What thoughts, words and feelings spring to mind when you think of negotiation? For many of us, negotiation is several footsteps outside of our comfort zone, and the thought alone can conjure up feelings of discomfort. Donna Hughes, founder of Launch Negotiation, is passionate about empowering women to see themselves as negotiators. Below, Donna outlines the steps you can take to embrace negotiation within your own life.

Redefine negotiation in your own terms

The first step to conquering your fear of negotiation is to redefine negotiation in your own terms. Take a moment to consider how you define negotiation. For many people, negotiation is considered as a conversation in a formalized setting, as this is the common portrayal in the media. In reality, the majority of negotiations take place outside of this setting as an informal discussion. Reconsider how you define negotiation; it is simply a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement.

Recognize you are a negotiator

Once you have redefined negotiation within your own terms, take a moment to reflect on how many of your daily conversations fall within this definition. Consider the different negotiations you enter each and every day; whether discussing which Netflix series to watch or agreeing on your next holiday destination. Soon, you will begin to recognise that you negotiate every single day within your personal and professional life. Within this context, embrace that you already are a negotiator and have a lifetime of experience under your belt.

Challenge your assumptions about negotiation

Close your eyes and visualize a negotiation scenario. What did the negotiator look like, and what approach did they take? Often, negotiation is perceived as an arm wrestle, during which only one party can emerge triumphant. However, the reality is that by adopting a collaborative approach to negotiation you can strive to create sustainable value for both parties. Consider how you can leverage active listening, open communication and emotional intelligence within a negotiation to truly understand the mindset of the other party. Demonstrating active listening and empathy is instrumental to optimize the outcome of a negotiation.

Embrace opportunities for negotiation

After redefining negotiation in your own terms, and recognising that you are already a negotiator equipped with a lifetime of experience, you will start to recognize even more opportunities to negotiate within your daily life. Whilst salary negotiations are often the first scenario that springs to mind, consider the ways in which you can leverage negotiation in your personal and professional life. Consider how you can empower other women in your life to embrace negotiation, too. Whether negotiating the cost of your day-to-day expenses such as utilities or cell phone bill, or special occasions such as a wedding day or family celebration, there is scope to create considerable value in your personal life through negotiation. Think about how you can leverage negotiation within your professional life; how can you collaborate with clients and suppliers to generate value for both your business and your stakeholders?

It’s time to redefine negotiation in your own terms and seize the opportunities available to negotiate in your own life. Through embracing negotiation, you can transform your personal and professional life and empower other women within your life to do so too.

Follow @launchneg on Instagram for more negotiation tips and visit www.launchnegotiation.com to explore their interactive negotiation workshops.