Of all the insights I’ve had about having happy work, I think the most important one is this: instead of being frustrated, negotiate.
The problem is that most people haven’t ever learned anything about negotiation. If you’ve never taken a class or had a mentor, your idea of a negotiation might be haggling over price at a car dealership.
So here are my top three practical tips for better negotiations, plus a bonus insight that will change the way you see the world.
1. The story of your negotiation is not about price. Your negotiation is the story of the value someone else cares about that you can provide. Take the time to tell the other person about what you can do for them, from their perspective, in language that resonates with them. Talk about benefits, not costs. You have to agree on price, but don’t let that be the focus of the story.
2. Set your reservation price based on your best alternative, and your goal from the other party’s alternative. Said another way, your goal has nothing to do with your reservation price–they’re completely unrelated. Sometimes we have a tendency to set our goal based on what we want or need from the negotiation, but we should set it based on what the other person needs.
3. Make multiple equivalent packaged offers. If you make more than one offer, you can see how the other person in the negotiation values pieces of the negotiation differently than you do. By understanding this, you can create value by giving away things that you don’t mind providing in exchange for things you really want to have.
Plus one more bonus insight: Everything is a negotiation. Everything. If you don’t believe it, start, and you’ll be amazed at the results.