Why We Negotiate

It is not a question of if but why we negotiate.All of us at some time or another negotiate.

Becoming more effective at it should help you to keep balance in your life. Negotiation is essential to healthy personal and professional relationships. Learning how to merge the wants and needs of the group and build mutually viable solutions is key to a healthy, happy life. It also makes you more effective in business and the world in general.

Persuasion TechniquesWe spend almost every minute of every day and night negotiating with others simply to survive. So it makes sense that we can improve our personal and professional lives by learning better techniques of negotiating.

From birth we face a steady stream of challenges, struggles, and opportunities throughout life Conflict arises as we struggle to satisfy our personal interests and wants and needs in social circles, at school, at work, and with our mates and loved ones. This effort is typically in conflict with the needs and wants of others.

Conflict occurs naturally between parents and children, with medical and legal professionals, government officials, employees, retail clerks and others. The need to negotiate in our day-to-day situations or encounters permeates our very existence. Learning how to better handle such conflict is an important way to improve our personal situation. It leads to enabling us to enjoy life a lot more. man_woman_fighting_sm.jpg

Handling conflict, that is negotiating is actually not an arduous process; but all too often that is exactly how we perceive it. Most people consider conflict bad. The truth is, since we can't avoid it, conflict shouldn't be feared or avoided...but embraced. Living in fear is not living; it is missing out on living our lives fully.

bully_in_locker_room_sm.jpgMany people consider negotiating to be a business or political activity. Just as many people view a negotiator as a manipulator or predator. Few realize that negotiating is not the last resort to resolve a bad situation. It is what causes the situation!

So why are we afraid whenever we have to sit down and work something out with another person? There are four reasons actually and they all start with fear: Fear of the unknown. Fear of rejection. Fear of losing. Fear of offending.

Knowing how to negotiate is less about understanding the nuances of the process than it is about understanding people, appreciating their wants, identifying their needs and learning about their history and what makes them who they are.

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Negotiations Impact Relationships

You live, work, and play with others. To move through life, you must get along with other people in family, social, and professional settings. You must also get along with total strangers who happen to cross your path.

Winners feel good naturally. It is the way we are programmed. The feelings of losers, however, should also be considered. The fact that the other person lost, especially if the negotiation was a personal or social or even in some business scenarios, tends to breed feelings of resentment and ill will. In a on-going relationship you may win the battle only to damage the relationship.
At the end of negotiation find ways to make the other person feel good about something. In a business setting, compliment the other person's performance, professionalism, or knowledge.Indicate your appreciation that the other person was personally involved in working things out. Ease back from the transaction discussion to a more personal level of conversation. man_woman_fighting_handsoverears_sm.jpg

With a spouse or other family member reaffirm how much you care about the person, that you love him or her, and that you are glad things were resolved because your relationship is so much more important than the problem that caused the fight.

Even when dealing with your banker, a store manager or another casual acquaintance, a proper closure can be the basis of avoiding future conflicts. Indicate that you appreciate how the other person was able to be flexible and help solve the situation. Indicate that he or she has won some loyalty on your part. Try to give the other person a reason to be pleased with more than just the terms of the agreement.

Conflicts are usually short-lived and resolution offers the opportunity to move forward together. Over your life, it is the relationships that will prove valuable, not the little victories along the way. As you interact with other people you naturally balance a myriad of things to maintain the level of a relationship that you want. This does not imply that the other person has the same level of interest in the relationship. When you are negotiating it is important to appreciate how much the other person values the relationship and make sure that you are not threatening the relationship when simply trying to avoid taking out the garbage in the middle of a football game.

Be a good winner by reaching out to the other person to stem any residual ill will. The effort will pay dividends.

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How to Negotiate

Negotiating Tips - Seven Basic Steps Before You Negotiate

Negotiation is far more than simply sitting at the table and exchanging proposals. It is the process of working through various phases while you learn enough about the other person or team to be able to engage the other person in a dialogue that makes the other person want or need to work with you. Remember, negotiating is about your getting the other person to do something that you want done. The other person has to eventually be motivated to act. Negotiation is the process of establishing that motivation.

The seven basic steps leading up to any negotiation include:
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1. Identification of the problem. It is essential to establish what the issue is before you try to resolve it. Often arguments occur because you and the other person are discussing different issues or the crossover relationship is not apparent to one of you.
2. Researching the issues. Knowing what the issue is allows you to do the basic research into why you are in disagreement and how important the issue is to you.
3. Selecting the participants. Both you and the other person are entitled to add or object to a potential participant in any negotiation. How the two sides populate their teams usually will have an impact on the outcome. Among other things you should try to keep people out of the negotiation who tend to inflame the situation.
4. Researching the participants. Once you and the other person have established the people to be involved in the discussion/negotiation you need to assess who The other person has on his or her team, why they were added and what position they are likely to advocate. The other person's selection of co-negotiators will indicate the areas he feels are important to his position or the areas he feels he lacks expertise.
5. Preparing for the negotiation. Before you actually start any negotiation take a few moments or a few weeks, depending on the importance and complexity of the negotiation, to prepare for the negotiation session.
a. Separate facts from assumptions. Understand what you know about the situation and what you assume to be true.
b. Validate your facts. Sometimes facts change. Make sure your information is current. If you can't do this, consider the unverified facts to be assumptions. iStock_000001705396-sm.jpg
c. Validate your assumptions. Assumptions should be validated by third party confirmation or simply asking the other person if they are valid.
d. Test your assumptions. Assumptions that can't be validated need to be tested or discarded. Erroneous assumptions can impair an otherwise sound negotiating strategy. Don't set yourself up for failure relying on an invalidated assumption because you like it or it helps your case.
e. Adjust your strategies. Using the newly acquired information, make sure your initial strategies, objectives and goals are still appropriate. The new information can often change strategies and on occasion can obviate the disagreement altogether.couple-agreeing-with-man-sm.jpg
6. Meeting the Participants. When the participants first get together to start the negotiation there is usually a short period of time when people meet each other and get settled. This is an excellent period during which you should take the measure of everyone about to take a seat at the table. Observe who are comfortable and who appear uneasy. Participate in casual conversations to determine the interests and backgrounds of the other person's co-negotiators. Make sure your advocates are comfortable and ready.
7. Establishing the parameters of the situation. Once seated at the table it is helpful to make sure everyone is aware of the issues to be discussed and uncover any new issue that needs to be addressed. If new information is provided or the issues changed feel free to take a break to reflect or regroup with your team if necessary.

You are now ready to enter into the negotiation. This is most typically done by asking or soliciting an initial offer. The early stage of any negotiation should be used to establish the parameters of the situation. That is, the bid/ask disparity between you and the other person.

Each step deserves to be mentally considered before it is undertaken. A negotiator should prepare, plan, and execute on the sub-task or individual step level to maximize the potential from the process. The skill is in the preparation and the art is in the execution. Obviously more complex negotiations will have added steps and a more detailed approach but even simple negotiations can be better resolved if these steps are fleetingly considered before you enter the fray with the other person.

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5 Negotiating Tips to Uncover Hidden Agendas

Hidden agendas are the personal are the private goals and objectives that impact how we publicly negotiate. Everyone has these agendas. Very likely your hidden agenda will be far different than the other person's or even those of co-negotiators.

Hidden agendas are the meat and potatoes of good leaders/managers. Good leaders have a sense of mission, a purpose that garners the respect of others. Negotiators who can demonstrate these same leadership traits will garner the same respect. Just as leaders can impact the outcome of meetings so too can effective negotiator-leaders impact the outcome of a negotiation.

fingers_crossed_behind_back_sm.jpgEvery participant in a negotiation has a personal agenda. Those agendas are hidden unless they are shared with the group and most people don't openly share personal agendas. If they did, there would be little mystery or drama in life or our personal interaction.

