Everything in life is negotiable.

Every time I picked up this book, I came away inspired with a new perspective on negotiation. Getting More is riddled with real-life examples of simple tactics that help you make the most of any situation. You just have to try them. As the author Stuart Diamond says, once you learn to use these tools, it’s impossible to not use them in any given situation. Here are my key takeaways:

Define your goal.
It starts with why. There always needs to be a “why”, and your goal is just that. Everything you do should be helping you achieve your goal - keeping in mind that long-term relationships can and should be an important part of it. Know what you are trying to achieve before going into any situation, and you will already be ahead of 99% of other people.

Connect with people.
At the heart of negotiation is people - without the other party, no negotiation would even exist! Make an effort to get to know the other person, figure out what they care about, what makes them happy, or sad; when you make the connection, a world of possibilities is opened. People take care of people they like. Or, at least, the people they know something about.

Get their perspective.
The actionable step is to simulate a negotiation but switch places with the other party; get a friend (or two, or three), and talk through the other side. What might the other person say or do? How do they feel? Getting the other side’s perspective is paramount to achieving your goal effectively.

Listen carefully to their language.
If someone says, “I can’t do that for you”, then you can respond with, “Who can?” If they say “We don’t offer that right now”, then you return with, “When can you offer it?” People use words in specific ways to dodge and sidestep issues, and if you listen closely enough, you can face them head-on; it’s much easier to avoid an issue than flat out refuse someone!

Use standards.
Cognitive dissonance is a strong mental model in human psychology. It states that people don’t like to hold contradictory beliefs; if someone avers to stand for something, then they try their hardest to uphold it to maintain internal consistency. In practice, you can find something that the other party has stated or their organization stands for. Common principles in commerce are ones like “customer satisfaction” or “quality guarantee”. Invoking these principles makes it harder for people to brush off your issues.

Trade items of unequal value.
Translated into money, everything becomes fungible. But not everything should be translated to money, and using money as the proxy value for everything narrows everyone’s negotiation scope. The “bigger the pie” the more there is to go around. Be as creative as possible here.

Be incremental.
People balk at huge changes. While the long-term goal may be exactly that magnitude of change, the way to get there is through smaller steps. There will always be certain pieces that everyone can agree on even in contentious scenarios. Take the small treks and slowly build trust; the vision gets clearer with each passing hill!

Got any other good negotiation tips? Stories to share? Would love to hear ‘em in the comments!