We all know some people who just seem to be naturally good at negotiating – whether it’s persuading their boss to give them a raise, getting an upgrade on the plane or negotiating a great deal on their renovations or a new car.

Should the rest of us just give up and leave negotiating to these lucky few who seem to have been born with an innate talent?

No! Like anything, negotiating is a skill that can be learned. Yes, some people might have a natural aptitude for it, but anyone can become a better negotiator with the right training. Negotiation isn’t a mystical art; it’s a practical skill that everyone can get better at.

Here are four myths about negotiating, which might make you feel a bit better about the skills you already have, and help you realize that you can improve!

It’s all about the money, money, money…

When we think about negotiating, we tend to associate it with getting the best price on a car, or the salesman we have all met who pushes for the hard sell. Negotiation isn’t always about money; we all do it, every day! For example, managers are negotiating constantly. The end goal isn’t about money; it’s about getting the best out of their team.

It’s all about the hard sell…

In most situations, this is far from the truth. As a negotiator, you need to be an excellent listener, and have great people skills – these are the traits you also need to be a great manager. Think about some of the situations you encounter in your daily work life – resolving conflicts within your team, and making sure you get the right people, with the right skills, to do the right tasks. That’s not about hard selling; it’s about getting to know people, listening to them, and persuading them as to the right course of action for the team and the organization.

It’s just about personality and charm…

Many of us think that you need to have an innate confidence and charm to be a good negotiator. This simply isn’t true. Being a good negotiator isn’t all about you – it’s about reading other people and understanding what motivates them. Sometimes the outcome won’t necessarily be what you were aiming for at the start. This doesn’t mean you are a bad negotiator. As long as the outcome meets your underlying goals, your negotiation has been a success!

You can’t learn how to negotiate…

Hopefully, from reading so far, you’ve already realized that this is not true. Anyone can learn how to be better at negotiating. Preparing, understanding what you want to achieve, and listening to other points of view are all essential to negotiation, and can help you get the result that is best for you, and for the people you work and live with.

Luckily, there are lots of training courses to help you become better at negotiating, and that will dispel the myth that good negotiators are born rather than made. You already have the foundation in place; why not see how much you can improve?

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