So how do you uncover another's hidden agenda? By being a good detective:

1. Ask questions. Soliciting the other person's needs and wants is essential in setting the parameters of the negotiation.

2. Think like a reporter: Ask follow-up questions designed to cross-check or validate previous answers.

3. Feel free to question responses. It is important to understand what you are being told.

4. Gather and digest the responses to develop a basic understanding and appreciation of the other person's perspective, basic needs and stated wants regarding the situation.
5. Observe the non-verbal reactions that may indicate responses that are less than forthright.

Negotiation is far more than simply sitting at the table and exchanging proposals. It is the process of learning enough about the other person to be able to engage the person in a dialogue that makes that person want or need to work with you.

Remember, negotiating is persuading someone else to do what you want them to do.

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Negotiating Requires Knowing Your Bottom Line

A key strategy in any negotiation is establishing your 'bottom line.' Knowing your "bottom line" is one of the most important aspects of being a good negotiator. The bottom line is the minimum or maximum acceptable threshold that you will accept concerning a given situation. It is the point at which you should decide not to continue to try to hold things together and simply walk away from the opportunity.

Constantly revising is part of a negotiator's strategy because negotiating requires knowing your bottom line or the limits you are willing to go to win an argument or closing a sale or purchase. Your "bottom line" depends on each negotiating event and can change as your situation changes. Typically in the business environment the negotiating parameters are mandated by company objectives, limitations and policy. Working within these guidelines allows company negotiators to negotiate with confidence that they will be able to deliver on the promises they make during a negotiation. Knowing these corporate bottom line parameters also signals when the negotiator should leave the discussion to seek more guidance or look for another opportunity for the company. Thus knowing the company parameters empowers the company negotiator.
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We are used to setting minimum or maximum parameters in the business or professional environment. In personal situations negotiating requires knowing your bottom line or the limits you are willing to go to win an argument. There is no reason the same discipline cannot and should not apply to interpersonal/family situations.

When you are negotiating personal matters ranging from credit card debt to what to do about an errant son or daughter you should try to set the point at which you are no longer willing to negotiate. This is especially important on the personal side as conceding too much only teaches your spouse or child that you will continue to do so and that he or she should continue to press their argument until you cave. This conceding on your part rewards bad behavior rather than deters it.

If you continually do this when disciplining a child you will raise a spoiled child who, later in life, may well have difficulties relating to his or her spouse when the 'adult child' doesn't get his or her way. As parents it is our responsibility to teach our children how to negotiate in a productive fashion so they can get along after they leave the nest.
It is even more important when dealing with an overbearing spouse. Your concessions will not only make the other person expect to prevail, it will cause you to lose respect for yourself and become even more dependent on what could become a damaging relationship.
Not to belabor the point but I need to point out here that I am not advocating never conceding. Just the opposite as we all need to be willing to 'give and take' to make any relationship work. What I am saying is that it is helpful to know in advance at what point we will no longer be willing to offer further concessions. To make this point graphically, a woman must draw the line at being physically abused. To let this type of behavior occur without recourse is simply asking for a bad outcome.

Negotiating requires knowing your bottom line or the limits you are willing to go to win an argument or closing a sale or purchase. When you approach your predetermined bottom line, the point where it's appropriate to be willing to bluff before walking away, you have two choices; bluffing or walking away. Depending on the potential impact on the relationship and how much you value the relationship, bluffing should only be considered as a last resort tactic. It should be reserved until all you have at risk is failure itself and you are fully prepared to walk away from the relationship as well as the situation because if you are caught in a bluff your credibility, integrity or sincerity will be damaged.

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What is Conflict Resolution

man_woman_fighting_sm.jpgConflict between people, any two people or larger groups of people is a fact of life. We are different people. We have differing wants and needs. This means our goals and objectives are in conflict most of the time; even when we are on the same team. Conflict is normal and healthy as long as it can be resolved preserving the relationship of the people involved.

Conflict exists within families, among peers, friends and neighbors. It exists at work, church, school and simply along the street among strangers. Conflict resolution is the process by which we handle the conflict in our lives.

There are many ways we try to resolve conflict. By surrendering, running away, fighting, litigation of filing a complaint with the human resource department. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), AKA conflict resolution, is more civilized than violence and typically cheaper and quicker than litigation.

Common forms of conflict resolution include negotiation, a discussion among two or more people with the goal of reaching an agreement, mediation, a voluntary and confidential process in which a neutral third-party facilitator helps people discuss difficult issues and negotiate an agreement, and arbitration, a process in which a neutral third-party acts as a judge of the dispute and decides the outcome for the parties.

But conflict resolution need not be so formal. Essential we each resolve conflict throughout every day of our lives. We don't consider our parents, siblings, bosses, employees, teachers and students to be warring factions but the conflicts with these people in our lives can be far more complex that some territorial skirmish between nation states.

When resolving our personal conflicts becomes more than we can handle there are some approaches than offer help. This assistance can be provided by your church, school, employer or even another family member. But if you want something a little more formal, consider:

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Evaluation by a Third-Party
This involves enlisting a unbiased attorney, arbitrator or other professional to review the situation and try to facilitate a resolution by explaining the cost of litigation and likely outcome if the case. The parties then can assess if it is worth litigating or would they be better off just settling and moving on.

Peer Referendum
This approach uses a common and respected friend, associate or family member to both of the parties is asked to help resolve the dispute. By having another person hear the complaints of both sides and offer a fresh objective the angst of one-on-one fighting can be mitigated and solutions struck.

It is important to remember that conflict is a normal and necessary part of any healthy relationship. Life would be far too boring if no one disagreed with you or objected to something you were doing. And how would we ever learn anything new if we were never challenged by our teachers, parents or employers?

How we deal with conflict in large part determines the quality of our lives. When mismanaged relationships can be tested and even harmed. By developing effective conflict resolution techniques and skills your personal and professional lives should prosper.

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Trader or Negotiator

What are you, a trader or a negotiator? Is there a difference?

Trading is the exchanging of comparably valued items, not negotiating. To trade is the exchange of commodities, assets or services on a par value. Negotiating contemplates the exchange of disproportionately valued commodities.

2_hands_holding_up_cash.jpgTraders focus on the intrinsic cost basis. Negotiators look to minimize cost or maximize their return. There are times when it may be better to trade then negotiate. Consider these examples.

Power or control over a situation often makes a transaction a simple trade. The person with the power establishes the rules and the rate of return. Those who find the terms acceptable participate. If not, they will seek another venue.

four_hands_holding_up_cash.jpg Limited availability of a commodity also creates a demand driven market. Sellers who hold such a commodity have the power to demand a high rate of return. Buyers who must have the commodity, oil comes to mind, have little choice but to pay the high rate while they develop alternative sources.

Hospitals and doctors enjoy another hedge against having to negotiate with you. Because you have insurance, you are not paying the bill (other than a small co-payment). That means you have little control over what is paid for the service rendered. More important, the provider has little incentive to negotiate with you or remain competitive. Bag_of_groceries.jpg And the insurance company has little incentive to negotiate a unique rate for you as they spread their risk over all the people they are covering.

Simple trading is also appropriate in many situations where time and convenience are more important than price. At the grocery, for example, you simply exchange money for a loaf of bread. There is no negotiation because you are too busy to try and the amount you might save is negligible. But no one says you could not negotiate with the manager if you wanted to do so. In fact, if you are contemplating a very large purchase for a party or office event there is absolutely no reason not to contact the manager, explain the situation, and inquire about wholesale pricing or other possible discounts he or she might offer to avoid risking that you might go to a competitor.

To answer the question, are you a trader or negotiator, the answer is 'both' depending on the situation, your time, and the balance of power.

