Preparing For A Negotiation

How many of you would agree with Lisa Gates when she said, “establishing connection and trust is primarily a matter of small talk?” She also added, “people often make the mistake of cutting to the chase in an effort to appear business-like and conscious of time constraints.” Lisa Gates is a Negotiation Consultant and Linkedin Learning and Author. The course was written mainly for career finders and negotiating compensation but you will find that the concept very much applies with most anything that requires negotiating.

What most of us don’t realize is there are opportunities in our daily lives that require negotiating. We can learn to recognize these and then build a process for ourselves on how to get the most out of these negotiations. There are some deals that are small, some that are big – but of course, part of negotiating is when to pick your battles – and just by doing that, you’ve already won as you haven’t compromised yourself.

However, this article will focus on the six steps in preparing for a negotiation. When done properly, this will help you get a solid footing on the negotiation, help you find your way through snags and also to come across as someone who means business and knows what she wants.


What we know about the situation, about our business partner who we are entering negotiations with, about the market or part of the economy that could affect the negotiation – all of these matter. A negotiation is not something you walk in to blindly and grope your way around. For example, you are looking to sell your house – research on your broker and their company, research on what the current market is like and what the going rate is for houses like yours in the same location go for. The same goes for voiceovers. What are the going rates for voiceover projects? What are clients willing to pay for?

Consider the moving parts of your negotiation

For voiceover artists, these ‘moving parts’ are what the going rates are for certain projects. If you are part of a voiceover website you need to know what the fees and commission rates are and what you are getting as a member in exchange for these fees and commission rates as they are moving parts as well.

Which concessions are you willing to make?

Plan this out carefully. Think, “if I was asked to give this up, what can I ask for in return?” Establish grounds of reciprocity to avoid being treated as a doormat and manage your negotiating partner’s perception of you. When a negotiating partner knows that you aren’t the type who does not negotiate back – whether you just don’t know what to ask for in return or you weren’t prepared for when the negotiations don’t go your way – you can be sure that they will keep that in mind about you and if this is someone you do business with regularly, you already are on the losing end.

How much do you know about your negotiating partner?

How big is your negotiating partner’s business? What do people say about them? How wide is their social media presence? What are your bargaining partners goals and what are they hoping to accomplish? It behooves you to know all these so you can prepare for different scenarios and angles as far as step three. This will also help you in the process of the negotiation as it will help you establish a connection with your negotiating partner and will help arm you with diagnostic questions. This refers to asking questions that will help you understand what your negotiating partner is looking to achieve from the deal.

Determine your connections

It is helpful if you and your business partner have common connections. Find strategic parts in the negotiation to name drop. This could help establish an affinity between you and your negotiating partner.

Understand the decision making process

This also means know who you are speaking with and what their role is in when the final decision is to be made. Sometimes it’s not just one person you will be dealing with a number of them.

For example, your agent tells you about a prospective project. What do you know about the client? They are a start-up ecommerce company. Your research of the company indicates that they have been growing in revenue every year for the past three years. They have a healthy presence in social media and their consumers mostly have good things to say about them. They want to hire you for a video commercial that will stay on their website however they want to do so at lower rates as that is what their budget can afford. You and your agent could propose that, should you accept the lower rates, they should be willing to make an agreement where they use you as their voice actor for their projects requiring a voiceover talent for a year. That way, you might be accepting lower rates but you have a long term client. This is a good thing because you don’t need to keep auditioning for them as they already know your voice. In addition, you’ve forged new connections and hopefully they refer you to to other business owners like them.

Like they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Besides, negotiations don’t always mean someone loses, it could still be a win-win situation for both parties. Get your negotiating partner to talk, turn it into a discussion. If you’ve done your research and followed the steps above, you have enough ammunition, so to speak, to hold your bargaining end and guide the discussion to a conclusion favorable to you.



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