How to negotiate

Whether you’re dividing your things after a break-up, or asking for a pay rise, find a balance that works for everyone, says Sarah Neish


How to negotiate

Forget hardball tactics

‘People often think of negotiation as a competitive, hostile interaction, where each side tries to wear the other down.’ says Linda Babcock, author of Ask For It. ‘This aggressive approach is actually the least effective. The more you try to understand how the other person sees the issue, the more successful you’ll be.’

Set brackets

Sketch out your lower and upper limits — the least you can realistically expect and the most you’re likely to achieve, says Babcock. ‘These basic building blocks will help you decide what to aim for, what to accept and when to walk away.’

What's your relationship?

Visualise a scale with someone you’ll never see again, such as the seller of a house, at one end, and your best friend at the other. ‘The closer your relationship, the more you can use a co-operative approach, revealing information about yourself and asking questions,’ says Babcock. ‘Avoid doing this with strangers, as they may use these details to exploit you.’

Do your research

Discover everything you can about your organisation’s current financial position, and the value of your role. ‘Women in particular worry when asking for a raise, that their employer can’t afford to pay more,’ says Babcock. ‘If you have prior knowledge of how the company’s doing, and what the salary for your job is at other firms, you’ll feel more confident asking for what you want.’