Thursday, February 3, 2011

SPEAK EASY NOTE #48 - Win-Win Negotiation Communications

It feels like a very good sign that I have been helping a number of clients manage job offer salary negotiations. There may be real momentum finally in the job market that will bring down the unemployment statistics and fuel our weakened economy. Since this is a topic I've yet to write about in Speak Easy Notes, I'm choosing it for this week’s topic. Even if you aren’t involved in a salary negotiation for a new job or up for a promotion and a raise in your current professional role, everyone faces numerous negotiations in daily life and having communication guidelines for effective negotiations is actually beneficial to all.

The following except from SPEAK EASY, The Communication Guide for Career and Life Success will provide a wonderful array of communication choices for ease in negotiation:

Win-Win Wins Again

Here’s a list incorporating the style of language variations that will increase the likelihood of getting the most in a negotiation. Using these types of communications will also enhance how the other person in the negotiation sees what he or she’s gaining and giving up. And lastly, these approaches will go a long way to keep interactions from escalating into conflict.

>“Let’s keep talking so that we can get this right for both of us.”

> “Here are the topics we need to find ways to reach agreement about.”

> “I’m committed to finding the right way to make this happen.”

> “I know we can determine how to reach our goals in a way that will be good for both of us.”

> “I’m confident we can agree on … .”

> “Let’s examine ways to do XXX so we can finalize our agreement.”

> “Let’s look at how to make this equitable for everyone involved.”

Opposites Compete

It’s human nature to see circumstances from a one-sided and personal perspective. To reach agreement in a conflict or in a negotiation requires looking beyond self-interest and finding a balance that incorporates collaboration, compromise and inclusion. This requires focusing on your own goals without doing so at the expense of others, without sacrificing someone else’s well-being for your own advancement.

If reaching agreement is the true objective instead of creating a winner and loser, the likelihood of using effective communication and completing a successful negotiation in a timely manner increases dramatically.

About Those Numbers: The Money Game

When it comes to negotiating your annual salary increase or your new job compensation package, there are some hard and fast communication rules that can increase a good outcome.

> Whenever possible, postpone the discussion of numbers until after an offer has been made.

> Do your homework and know what the salaries and compensation ranges are REALISTICALLY in your field and in your geography.

>Name ranges rather than a specific number if you’re compelled to state compensation numbers.

>Without greed as the goal, ask what the employer’s flexibility is.

Here are communications that match these guidelines:

> “Let’s talk about salary later. I‘m so interested in hearing more about this position. I know we’ll be able to agree on numbers when we’re at the point where we both agree this is exactly the right position for me.”

> “What’s the range for this position? I’d be very interested in hearing more about that.”

> “When I began this job search, I promised myself I’d keep my salary history and all compensation numbers out of the conversations I’d have with people. I want to make sure my decision and my future employer’s decision about a job offer is based on how right the fit is and how much value I’ll bring to the company. I know we’ll be able to agree on the numbers if everything else is right.”

> “I began my career at XYZ when I was eighteen years old, just out of high school. I put myself through college at night and have continued to work for XYZ until now. My salary there today is based on my starting salary as a high school graduate, in spite of the fact that all of my clients are Fortune 500 corporations and all of the accounts I manage are multi-million-dollar accounts. Based on my research and success, I know my value in the job market today is in the mid six figure range.”

> “I did extensive research and spoke to people I respect highly to get your name. The reason I’m speaking to you today is because of your outstanding reputation as an executive recruiter. I know you’ve been placing key people in my industry and are an expert on what the right compensation range would be for a professional with the background and experience that I have. Since I’ve worked for XYZ since I was eighteen years old, my salary there today is based on my starting salary as a high school graduate. What do you see as the range for someone with my background and expertise who manages Fortune 500 multi-million dollar accounts? I know because of how successful you are that you have your finger right on the pulse of the marketplace and really know what the right range is for someone like me.”

> “I’m so pleased with this offer. I’ve thought about all that we discussed very carefully and see how good a fit this is and how well I’ll be able to do xxxxxxx, yyyyyyy, and zzzzzzz. I am particularly pleased about qqqqqqq. There are some topics I’d like to talk more to you about. Please describe further blah, etc. and blah. What is your flexibility on the compensation for this position? I am especially interested in hearing how you see the components we just discussed as they relate to the compensation. Let’s keep talking about all of this so we can make this right for both of us and finalize our agreement.”

Balance Isn’t Always Equal

Reaching an equitable or satisfactory agreement usually has pluses and minuses for both sides. Since self-interest is a primary human objective, the views and goals on either side of a negotiation are unlikely to be identical. Rather than look for a 50/50 exactly-equal deal, it’s better to define what’s desirable and equitable in terms of priorities, weighting of importance and long-term objectives. Going into a negotiation with as much definition and clarity as possible will provide perspective and objectivity which are challenging to maintain in a demanding negotiation or conflict resolution situation.

Until next time,
The Wordsmith

1 comment:

  1. Very timely...just used some of your language in a very sensitive report!
    Thanks for your valuable insight (as usual)!