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How to Negotiate Discounts for Paying Early

Remember the saying, 'cash is king'? It is true. Cash can be a driving force when you are buying something. If you are a cash buyer it is good to understand the value to the seller of your paying cash. When you pay with a credit card, the seller pays fees to the credit card company. If you pay over time the seller loses interest on the cash. So the seller has a reason to value cash.

Tips on how to negotiate discounts for paying early when buying:
1. Do your research to understand the value of cash to the seller:

  • Determine the cash differential the seller loses when selling to you on terms.

  • Gently question the seller to see if he or she might have a need or other use for cash at the moment.

  • How badly do they need to sell? If you are willing to pay cash, at a discounted price, but unwilling to pay the full price on any terms then the seller must decide to sell at your price or lose the sale.

2. Determine the value of the cash to you:

  • The interest you would lose.

  • The lost benefit of not using the cash for another opportunity.

3. Make a cash offer discounting the price by twice the assumed differential value to you or the seller.

4. Be prepared to walk away from the negotiation if the seller will not offer a reasonable discount for a cash payment. If it comes to this, by indicating you are willing to walk, the seller may come back with a viable 'final and best' offer acceptable to you.

There are also opportunities for paying obligations early. Such obligations may be to landlords, lenders or other sources of credit. How badly do they need cash? If you are willing to pay down a note or prepay rent you should get a fair return for doing so.

Tips on how to negotiate discounts for paying early on obligations:

1. Do similar research to understand the value of cash to the landlord or lender and to you:

  • Gently question the landlord or lender to see if he or she might have a need or other use for cash at the moment.

  • The interest you would lose.

  • The lost benefit of not using the cash for another opportunity.

3. Make a cash offer discounting the obligation by twice the assumed differential value to the landlord or lender.

4. Be prepared to withdraw your offer to pay early if the discount is not meaningful. If it comes to this, by indicating you are willing to walk, the landlord or lender may come back with a viable 'final and best' offer that is acceptable to you.

Cash is important today. The most important aspect of having cash or receiving cash is the opportunity value of using it wisely. Understanding how to negotiate discounts for paying early or in cash can help you save money.

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Three Negotiating Strategies

Negotiating is the process of enticing someone else to do what you want them to do for you. That can be selling something for less, providing service you need, or paying more for something you have. Obviously there are endless applications of negotiating but you get the drift.

When you interact with other people you are always negotiating in some way. Whether it is passing in the hall or closing a large real estate deal, you must reach an agreement. Getting to a consensus is the process of negotiating.man_woman_fighting_sm.jpgForcing your way on others may be effective while you have the power to do so but will quickly wear thin at work, at home or with friends.

If negotiating is so prevalent in our lives it makes sense to consider these three negotiating strategies:

1. Get to know the other person. How, you might ask, do you get to know a person you meet in the hall? One of you needs to step aside to pass. By observing the other person you can assess your need to be considerate of an older person, the fact that the other person is preoccupied and does not see you, or a threatening glare. In any negotiation the other person will reveal valuable information through nonverbal signals and innocent conversation. Being observant enables you to learn very quickly a number of things about the other person. Such strategic observation will help you decide what to do.

2. Understand what it is the other person wants. persuasion-sm.jpgEveryone has wants and needs. You may know yours but have you taken the time to understand the needs of the other person. How can you hope to negotiate anything unless you know what the other person wants? Ask. Most people will share what they want. It is up to you to ascertain what they really need. That is what you will have to pay.

3. Determine how important the issue is. There are four primary currencies in a negotiation. The commodity itself, compensation, time and the relationship of the parties involved. It is a balancing act to be efficient in how you expend these currencies throughout your day. Make sure the commodity you are negotiating for is worth your time, potential damage to your relationship with the other person, and what you will likely have to pay. Don't waste your time trying to win negotiations that take too much from your aggregate pool of these four currencies.

Negotiating is not rocket science but it does deserve your attention. Our lives are filled with interactions with others and how we handle pour negotiations impact not only the quality of our lives but that of those around us; especially those closest to us. These three negotiating strategies will help you extend due consideration to the feelings and needs of others. Bullying others into doing your bidding or always using power negotiating tactics threatens your relationships and limits what you accomplish in your life.

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Negotiating with a Stranger

To many negotiating is an awesome task shrouded in manipulation and connivance and plied by attorneys and politicians. The fact that often we have to negotiate it is with a stranger makes it that much more difficult. Trying to confront a car sales person, a banker or credit manager, a vender at the farmer's market, or any other person we run into on the street that has something we want can be very intimidating.

No wonder so many shy away from negotiate with a stranger. It is often easier to accept the terms being offered. This is no way to build confidence in standing up for your best interests. It is no way to live.

Get real! The birds do it. The bees do it. We all do it. Negotiate, that is!buying-a-car-sm.jpg If we all do it why not consider these 5 Tips on negotiating with a stranger to improve how we interact with others? These tips on negotiating are designed to help you better understand the art of negotiations and improve your relationships with those you have to deal with every day.

Tip #1 When negotiating with a stranger approach the situation as you would any casual conversation. Take some time to get to know the person a bit. Try to identify some common interests you might have. The objective is to stand out in his or her mind from all the other strangers that pass by each day. By making this stranger feel a little more comfortable with you, you are subtly encouraging the person to deal with you as a person and not just as a source of another sale.

Tip #2 When negotiating with a stranger your primary objective is to be heard and understood. Learn to communicate effectively with strangers and you will improve your negotiating results. Communicating is more about being heard than speaking. persuasion-sm.jpgIf the other person cannot understand you all the talking you do won't change that. To be effective when negotiating requires that you have a clear message and the ability to deliver it in a fashion that a stranger can understand.

Tip #3 When negotiating with a stranger consider why the other person is resisting your proposal so much. Could it be that you are asking too much of them or offering to little in return. Negotiation is all about wants and needs. An effective negotiator will take the time necessary to separate the two. Wants are those nice-to-have extras that can be bartered for other concessions. Needs are those things that one must get to go through with any agreement. Try to view the issues from the other person's perspective to better understand the reason for their reluctance and then craft a new proposal that addresses their needs a bit better.

Tip #4 When negotiating with a stranger consider how you are handling the situation. Are you bullying the other person? Are you threatening them in some manner? Consider how you are approaching the negotiation in terms of words and mannerisms to make sure you aren't changing a negotiation into a fight. When people are backed into a corner they may agree to get out of it but it is likely they will break their agreement later if they have an opportunity.

Tip #5 When negotiating with a stranger make sure you know what your goal is. Make sure that the prize you are seeking is what you really want. Sometimes we simply become too embroiled in an argument or negotiation to see that we are investing far too much time chasing something of marginal value.

Negotiating with a stranger should be easier than with someone you know because you don't have to worry about the collateral damage to the relationship. You should feel free to press hard for what you want and challenge the other person. Doing so without becoming abusive should enable you to not only garner the fruits of your labor but also build relationships that may be beneficial in the future. These successes will instill confidence in your negotiating skills making future negotiations easier.

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Who Negotiates

We all negotiate. We are often afraid whenever we have to sit down and work something out with another person because of our fears: Fear of the unknown. Fear of rejection. Fear of losing. Fear of offending. From birth we face a steady stream of challenges, struggles, and opportunities throughout life.

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Conflict arises as we struggle to satisfy our personal interests and wants and needs in social circles, at school, at work, and with our mates and loved ones. Who negotiates? We each do to get what we need or want. This self-serving effort is often in conflict with the needs and wants of others. The need to negotiate in our day-to-day situations or encounters permeates our very existence. Learning how to better handle such conflict is an important way to improve our personal situation. It leads to enabling us to enjoy life a lot more.

Knowing how to negotiate is less about understanding the nuances of the process than it is about understanding who negotiates, mere people do. Accordingly we should appreciate that everyone has their own wants and needs.three-people-closing-agreement-sm.jpg If we simply listen and try to identify their needs we may find building relationships to be easier and more rewarding than if we only think of our own needs and wants.

