How to create win-win conversations.

Negotiation StylesIf your conversations are continually coming back to price and money, you’re competing. It’s all about how you apportion profit between you.

With collaborative, or "win-win" negotiation the conversation revolves around opportunity, growth and potential value. The focus is on how you could grow the profits for both of you.

The two styles lead to two very different outcomes, and which style you adopt is a choice that you and your counterpart subconsciously make, based on one factor: connection.

The sole basis of any win-win negotiation is a personal connection between the two parties. It’s what makes collaboration possible, and it’s what makes both parties strive to make it work.

Here are three simple steps for building that essential connection:

Share openly: Begin by building a feeling of trust between the two of you through confiding a few things about yourself and your organisation. Not so much that you dominate the conversation, or give away all your secrets, but enough to start the ball rolling.

Get them talking: The best conversationalists spend most of their time “active-listening”. That means asking open questions about what your counterpart is saying, particularly drawing them on their beliefs and values, their pressures and pre-conceptions, how they like to work, and what they really want out of life, and out of their job. When they say what they want from you, you need to understand why. The more you understand, the more you can anticipate, delight and later, leverage.

Make them think: Find a way to challenge their thinking and get them to see you as someone who really knows their stuff, and can help them see things in a different way. Make yourself an object of interest – someone they actually want to spend time with.

BOTTOM LINE: It’s not easy to do all three in a 30 minute meeting, especially if the other person is intent on hammering you about your prices or their latest products, but unless you can, you’re always going to be operating at that competitive end of the relationship scale.