Building Your Skills

Building Skills: Negotiating to get what YOU want!

Negotiating is a critical skill we must develop whether it is needed to ask for a more flexible schedule, a pay raise, get our patients (or a significant other) to change a behavior, or advocate for industry-wide changes.

As healthcare professionals, we learned the clinical skills needed to do our jobs in school. However, there are intangible skills needed to help us navigate the professional world that are not taught in the classroom or operatory.

For example, the art of negotiating. Negotiating is a critical skill we must develop whether it is needed to ask for a more flexible schedule, a pay raise, get our patients (or a significant other) to change a behavior, or advocate for industry-wide changes. However, negotiating can be difficult for many professionals. With my experience working in politics and a university career center, I have learned much over the years.

Here are 10 simple tips to apply to help you get what you want and develop your negotiating aptitude to diversify your skillset:

  1. Develop strong relationships. Building genuine relationships will help develop mutual respect and build a foundation to get you one step closer to closing the deal.
  2. Know your audience. Understanding the values of the person or people we are trying to win over is essential to be effective.
  3. Find common ground. If you can identify a mutual interest or goal, they win when you win. This will make it easier for them to get on board.
  4. Use data as your friend. Evidence in black and white is hard to discredit. Therefore, if you are asking for a raise, understanding the metrics that the management values, and where you fall on the continuum, will be important.
  5. Be a good listener. To best understand someone else’s position, you need to listen to gain a comprehensive understanding of their concerns and desires. Asking questions, lots of questions, also allows you the opportunity to gain insights that can help you work towards a resolution. Plus, it buys some time during the conversation for you to gather your thoughts.
  6. Watch for body language. Body language can speak volumes so look for signs of frustration, or agreement to help you plan your next move.
  7. Shoot for the stars. The nature of negotiating elicits compromise. Therefore, your “ask” should fall on the high side of things in case you find yourself in a position where you have to give a little.
  8. Leave emotions outside the negotiation. If your emotions are running high, it is more difficult to think clearly. Avoid using responses that will also illicit an emotional response from your opposition. Creating tension will make it harder to work together to ultimately get what you want.
  9. Develop a strategy before you enter negotiations. Negotiations can be a game of chess so playing the conversation in your head and planning your strategy will serve you well. Preparation will be time well spent!
  10. Understand your value and what you need to do to get them to say yes.

Please do not become frustrated if you do not get what you want at first. Some “asks” take numerous conversations and the first encounter is simply needed to plant the seed. Personally, I focus on the bigger picture and ask myself if I am better positioned after the conversation. Chances are you will be proud of your progress.

I am interested in any tips you have learned too. Reach out to me and let’s continue to grow together!

Resources:

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Authors


  • Tonia started her career as a dental assistant. After graduating as a hygienist, she worked in corporate dentistry, private practice, and public health arenas. After starting a dental clinic in eastern Kentucky, she was appointed by Governor Beshear to serve as a member of the Kentucky Board of Dentistry. She now is Executive Director of the American Association of Dental Boards.

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© 2019 Jasmin Haley DBA Beyond the Prophy LLC.
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