Life is a continuum of challenges, opportunities and decisions. Each experience in life, no matter how rudimentary, requires some form of negotiation and provides experience from which we can learn. In fact, if we only learn how to recognize the cues and how to act on them, we all have the opportunity to become experienced negotiators better able to handle life's challenges.

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How to Negotiate A Salary

Salary discussions are more often feared than not. The problem with many salary negotiations is that the employee is often placed at odds with his employer. If the employee presses too hard, he or she may worry that they will lose favor and maybe even harm their career potential. If they don't press hard enough and fail to get a reasonable increase they may feel that they are being taken advantage of and loss their positive attitude.

What many employees fail to realize is that most employers wrestle with how to attract and keep good people. Naturally they want to contained employee costs but good employees are hard to find and harder to replace. There is a very real cost of losing a good employee.

So both the employee and employer have a common goal. That is, how to keep a good employee motivated while keeping costs reasonable for the company. The core issue is not over the amount of the salary but the value received for the salary paid. This is often missed in salary negotiations.

To maximize your earning potential consider these tips on how to negotiate a salary:

Establish Your Value
In order to warrant consideration for a significant raise you need to establish why you deserve to be treated differently from your peers. Value to a company comes from the work you are doing, the cost of training your replacement, and the potential value you have to offer to the company. Start your conversation with your boss off on the right foot by clearly establishing that you hope to build your career with the company. That means you are willing to invest years of your career life with the company if they are willing to similarly invest in you. By establish the fact that you think you have far more to offer than what your current job entails you are establishing the potential value you have as a loyal and happy employee.

Throw a Curve
Your boss will be expecting you to ask for a dollar-based raise. Instead ask him how else you might be used in the company or department that would be good for your career and the company. Indicate that you have more potential than the current position requires and want to contribute more. This will often throw your boss off as he or she now has to think outside the anticipated and prepared topics.

You can further this strategy by bringing a self-evaluation to the meeting and discussing your strengths and weaknesses openly. Highlighting those qualities that warrant the company investing in you with some career planning changes the discussion from what to pay you to how to utilize your potential. By discussing your potential and the self-evaluation you are providing the reasons for your boss to handle you differently from others in your pay grade.

Offer Some Alternatives
Salary is important but it is only thing the company can do for you. Many times a company simply can't meet your salary demands immediately. But there are other benefits that may be more valuable to you than a simple pay increase. Getting placed in a fast-track program to advance has strong future value. Assistance in getting an advanced degree also enhances your future earning potential. Even moving into a high pay-grade position but at the same pay rate while you get established in the new position enhances your future salary potential.

Don't forget about upgrades in medical coverage, dental coverage, 401k matching contributions, stock options, a company car, laptop or notebook, tuition assistance, day care assistance and company cellular phones may add tangible value to you. These perks may allow the company to add to your compensation without exceeding their mandated pay range for the position you hold and many of these perks are not taxed further enhancing their value to you.

when to negotiate a raise
Don't Limit Your Options
Your job will consume at least 30% of your waking hours. You need to like the job, your peers, your boss and feel that you are being paid for the service you are providing. To make sure you are making the right career decisions you should always be open to opportunities outside the company. If other companies or departments want you, your boss will value you more. Don't be afraid to look around.

Life is short. Make sure your work contributes to a full life and does not detract. When you are meeting with your boss take the opportunity to discuss potential growth and what he or she sees in their crystal ball for you over the long term. This not only focuses your boss on the value you have to offer but on what they see for the company of which they are a part. By opening this perspective you are becoming part of the team rather than just another employee trying to get more for doing the same old thing.

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How to Negotiate

What is Negotiating

Negotiating is the process by which two or more people get along in a social, competitive environment. Competitive in that two people typically have differing wants and needs and must figure out how to work together to get along. Negotiating is an integral part to any relationship. It may be personal, social, professional or simply a chance meeting on the street.

Unlike bartering, arbitrating or mediation negotiation is the collective process that impacts us in every aspect of our lives. It is not limited to the business or legal aspects of our lives. Negotiation is the base process of people interacting with one another. Bartering, arbitrating and mediation are civilized attempts to refine the negotiating process into a disciplined process.

To answer the question what is negotiating we need to understand better what it is get along with our fellow negotiators; other human beings that happen to cross our paths for one reason or another.


It is very human to want something someone else has. How we get it, or attempt to do so, is how we implement our style of negotiating. We can be subtle, caring about the other person's interest, wants and needs, or we can be self-centered, focused solely on our needs and abusive in the process.

What is negotiating? When two people meet and begin to get to know each other, they start establishing how they will negotiate in the future. In essence, they are establishing how they will negotiate important things by laying down simply rules of etiquette. They learn each other's mannerisms, inflections, how they speak, what they are like. All these personal characteristics begin to build a mental profile that will help them understand each other in future conversations. Negotiating is built on the premise that two people can communicate effectively to work out a disagreement or problem. To communicate effectively we need to understand the nuances of nonverbal communications. Learn to Communicate

What is negotiating? Negotiating is the exchange of unlike currencies in a fashion that motivates both parties to honor the agreement. In this case currency can include tangible and intangible commodities. The age old exchange is sex for money. In the 21st Century it could easily be sex for power (or association with power). The currency of a negotiation may be wealth, recognition, sex, a diaper change or simply peace from a crying child or whining peer. We are trying to improve or avoid some aspect of our lives. It is a composite of needs or wants that drive any negotiation. Especially when someone else has what we want! The Currency of Negotiations

What is negotiating? The goal of negotiating is to improve your position as the result of the process. It is not simply getting to 'yes', 'no' or any solution. The solution is the product of an effective negotiation; not the goal. Being Right Isn;t Winning

The basic answer to what is negotiating is that it is effective communications between two or more people that result in all involved feeling that they have improved their situation to the extent that they will honor the agreement in the future. This does not mean that both have to win or feel like winners. It can also mean that the person who fell short of attaining his wants at least satisfied his base needs from the interaction. Sometimes losing less is better than losing everything.

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How to Buy Gold Jewelry

Talk about intimidating! Negotiating with jewelers has to be the most difficult negotiation for the casual shopper. Typically we don't know a whole lot about stones, settings and value. What we do know is that size does not matter when it comes to stones; quality does!

The other challenge is that jewelers simply exude confidence, knowledge and a type of sophistication. They dress the part, act the part and are surrounded by all this....gold! In the final analysis, they are actually just salespeople.

Here are four simple tips on how to negotiate for gold jewelry that will help you buy the right piece for a fair price:

Before talking price determine what you want to get.

iStock_000001705396-sm.jpg1. Get to know Jewelry. Do online research to get an idea of the options available to you. Go to a number of jewelry stores to expand your awareness of what might fit your needs. Ask questions. Learn the difference between the grades of stones and content of gold. Know what 12 karat and 18 karat really means. Find out the different colors of gold and how the colors are created. In short, learn all you can before trying to actually buy something as expensive and important as a piece of jewelry.

2. Separate your wants and needs. We all would like the biggest and the best whether it is a car, a diamond ring or anything else. But what we want and what we need are likely very different. When shopping for a special piece of jewelry it is easy to be distracted by our wants unless you establish a narrow focus on what you really need. Then the challenge is to make sure you get the best quality for the price you can afford rather than be traded up to something pretty on the outside but have lesser quality and, therefore, be of lesser lasting value.

3. Specify what you want and start the negotiation. Once you have established the basic composition, setting, stone design, characteristics and budget you are ready to start shopping in earnest. Go to several stores and tell each salesperson specifically what you are looking for. If they insist on showing you other items take them off your list. You, as the buyer, are not limited to what one store has in inventory. There are lots of jewelry stores. You can also seek on comparable items on line that meet the specifications.

