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  • Jharna Jagtiani

5 Pro Tips To Focus On What You Can Control in a Negotiation

Updated: Nov 19, 2023


Just like in any nerve-wracking situation, in a negotiation there are certain factors you can and cannot control.

In a negotiation, concentrate on what you can control. Like any other stressful situation, a negotiation has variables you can and cannot control. Concentrate on what you can control. Isn't it simple? It will be with these 5 pointers! You can prepare for specific items in a negotiation so that you are ready and in control of as much as possible. Before, during, and after a negotiation, concentrate on what you can control.

Here are some things you can control in a negotiation:Â

  1. The amount of research you do

  2. How much time do you spend preparing/practising / *practice counteroffers?

  3. Your 3 numbers

  4. A ready list of your skills and accomplishments with examples

  5. Your emotions (calming and anxiety-reducing strategies)

Focus Tip #1: The amount of research you do

You can enter your negotiation prepared, unprepared, or somewhere in the middle. But I'm guessing you want to come prepared, right? That is something you have control over, so do it. What kind of negotiation research should you conduct? You should figure out exactly what you want to ask for in your negotiation. Have you figured it out yet? If it's a monetary amount, you can look it up on salary websites. Enter "top salary websites" into your search engine and follow the results. Make sure to consider things like experience, location, and company size when conducting this research.


That is just the start. If you want to know if your request is reasonable (for example, is your request far too low? Is it too high? Is that correct? Check-in with your coworkers (How do you know?). Tell them what you're going to ask for and what they think of it. If they laugh, inquire as to what they would change. If they agree, you could go a little higher. You make the call. Cold message people on LinkedIn if you don't already work there. Sounds risky, doesn't it? But what do you have to lose except more preparation and research? Many people have been in your shoes, and you might be surprised at who is willing to assist you. Be gentle and give it a shot. Online research is not the same as asking real people for information. Keep this in mind and try to gather as much information as possible from legitimate sources (not just internet websites).

Focus Tip #2: How much time do you spend preparing and practicing

Have you practised your request now that you know what you're going to ask for thanks to your extensive research? Not only in your head but also out loud. I'm not kidding. Hearing your words come out of your mouth makes a difference. Practice in front of the mirror and aloud. The following step is to practise on your cat. After that, a genuine human being. Then solicit feedback. If they're willing, role-play with them. Another good idea is to record yourself and then replay it. Where do you sound assured? Where could you make your argument stronger?

Bonus Tip: Practice counteroffers

What if they refuse? How could they refuse? In some ways, it could be considered part of their job. So brace yourself. People (bosses) are initially hesitant to hand out more money at work. Practice saying no to the other person. How will you react? You don't want to simply say "okay" and walk away. You came to get what you want!


Focus Tip #3: Your 3 numbers

What are the 3 numbers, you ask? Great question.

The 3 numbers are:

1. Asking price - The asking price is higher than the price you desire. Aim for the stars. If it is not monetary, it is expressed in another way. Are you requesting an additional two weeks of vacation? Why not make it three?

2. Desired price - This is the price you desire. You asked for a higher price than you wanted, so if they lower your price, you'll be fine because you were expecting and prepared for this process. Non-monetary example: If you requested three weeks more of vacation and they negotiated you down to two weeks, that is ideal because you originally requested two weeks.

3. Walk away price - You walk away if this price (or other standard) is not met. This is your lowest accepted price in a salary negotiation. Depending on the circumstances, this is the lowest price you will accept. You walk if this price is not met. Maybe you shouldn't "walk" in your situation. Perhaps it is to work on another item to be negotiated. It could be to complete a project with distinction and then return to the subject. You determine the next step in your situation. In a negotiation, having your three numbers ready is an important factor you can control.


Focus Tip #4: A ready list of your skills and accomplishments with examples

Make certain you have examples to back up your request. You don't want to just walk into the office (or Zoom meeting) and say, "Hey, I'd like this much." Ideally, you should provide multiple examples to demonstrate the value you've provided. You'd like to start with that. Lead with all of the wonderful things you've done for them and the value you bring in a variety of ways. A list will help you feel prepared and confident, and it is an important item to help you focus on what you can control in a negotiation.


Focus Tip #5: Your emotions (calming and anxiety-reducing strategies)

Most people are naturally nervous in this situation. So... brace yourself! Maintain emotional control by arming yourself with calming and anxiety-reduction techniques. For different people, this means different things. Do whatever you need to do to get in the right mindset and calm yourself: read your favourite quote, meditate, listen to your favourite song, strike a power pose.


Practice remaining calm in stressful situations as well. A good tip is to take deep breaths. Keep water nearby. Prepare to hear NO (and how you will respond). That can be a calming strategy in and of itself. Knowing that silence is acceptable during a negotiation is also a useful reminder. If you're having a virtual conversation, you might be clutching a stress ball. You've practised aloud, which can help to calm your nerves (don't skip this step!). In a negotiation, this is an important way to focus on what you can control.


Put It All Together & Focus on What You Can Control in a Negotiation

You can do it. In a negotiation, there is a lot you can't control (like your boss, the budget, a response, precedence, mood, etc.). However, you have a lot of power. In a negotiation, concentrate on what you can control. It's a decision. You've got it. Negotiate for your worth by focusing on what you can control in a negotiation.

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