1. Set the stage. Negotiating success begins by acquiring great knowledge. Collect as much data about what is at stake and the person or organization that controls what you want. The data you collect allow you to seamlessly navigate the natural ebbs and flows inside of a negotiation. The data should include the quantitative (the market and your comparables) AND the qualitative, which I refer to as 360-degree awareness. What are the fears and desires of the other side? The stakes? The possible outcomes? The more you know going into a negotiation, the more you can establish authority and respect.
2. Find common ground. Negotiation doesn't have to be adversarial. Trust is at the heart of long-term success as a negotiator so it's important to take time to build a relationship with the other side. Even small gestures — like sharing a little piece of personal information — change the dynamic of a negotiation by signaling your openness and desire for connection. Counter disconnects with curiosity instead of defensiveness. In a world that views negotiation as a battlefield, that subtle shift can be powerful. The key to negotiating is managing relationships well so that conversations stay open and spark more conversations. The seeds of your next negotiation are planted in the one you are doing right now.
3. Ask with confidence. Overcome fear of negotiating by anchoring your ask against your "why." What is driving your ask? For example, if you are asking for a raise — in what tangible ways will that raise impact your life and the lives of those around you? Knowing your why will allow you to tap into your motivation when negotiation gets messy and uncertain. And, if you have set the stage and found common ground, the ask should be expected. Talk as much as you need to, but no more. The more concise you can make your ask, the more confident you will be.