When you see what you want, make a list of the attributes of the particular piece or pieces and the price. Get this in writing from the jeweler. You have the most leverage when the seller knows you are informed and have choices. They then only have the ability to make their item competitive price-wise. Go back to each jeweler until you are satisfied that you have the price down to a realistic range.

Finally you should select the jewelry store or vendor offering the best all-around value for a piece that meets your needs.

4. Verify before you buy. Having agreed on the price you will want to confirm all the attributes you used in your selection. Review the certification on any stone you have selected. Certifications should be provided by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the International Gemological Institute (IGI). Check the stone under magnification for flaws such as cracks or pitting. Examine the setting and prongs. If the jeweler takes the stone away to be set into the ring, cleaned or any other purpose, recheck the stone when it is returned to make sure it has not been swapped out. You want to make sure you are actually getting what you paid for. This double checking is a good practice to do whenever you lose control of a precious stone.

Now you can feel good that you have made a good purchase of a piece of jewelry that meets your unique needs and budget. The fun part comes next when you give it to that someone special or wear it for the first time. Enjoy!

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When to Negotiate for a New Car

Once we decide it is time to get a new car we get excited thinking about our new wheels we should consider when to negotiate for a new car. Instead we want to get out of the old bucket of bolts and into tour shiny, new alter-ego, right? Yes! That is exactly what the car dealership uses to attract you into the showroom and seal the deal. Your enthusiasm for making a change can be your worse negotiating liability. You are being driven by your wants rather than your needs.

Before you start to negotiate for anything remember to sort out your wants and needs.

There are needs and there are wants. Maslow's work on need theory explains the forces that drive, motivate, and even control much of what we do. To the negotiator what is important is the difference. Needs are those things someone will fight to the death to protect. Wants are the things we want but can live without. The reaction to an offer or proposal tells you if you are discussing a need or a want and provides insight about what tactics to use next.


During most negotiations most people don't hide their emotions particularly well. There should be an observable, inverse relationship in their response depending if you are threatening a need or want. A threat to a need will evoke a very strong response as compared to a threat to take a want. To become a better negotiator learn to use the Maslow Need-Theory Model as a situational thermostat.

Now back to the issue at hand. When should you start to negotiate for a new car? Here are a few tips on what to do first so you are prepared to negotiate smartly:

1. Check your bank account and cash flow to see what you can afford in terms of down payment and monthly payment.
2. Decide if you need to sell your old car first. If so, do the research to establish what you can sell it for to a private party. When you go to the dealer he will take it in trade so you need to make sure you are getting a fair value for your trade-in.
3. Decide what you are going to use your car for and pick a car that matches those needs. Getting a flashy Ferrari does not make sense if you are going to have to leave it in an airport parking lot most of the time. The cost of simply repairing the door dings will soon tap out your cash reserves.
4. Based on how you will be using your car, decide which options make sense to include and which are better purchased elsewhere. An excellent example is the GPS packages.

For a mere $2,500 or more you can have one built into your new car. Or you can buy a standalone package on the internet for under $200.00 that does the same thing. If you travel a lot, you will need the GPS where you go; not where you live. Having one in your car does not do you a lot of good in a rental. Another point, that nice GPS add-on ill not bring you much if anything when you sell your car.

You have now established you basic needs when negotiating for a new car. Now add some wants to the equation. What color do you want? What type of interior? If the GPS were free, that would be nice. And those chrome, low profile rims, pricey if you have to buy them but not bad if the dealer will give them to you at cost to get you to buy the car.

Identify your wants and use them as negotiating chip to be used when you negotiate.

Now you are ready to negotiate for a new car.

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When to Negotiate a Raise

Timing is everything, right? Absolutely! Trying to determine when to negotiate a raise is especially trying when so many companies are downsizing. The problem facing many employees is the real cost of living is increasing while their disposable cash is shrinking. They are caught in the middle of an inflationary period and a time when companies are being forced to cut back costs and/or people.

Timing when to ask for that needed raise is very important. To improve your chances of getting the raise you deserve consider these timing tips.

Consider the company's recent news.
You are aware of your situation and needs. Before deciding when to ask for a raise consider the condition of your company. Read earnings statements and news stories to get a good feel as to how the company is doing. If it is struggling, you may have to choose a better time. If it is doing well, now may be the best time to ask.

when to negotiate a raiseAssess your performance.
So you want a raise. Do you deserve it? Has your performance on the job been good enough for your supervisor and their boss to have taken notice? Have they had reason to reprimand you for being late or failing to meet a deadline? Ideally a request for a raise should be timed when you have done something of merit and, hopefully, been noticed.
Identify how you can save money or make more money for the company.

Demonstrating why you have earned a raise or how you might pay for it is an excellent argument when seeking more compensation. If there is a way to show how you have brought in more business, added to the bottom line, or have an idea that would do either of those things that is a perfect time to ask for a raise. By demonstrating your added value you are giving your boss and the people above him or her who have to approve a raise, which possibly may be an exception to current company policy, reason to consider and champion your cause.

Develop options.
If your back is against the wall and you have nowhere to go you don't have much leverage in a negotiation. Deciding when to ask for a raise is best done when you have options. If you have had a recent job offer, if your boss feels like you are in demand, or if your job is in high demand in the market place you are in a very good position to ask for a raise. Having the ability to leave your job for another position gives your request merit. Companies know the cost of hiring and training new employees. It is to their benefit to keep good employees as long as possible.

You know your situation and how important a raise is. The final suggestion is to identify changes in your situation that now make a raise essential. This can be a new baby on the way, an unexpected, long term medical expense, or possibly the decision to go back to school. Whatever the reason, use it as the basis for requesting the raise. Simply being good at what you do and wanting more money in these difficult times may fall on deaf ears.

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How to Make Up After a Fight

Just how bad was the fight? Do you have any idea what you said in the heat of the moment? Knowing how to make up after a fight is an important part of arguing. Relationships are precious things in life. Knowing how to fight and make up is an important aspect of keeping the relationship healthy.

Making up can be easy or hard. A lot of what makes it hard is trying to undo what was said when you were both really mad. Like it or not, those comments have a habit of being remembered. They hurt. At the time you meant them to hurt but now you can't imagine ever saying them.

Everyone negotiates. It is part of socializing, working, marriage, virtually all aspects of our lives. But some negotiations are more important than others such as those with a friend, spouse, parent or child.

Arguing on a social or personal level impacts our personal lives beyond the immediate debate. The same applies to how we handle negotiations in the workplace or school. We should be aware of the potential of the lasting damage that can be caused by what we do or say when arguing which is just a form of power negotiations.

To ensure you will be able to make up after the fight there are some things you should avoid when negotiating.

Don't Antagonize
If you want to get someone to do something they don't want to do, does it make sense to irritate or antagonize them when negotiating the matter? Unless you have a strong power advantage over the other person or maximum leverage, it is better to seek their support rather than use ridicule or anger to force the issue. This is especially true when the relationship with the other person is expected to survive the immediate situation.

Don't Bluff
Bluffing carries significant risk. As poker players know, if you are repeatedly caught bluffing your effectiveness will be undermined and you will be left with the reputation of being a liar or at least less than fully truthful. Bluffing can be perceived as a pattern of lying and you run the risk eroding trust with those you care about. Loss of trust is very damaging to any relationship.

Don't Corner
No one likes to feel helpless. Avoid forcing someone into a corner when negotiating or in an argument. You are asking them to strike out, hit back or otherwise hurt you to get out of the 'corner'. Even if they acquiesce at the time and let you have their way, they will harbor resentment at being forced to do what you want. if you continually corner someone their resentment overtime until they find a way to sever the relationship.

Don't Win the Battle and Risk Losing the War
It is fun to win. Most of us are programmed to do so. The problem arises is when we seek to always win and let our passion for winning damage the relationships we value. It is important to maintain your perspective when discussions get heated and pick the right arguments to fight, much less win.

