Negotiate Like A Pro... In 5 Easy Steps

Need to get what you want from your boyfriend, bank manager or boss? Don’t even start that conversation till you’ve read this...


Need to get what you want from your boyfriend, bank manager or boss? Don’t even start that conversation till you’ve read this...

If you get 100% of what you want 100% of the time, stop reading now.

Still here? Thought so. Let's face it we all have to make compromises on a daily and even hourly basis, because whether you like it or not, life is a series of small conflicts. From who books the cinema tickets for your night out to who gets to speak first in an office meeting.

But if done expertly, negotiation resolves conflict quickly, and efficiently - with the added bonus of getting you the outcome you want.

Annabel Shorter from Scotwork - the world's largest independent negotiation consultancy - works with top global organisations and high profile individuals to perfect their negotiating skills.

‘A skilled negotiator has a clear set of goals, is not afraid of asking for what they need, takes ‘no’ in their stride and has alternatives to create value to their argument,’ she says.

It takes practice to become a pro. Here we break down her top 5 ball-breaking steps to the perfect negotiation every time.

 Here's how to ask for what you want - and get it!

1) Pin down what exactly it is that you want.

Sounds obvious, but so many businesses executives I sit down with enter a negotiation not really knowing for sure the objectives and ideal outcome.

This is the most critical thing to figure out early on. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will lead you there. You want flexible working? How flexible and how will it work? You want a better bonus? How much? Is that credible? Do your homework to make sure that your objective is stretching but realistic.

If you want a promotion for example, consider exactly how much extra work and hours you’re prepared to put in and the sacrifices you’re willing to make to get it. Once you’ve established this, tell your boss how this impacts on the profits of your company and what’s in it for them.

2) Ask for it.

So many of us are afraid to take control and ask for what we want. In a negotiating situation, we allow the other side to go first. Whether it's at work or at home, don’t let the other person take the initiative.

If he asks where you want to go for dinner, instead of referring back to him with ‘dunno what do you fancy?’ and then getting frustrated because he suggests the same old sushi joint, drive the conversation from your end. Making proposals and driving the negotiation process is one of the most critical things we can do to get better outcomes. Put your proposal down first – perhaps even 2-3 suggestions you’d be happy with and go from there.

3) Don’t be afraid of the ‘no’!

Working with a new business executive recently who was an incredible networker, I was amazed and in awe of her ability to create conversations with apparent strangers which often turned into business opportunities. When I asked her what her secret was she said not being afraid of being rejected.

Her view was that if you don’t ask you don’t get. The worst thing that could happen is they’re not interested and you move on, she told me.

This is something that comes easier to men. But a lot of us go through life fearing the word no. Why? Its crazy. If you hear no, release your inner child and try to find a way round it. Do kids see 'no' as the end of the discussion or the start of it? Follow any 'no' with a great question to unlock or find a way round the no. “What would I need to do for you in order to turn that no into a yes?”

4) What else can I get?

Having a clear goal is good, having a clear goal and alternatives in how to achieve it is even better. So you feel that you’re undervalued at work and want a pay rise. But you discover from your boss that there is a pay freeze because the company is not performing well despite your best efforts. You could accept your fate, or of course you could ask for other value creating items in return for accepting no increase. Working from home one day a week, on the job training from your line director, courses that will equip you for that pay rise and promotion in your next job. Don’t accept that there is only one way to feel valued. Get creative about other ways to achieve your goal and push for those.

5) Dont apologise! 

Last but not least, say what you want clearly, concisely and confidently and without framing your request with the words 'I'm sorry but', or 'I just wondered if'. And use eye contact.

For tickets to see Annabel Shorter at marieclaire@worklive visit Marie Claire

Editor in Chief

Andrea Thompson is Editor in Chief at Marie Claire UK and was named by We are the City as one of the UKs top 50 trailblazers for her work championing gender equality.

Andrea has worked as a senior journalist for a range of publications over her 20 year career including The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, Channel 4, Glamour and Grazia. At Marie Claire UK, Andrea oversees content, strategy and campaigns across fashion, beauty and the brand's purpose pillars. She is a keen advocate of women's empowerment, sustainability and diversity and is a regular speaker at events on these themes. She sits on the committee of the British Society of Magazine Editors where she acts as Vice Chair and looks after Diversity and Inclusion and regularly mentors young women from under represented communities trying to break into the media industry. Follow her on instagram at @andreacanwrite