Okay, so 2008 wasn't the greatest for you, professionally. The economy's in the toilet, and belt-tightening at your company meant you got no raise and got passed over for even a sympathy promotion. Did you also get taken for a ride by mechanics, money-grubbing landlords and others in your pockets? In the spirit of New Year's resolutions, it's time to take another look at what you want, and deserve, in 2009.
To that end, we took a look at "Negotiate Like the Pros
," a new book from Penn professor Kenneth Shropshire
, who directs the Wharton Sports Business Initiative and teaches negotiating and dispute resolution. Shropshire has a long history of negotiating major sports deals, and has consulted for the NCAA, the NFL and the MLB, and he uses his experiences to illustrate various techniques for getting what you want. Here are a few that might help you arm-wrestle your way into the corner office in 2009 (or at least get you a little extra each month to weather the recession with):
1. Do your homework and "prepare with passion."
According to Shropshire it invariably pays to go into negotiations knowing what you're up against. Know who you're dealing with and know the subject matter and details cold -- by doing this you can earn your counterparts' respect and come up with a game plan. This includes coming up with a "worst-case scenario" and figuring out in advance how you would respond to it.
Do you have a style of negotiating? What's your best leverage? Get more of Shropshire's tips after the jump
2. Know your style and stick with it.
Shropshire says it's important to have a default negotiating style -- whether you are a "compromiser," an "avoider" or another type -- and then to use your knowledge of your style (and that of your opponent) to develop a strategy. Try to make the logistics of the meetings favorable to you, and try to be confident and comfortable in your approach, knowing that you can do well against any other style.
3. Set your goals and aim high.
Shropshire says that visualizing the end result can help you get there -- know what you want, and keep it in mind as you approach negotiations. While it's important to be realistic about your targets, you should aim high and revise downward cautiously as you begin to get new information. Also, know your "walk-away point" -- the very minimum that you can accept.
4. Seek leverage.
You know that little bit of an edge that can make a difference? That's what you should always be looking out for. Try to find leverage wherever you can, and use it quickly when you've got it (as it might be short-lived). If you do have an edge, don't flaunt it or make a show -- sometimes a negative interaction with someone can ruin what edge your leverage is giving you.
5. Embrace the process.
Sure, negotiations are nerve-racking, writes Shropshire, but you'll do best if you are fully immersed in the process of the negotiation -- be prepared, and be willing to get into it. Move at a pace that's comfortable to you, and adjust your plan as you go based on whatever information you can gather.
The fact that a lot of this sounds like poker isn't a coincidence. Sure, getting to the table and trying to get what you want may be a gamble, but you definitely can't win unless you play the game. Good luck in '09.