Some arguments are meant to be lost strategically to preserve relationships. Make sure the issue causing the argument is worth winning. The best way to do this is to assess what you will gain by winning and what the other person will lose. Avoid those situations where the other person will damage to his or her ego over something trivial to you.
Be sensitive to the needs of the other person by keeping your perspective about the big picture, the relationship, as compared to the immediate situation.

Don't Forget to Mend Fences
Everyone loves a winner; few like braggarts. Avoid inadvertently abusing the other person when you prevail. When you come out on top take the time to shore up the relationship with the other person. Whether it is a spouse, child, parent, friend, boss or business associate, you seldom want to jeopardize a relationship by not taking a little time to ease the other person's pain of losing.

This investment in the relationship will pay dividends down the road and makes making up much easier.

What is Negotiating - Six Basic Negotiating Tips

We spend almost every minute of every day and night negotiating with others simply to survive. So it makes sense that we can improve our personal and professional lives by learning better the techniques of negotiating.

What is negotiating? It is the resolution of conflict. Conflict occurs naturally between parents and children, with medical and legal professionals, government officials, employees, retail clerks and others. The need to negotiate in our day-to-day situations or encounters permeates our very existence. Learning how to better handle such conflict is an important way to improve our personal situation. It leads to enabling us to enjoy life a lot more.

Learn how you can make negotiations work for you by following these six basic negotiating tips.

Persuasion Techniques

The First Tip - Never discuss settlement terms until the end of the process, when both parties are committed to trying to resolve the situation. Before discussing the meaty terms of a settlement get to know each other, find out what you can about possible competitors, learn as much as possible about the issue at hand, determine if this is really what you need or want, wait until they indicate that they really want or need to settle.

The Second Tip - The purpose of negotiating is to discover the term parameters of the other person. You want to know the most the other person will pay for something or the least they are willing to sell for so you can couch your initial offer or response to strategically position your offer or proposal.

The Third Tip - Try to get the other person to make the first offer or proposal. Knowing how to bracket your response will let you move the final outcome toward your goal. But the starting point is a critical step in getting there. Manipulating the other person into making the opening proposal allows you to set the parameters of the negotiation to your advantage.

The Fourth Tip - Prepare before meeting by considering why you are negotiating, what you expect to gain, why that is important to you, and what you expect to have to offer. If you fully understand your needs and wants you will be able to quickly determine if continuing a negotiation is worth your time.

The Fifth Tip - Test the market before sitting down. Get comparable prices, talk with others, and establish reasonable parameters for the negotiation. The key to a successful negotiation is keeping your proposals and counters within a range of reasonableness. Do not undermine your credibility by appearing ill-informed or overly aggressive.

The Sixth Tip - Be aware when it is time to bring the negotiation to a close. Don't let the discussion drag on as the other person may lose interest, patience or the desire to commit. Over negotiating often kills deals or agreements that should have been made.

Learning the answer to "what is negotiating" is a first step in understanding life a little better. Every interaction with another person is a small negotiation waiting to be escalated into a major dispute or argument.

Handling minor negotiations properly is the cement that builds good and lasting relationships.

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When to Accept an Offer
What to Avoid When Negotiating


The population of America is over 300,000,000 people. That means there are 300,000,000 different ways we negotiate as we each handle negotiations uniquely. Negotiating is a contact sport. We are always in the game. To be effective you must be able to persuade others to listen to your arguments, consider your arguments, and decide that they want to help you achieve your goals.

They do not need to decide that you are right. They do need to want to help you.

There are three essential elements in personal negotiating:

1. Persuasion
Managers must motivate employees to do their jobs allowing the manager to succeed. Teachers must motivate students to study and produce homework and learn. Parents must convince their children not to play in the street, do drugs or otherwise step in harm's way recklessly. Whenever two or more people come in contact there will be some level of conflict.

Resolving the disparate interests is a matter of establishing a commonality of interests.
People can be motivated by many things. Simple fear, the desire to be liked, a respect for the other person, or simple avarice and greed are examples of persuasive techniques. But there are many ways to persuade others to help you. They all play off the core psychological drivers that effect most people.

In a relationship with a spouse, child or parent a consistent response, positive or negative, on your part will condition the other person to react in a specific way. Parents, teachers and employers use this persuasion tactic of reinforcing positive behavior. Be aware that the opposite approach can work to your disadvantage. If you bully or abuse your spouse or peers you can expect them to begin to expect this behavior and react to it. Eventually your actions may destroy the basis for the relationship.

Persuasion is not a bad thing. Everyone uses persuasion throughout their lives. If you are unable to convince others to want to help you, you will find it hard to achieve your objectives and maintain healthy relationships.

2. Compromising
Compromise, in a negotiation, is the process by which each party gives a little to get a little. It is the process of merging interests to yield a balanced outcome meeting the needs, not necessarily the wants, of the parties to the agreement.

Relationships require compromise. In order to get along long term both individuals must develop the desire to help the other achieve happiness and satisfaction. This is not easily achieved if you are always trying to win every argument, or every discussion, every fight.

It is important to learn to help each other achieve your respective goals. To do that you need to take the time to understand the other person's needs and wants.

3. Trust
For any relationship to work there must be a basis of trust. Negotiations are colored by the natural inclination of each person involved to trust or distrust the other. This need to trust each other is essential for groups of people to function well together.

If one person makes a habit of breaching a confidence, breaking his word or outright lying distrust will cause strife and distrust in the relationships. This distrust, if left unchecked, will grow into resentment and ultimately ruin the relationship.

Consider your future when contemplating breaching the trust with someone you care about. Is the quick victory really worth the long term impact?

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How to Sell a Used Car - Five Negotiating Tips

Unless you are a used car salesperson, selling a used car is like selling anything you no longer want or need, a chore. Buyers are typically limited on resources, wishing they could afford something better, and expecting to negotiate the price aggressively.

Somehow when buying a used car we all think we are the world's best and most adroit negotiators. Similarly, private sellers seldom sell used cars and are primarily motivated to complete the negotiations quickly and move on to their new car. Neither buyer nor seller is very experienced. Both have a good idea of what they want and how far they are willing to go. So the opportunity for a quick negotiation is present.

To be prepared for the negotiation required in selling a used car, consider these five negotiating tips.

Typically buying or selling a used car is the perfect setting for a negotiation. Buyer and seller are both motivated. The power balance is about even with both parties having the ability to say no, the buyer having cash and the seller having the sole asset in question. The points of leverage may be inn time. If either party has a deadline, that weakens their position. The complexities of the transaction are limited to price, terms, and warranties, if any. The setting is ideal for a quick negotiation.

1. Define your objective. As a seller you will want to know what the least amount of cash is that you will accept. This is not your asking price. It should be about 80% of what you ask. You should also consider if you are able or willing to provide some seller financing for the right person. If so you may be able to get more for the car and make a little of the interest. Just make sure you are clear that title to the car won't pass until the final payment is made and that you must be named as a co-insured on the buyer's insurance.

2. Be prepared. The condition of a used car is always an issue. If you want to bring in top dollar, clean the car up, inside and out, and have it polished or detailed. Street appeal is especially important when trying to sell a car. Also have the maintenance records available so the buyer can see that you have maintained the car and that there have not been any major problems. It is also smart to have the VIN number and search completed to evidence the car has not been in a serious accident. By doing these things you are anticipating the questions of the buyer and reducing negotiating issues.

3. Don't go first. Knowing that there will be a negotiation you have set your asking price higher than what you need to get. The buyer may try to get you to come off this price before making a bid. You don't want to do this as strategically you have set a price to start the bidding. Stay firm on your price until the buyer has made an offer. Much as your price is high, their price should be low. It will not be their best price but the most they are willing to offer to get the negotiation started.

