A common misconception healthcare providers have about negotiation is that it’s just for business, or employment contracts. While that’s a part of it, it’s so much more. In fact, you already use negotiation on a daily basis…with your patients, your children, your partner and a host of other individuals and businesses. Winning at negotiation means that it’s a win-win for all parties involved. It does not necessarily mean that you will get everything you want.
While space does not allow us to go into depth, let me share 5 steps you’ll want to consider the next time you are going to negotiate for a big employment contract, with your teenager to clean his/her room, or that new car you’ve had your eye on.
1. Identify the objectives of the negotiation and what the priorities are. Often times negotiation may take place in steps. Understand what your #1, #2 and #3 priority is.
2. Get clear on what it is you really want vs what you feel you need. Those “need” items are generally the ones you’ll put in stone whereas the “want” items may be available for give and take.
3. What’s the bottom line? Where will you draw the line in the sand? You’ll want to know this upfront. If that line is crossed, and you agree, you just won’t be happy. It’s important you have a backup alternative already in mind, rather than stepping all over your bottom line.
4. Prepare, prepare, prepare. While it’s important for you to understand your objectives and desires, it’s equally important that you understand the desires and objectives of your “opponent”.
5. Listen. As healthcare providers we are also trained active listeners. Listen for the what the other person wants. Just like getting a history from our patients, listening will often tell you exactly what you need to know.
Mastering negotiation takes preparation, practice and more practice. Remember, you already negotiate on a daily basis, now it’s time to step it up a notch.
Share your experiences with negotiation below.