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Negotiations:  Top 10 Tips

  1. Listen Carefully: Listening is quite different from hearing. Understand what is being said, but more importantly, understand why it is being said. Some would say, and we agree, that the key to successful negotiation is to listen more and talk less.
  2. Explore Constraints and Flexibilities: Learning and understanding the cards that the employer holds is extremely helpful. The employer may in fact have certain constraints which can not be violated, such as a particular salary level or equity position for certain positions. However, there may be dimensions where the employer does have some flexibility. Similarly, examine and know your own constraints and flexibilities.
  3. Negotiate the Package, Not A Component: The compensation package is more than just the annual salary. It includes such elements as - job title, annual salary, signing bonus, annual bonus, flexible hours, vacation time, relocation package, education and training benefits, retirement plan, and so on. Including more components in the negotiation increases your chances of achieving a successful outcome.
  4. Be Reasonable: You are looking for a relationship that must be mutually beneficial. Recognize and acknowledge their constraints and desires, as you expect them to recognize yours.
  5. Offer Solutions: It is your responsibility to offer solutions, which can be the basis for negotiations. Pointing out just the issues or problems signals a potential "problem employee." It is easier to point out problems than to solve them.
  6. Avoid Using Absolutes: Avoid using extreme positions that lead to a yes or no answer, unless of course you mean it. These take the form of, "I will not accept the positions unless ______," or "Anything other than ______ is unacceptable." It is difficult, if not embarrassing, to reverse yourself later.
  7. Provide Reasonable Rationale: The employer would gain greater appreciation of why you are saying what you are saying. They may or may not be able to meet your expectations, but at least they would understand better your reasons.
  8. Seek Win-Win Resolution: Negotiation is nothing but give and take on both sides. Both sides must feel that while they might have given up parts of some things, they have gained on others.
  9. Avoid Decisions the Spot: Avoid a Yes or No answer on the spot, unless you are absolutely confident of your answers. No matter how hurried you or the employer is, both can wait for the right final answer for a day or two, if not longer. Sleep over your decision, before announcing it.
  10. Negotiate On the Phone: It is not always possible, but negotiations on the phone are much more impersonal and, thus, focused on rational issues. In-person negotiations are inevitably more personal and can confine you from being more open and rational.

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