4. Don't forget the terms. The terms of a deal can make the enable a buyer to offer more than if he had to pay cash. If you have reason to trust the buyer or want to make a little interest and maintain a certain price for the car you can offer to finance the purchase for the buyer. In a time where the bank will give you 1% or less on money in a savings account or CD you can easily charge 6% to 10% as a financing charge. By making payments a buyer may be able and willing to pay a little more. But make sure you are comfortable with the buyer servicing the debt before considering this strategy.

5. Be Observant. Watch the other person's reaction during the negotiation. You can usually see signs when buyers are reaching their upper limits or are becoming uncomfortable at your pressure. Don't over negotiate if the deal is acceptable.

As a seller it is important to recognize that there are many used cars on the market. Your buyer has a number of options. They can buy in the area or elsewhere on the internet. They are free to choose to go to the next seller if the negotiation becomes counter-productive. If you feel you have a legitimate buyer in hand and the price is acceptable, it is your job not to let him get away as he may find a better deal and not return.

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How to Negotiate Taxes with the IRS

Are you behind on your taxes, worried that the letters are getting more threatening and the penalties are mounting, paying more attention to the tax relief ads on TV, losing sleep at night? It may be time to talk with the IRS.

A taxpayer must meet one of two basic requirements to be able to negotiate with the IRS. To qualify you must be able to prove financial conditions such that you cannot pay your obligations in full or that you have a reasonable reason for not filing or filing late.

If you qualify under either of these scenarios consider the following insights on what to expect when negotiating with the IRS.

Poor Financial Situation
If you believe you qualify under the poor financial situation qualification there are two common strategies to consider when making a proposal to settle your account:

1. Compromise Settlement - Formally called an Offer in Compromise this is a filing that allows the taxpayer to make an offer to the IRS for an amount that approximates what IRS could reasonably anticipate collecting from you. This is rarely accepted by the IRS except from people who truly cannot pay.

2. Full Payment Under An Installment Agreement - If you can get your penalties and interest waived, you may be able to reach an agreement by which you would repay the actual tax liability in monthly installments. This makes catching up with the IRS financial more bearable but does not actually reduce the liability.

Reasonable or Legitimate Reason
If you were out of the country, incapacitated or otherwise prevented from filing promptly you may have a reasonable argument as to why you were late and can request consideration. Penalties and interest for not filing promptly or failure to pay your taxes on time are substantial. If you have a legitimate excuse for not filing on time or being unable to pay your taxes when due you may be able to get waivers of the penalties and taxes.

These penalties are a scare tactic to encourage prompt payment. The penalties and interest can be waived if you have a legitimate reason. If so, you may request either or both be waived.

Be Proactive - Don't Ignore the Problem
What you do not want to do is ignore the situation. You will eventually have to work things out with the IRS. The longer you wait the greater the penalties, the more the interest, and the less likely you will find an auditor or IRS agent willing to consider your pleas.

Get Help
Once you decide to file either a reduction in taxes or request for waiver of penalties and/or interest make sure you find out precisely what you have to do to file. Errors in the filings are probably the biggest reason for rejection of the requests.

There are times when getting help makes sense. Negotiating with the IRS may be one of those times. The intent of the penalties, process, and forms is to intimidate you, the taxpayer. Enlisting someone to help you through the process is a good idea to lower your anxiety and accelerate the process if for no other reason than the fact that they know the process.

If your problem is large enough to warrant getting help make sure you get a qualified professional to assist you.

How and Where to Buy Gold

Gold is currently a hot commodity. While jewelers make it glitter and adorn beautiful people with it, people, banks, nations, investors, hedge funds, ETFs, and even the International Monetary Fund buy, hold and sell gold. The reason? It may be a hedge against swings in the markets.

The problem is the word "may". No one knows and no one can assure you that gold will go up or down. But you can count on the fact that it will be volatile and that is a problem for the short term investor. If you are buying gold for a short term hold you are taking a risk. The reward may be good but it is just as likely to be bad.

Before investing in gold, consider these four tips on how and where to buy gold.


Define Your Objective
Why you are buying gold will determine how you buy gold. Decide if this is an investment, emergency currency fund, hedge against inflation fund, or short term profit oriented strategy. Your answer as to what your objective is sets how you will take possession. The choices are to take personal possession of bullion or coins, to have someone hold your gold for you, or to invest in the stock of a gold mining company or ETF.

Select Your Broker There are many entities who handle different types of gold transactions. You can buy bullion through large gold resellers, local gold stores, or coin dealers depending on what you are looking for in your purchase. Most stock brokers can also sell you gold mining company shares or ETF shares. Each specialize in different commodities but there is one constant: make sure your dealer or broker is reputable as you normally have to advance the funds and receive delivery days or even weeks later.

Time Your PurchaseLately gold has been moving as much as $100.00 an ounce up and down in a single trading session. As with any investment purchase it is best to avoid buying at the top of the market. No one can tell you what will happen in the next hour much less 24 hours so you should do your own research before making apurchase. Observe how the market reacts to news events and other variables that you feel may force the price up or down. Listen to your broker or vender and try to learn from them how trends will likely unfold always remembering that they make money off your purchase and sale; not off the gold they are selling. So they want you to buy or sell. The reputable ones will value your business and try to be helpful. Then make your decision based on your best guess as to where the market is going.

Verify What You Have Bought There are many ways to defraud a gold buyer. Make sure you count or weigh your purchase to ensure it has not been 'shaved' to some degree. Make sure the coin is the coin you specified. Make sure the purity and weight markings are what you specified. Take it slow and ensure that you have received what you agreed to buy at the price originally agreed upon when you sent your funds.

While buying gold is not a negotiation the same techniques of preparation and patience apply. The due diligence you put into your research before making a purchase will pay dividends down the road. You understanding the needs and wants of the broker help you filter the information he or she is providing you. By your having the ability to decide when to buy or sell, it gives you the power to resist the pressure of a gold salesman. In this negotiation the broker is a middleman. You are the buyer and the variable is time and strike price. You are negotiating against the market and the market is insensitive to your manipulations.

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How to Negotiate

How to Buy A Used Car - Six Negotiating Tips

Everyone has bought or helped someone else buy a used car. It is usually how teenage boys get their first cars. If they are fortunate enough to have their father there to coach them, it is the lesson that they actually listen to and take to heart.

Because we frequently purchase used cars we all think we know how to negotiate with a car dealership. To some extent this is true. But consider this, used car sales people do this all day long. They likely make as many deals in one week as you will in a lifetime. So they are more practiced than you are. That is a given.

So it is wise to respect your adversary when buying a used car. The dealer will have many tactics and techniques to eke the best possible price out of your negotiation.

To be prepared to buy a used car, consider these six negotiating tips.

Typically buying a used car is the perfect setting for a negotiation. The buyer has limited assets and the seller is eager to get the car off his lot. Both parties are motivated to make a deal. The setting is ideal.

1. Define your objective. Never discuss price until you are you have found the car you want. Price may make a car appear attractive but that allure will fade when you see what you really wanted in the paper or another lot tomorrow or the next day.

2. Be prepared to buy. Make sure you know what the car would cost elsewhere before making an offer. There are several blue book resources and online shopping can give you a feeling for a fair asking price. The actual condition of the car you are considering will only tweak what the car should bring as compared to others that are available.

Remember, asking prices are marked up in anticipation of buyers negotiating discounts and offsets. When you find the used car you want get it checked out by your mechanic before you negotiate the price. A lemon is a lemon at any price!

3. Manage your time. When you have found the car you want don't start negotiating with limited time. Come back when you have ample time as the dealer will use the negotiating delay tactic to make you anxious to complete the deal and drive out with your new car. Avoid this trap.

