First, the context in which you and the other side are. Secondly, it can be the goal to maintain good relations. Third, your opponent’s negotiating style and personality type.

Focus on Time

In the negotiation world, you need to be able to manage the concept of time. For example, during negotiations, you may not react quickly and get to the point for a long time, and your opponent will have time to come up with an alternative behaviour or a new strategy during the same time. This may end up with the undesired result of negotiation.

To stay at the top, consider in advance how much time you can spend on providing your arguments, listening to the opponent’s arguments, and reaching additional agreements. Hard timing is what will make difficult negotiations effective without the right of an alternative for the opposite side.

Close Negotiations Properly

Any negotiations must be ended correctly. Depending on the outcome of the negotiation process, various techniques help to leave on a good note and continue cooperation in the future.

The simplest but most effective advice on how to close a negotiation is feedback and gratitude. Let the interlocutor speak or sum up the meeting if it is important for them. Thank the interlocutor for their time and send a letter about the agreements reached after negotiations. In this letter, you can also note the next steps of cooperation.

Learn Techniques from Psychology

If you often encounter negotiations, then it is worth delving into the study of psychology. This will allow you to master psychological techniques that will help in any negotiations. For example, in the first five minutes of negotiations, it is possible to predict their outcome. Let’s imagine that you start the negotiations. During this time, the other party tries to guess if you believe what you are saying. During this time, the other party is thinking about the strategy of negotiation.

Try to win the attention and trust from the very beginning so that the other party does not interrupt you. Also, you should always start negotiations first. This way, you can start the conversation with the things that are important to you. Your first sentence can turn the conversation in the right direction. In addition, from the psychological aspect, such an approach will demonstrate self-confidence to the other side.

So, delve into psychology to find even more useful tips. This will help you to improve your weakness in the negotiation process.

Wrapping Up

So, now you have a simple guide that will help to deal with challenging negotiations or conversations. Have you ever tried tips from the guide? Share your experience to help others with organising their negotiation and conversation process efficiently.

Author: Christine Tomas – Tech Expert, Consultant, and Writer, Howly

Photo credit: charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

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