4. Don't go first. Knowing that there will be a negotiation, the asking price is always set high. Before you make a firm offer ask what the best deal the seller is willing to take is. Typically the seller will pare something off his price to get the negotiations started. This will not be their best price but the most they are willing to offer before you state your price.

There are times when they will drop their price below what you are about to offer. Even if this is the case grimace and feign that their best price is slightly out of your reach. Slowly make your counter at a price affordable to you but beneath their asking price to establish the parameters of the negotiation.

5. Don't forget the terms. The terms of a deal can make the price more or less attractive. Make sure you factor in the financial impact of the terms before settling on the final price. Do not pay top dollar for deal options or maintenance agreements. This is often where the dealership makes high margins. Keep it simple and negotiate the best price and financing when buying a used car.

6. Be Observant. Be aware of the other person's response to your offer. Your objective is to bring the negotiation to a close just before they decide not to sell. Don't over negotiate.

While salesmen in dealerships have experience negotiating the sale of a used car you have an advantage of your own, the power of choice. There are many used cars and many dealerships. There are private and public sellers. You can buy in your town, in your area or on the internet. There are online and print resources. Because you have all these options or choices you have a lot of power because you are free to choose to go to the next seller if you are not happy.

If the salesperson will not come down to what you know the low market is, then leave your number and walk out indicating you have other opportunities. At this point the salesperson only has one buyer. This means he will need to come after you and improve his deal or, which might be the case, he paid too much to get the car and is not in a position to be competitive.

Either way, you time is valuable and you need to know if you can deal with the person or go to your next option.

When to Barter - The Difference from Negotiating

Bartering is a tactic, not negotiating. To barter is to effect trade by the exchange of commodities, assets or services on a par value. Negotiating is an endeavor designed to add value by the exchange of disproportionately valued commodities.

Barterers focus on the exchange of specific commodities based on their intrinsic value. Negotiators look at all of the aspects of a negotiation and seek to identify potential ancillary incentives or concessions that can be combined with the primary commodities to leverage perceived value and thereby create incremental value.

It is important to know when to barter and when to negotiate. Consider the differences.

By creating perceived value negotiators are able to motivate others to do what they otherwise would be reluctant to do. Introducing other incentives is also a viable negotiating tactic to counter a power play. Without ancillary issues to thwart a frontal attack there will be little reason for the party with the most power or strength to compromise, AKA negotiate.

Bartering exposes one to power plays. Everyone knows that he who has the gold makes the rules. The basic concept of negotiation is to expand the conversation from a direct exchange of two commodities, assets or services by offering something of modest value to you which may be perceived as very valuable to the other person. In return for obtaining this ancillary commodity or service the other person should devalue their position on the original item. In agreement, both parties come away with more value than expected thus creating incremental value.

Rule #1 of Negotiating: The objective of negotiating is NOT to win the negotiation. It is to achieve your goal or objective. Giving something of marginal value to achieve a important objective is prudent use of your assets.

Rule #1 of Bartering: The objective of bartering is NOT to win the exchange. It is to exchange your commodity, asset or service for something of comparable value with a minimum of effort and time. Getting a needed commodity or service without having to expend your time and effort is prudent management of your calendar.

In most negotiations we assume that the prime motivators are avarice and greed. It is the use of other, less obvious motivators that makes the difference between those who barter and those who negotiate. Negotiating has the potential of creating value from the process. It is like making 1+1=11 rather than 2. In your discussions you should always be on the lookout for what might be of value to the other person. This is best accomplished by taking the time to understand the needs and wants of the other party in addition to your own goals and objectives.

Simple bartering is appropriate in many situations where time and convenience trump the effort to try to negotiate a better price. At the grocery, for example, you simply exchange money for a can of asparagus. There is no negotiation because you are dealing with an intermediary who gains his or her benefit from very slim margins. They value you as a customer but only marginally. They hope to keep you as a customer by providing reasonable service, good products, competitive pricing and convenience. Your decision to purchase from them depends on how you rate the grocery compared to the competition; not based on how much you hope to negotiate off the price of a can of asparagus.

How to Buy - Six Good Negotiating Tips

Everyone has endeavored to optimize the opportunity to buy cars, boats, homes, appliances almost anything directly from owners. When dealing in the resale market don't forget to negotiate.

We live in a fast paced, got-to-have-it-now world. Unfortunately this environment is good for sellers and bad for shoppers. In a high pressure environment the time and patience required in any negotiation is often considered too burdensome to do properly. So the shopper settles for making the seller happy.

There is no reason to forego go proven negotiating tactics in the interest of immediate gratification. There are few things so precious that failing to get one today diminishes the value of getting it tomorrow. To learn how to buy almost anything, develop these six good negotiating habits.

The First How to Buy Tip: Define your objective. Never discuss price until you are sure it is the item you want. Price does not make the item any more useful or beneficial to you. It may make it appear attractive but that allure will fade when you find a better widget tomorrow or the next day.

The Second How to Buy Tip: Manage your time. The purpose of negotiating is to get the item for the best possible price within a reasonable length of time. Time is a valuable commodity and you don't want to spend too much time negotiating for a $1.00 item when there is a $100.00 item around the bend that you really want.

The Third How to Buy Tip: Don't go first. Before offering a price ask the other person what his or her best price is. There are times when they will drop their price below what you are about to offer. It is a standard negotiating tactic to get the other person to make the first offer so you can adjust your offer accordingly.

The Fourth How to Buy Tip: Be prepared to negotiate. Make sure you know what the 'widget' would cost elsewhere before making an offer. Preparing for your shopping spree should include some due diligence before leaving home so you are prepared to recognize a good deal when you come across it.

The Fifth How to Buy Tip: Don't forget the terms. The terms of a deal can make the price more or less attractive. Make sure you factor in the financial impact of the terms before settling on the final price.

The Sixth How to Buy Tip: Be Observant. Be aware of the other person's response to the negotiation. There is a time to bring the negotiation to a close just before they decide not to sell. Don't let the discussion drag on as the other person may lose interest or patience. Over negotiating can kill a deal that should have been made.

These how to buy tips are routine negotiating tactics that can be applied in almost any venue. They obviously are valuable when buying a used car, negotiating for a boat, purchasing a time-share or condo, or making any significant purchase. The trade-off is time. The larger the purchase the more time you may want to spend on the negotiations.

Divorce Settlement Agreement

Knowing how to negotiate a divorce settlement agreement is as much about handling your emotions as it is about negotiating an equitable settlement.

This has got to be a difficult negotiation. From the start those involved are unhappy with each other or at least less than motivated to accommodate the other person. Moreover communications have likely reached a low and tempers are likely to flare at the slightest provocation.

That said, there are important issues to be negotiated and resolved so everyone can move on to the next phase in their lives. If there are children involved their interests really should be considered as a priority.

You and your spouse will need to tackle this problem together. It may not be something that the two of you should take on without the help of professionals. No matter how you decide to approach the task, to handle the situation properly you should follow these steps to be prepared.

A divorce settlement need only be a problem if you are not ready:

• Clear Your Head - Find a way to leave the reasons for the divorce at the 'door' and be civil.
• Practice Effective Communications - Allow your spouse to speak and listen to what she is saying. When you speak, make sure you are not using inflammatory language and observe your spouse to insure you are being understood.
• Don't React - Negotiating is about the best offense, not a good defense. Don't lose control of the discussions by being drawn into another argument or emotional spat.
• Mitigate Your Losses - In a divorce there are no winners. Both parties are losing a lot. What you are trying to do is salvage what you can from a bad situation. This is an excellent time to embrace compromise and seek to mitigate your losses. It is not time to be seeking revenge.
• Prepare - Agree on the issues to be negotiated and make sure both parties know what information and documents will be needed to properly address each item. Don't forget to consider addressing future expenses such as college tuition for the children, retirement planning, health insurance coverage, and all the costs of keeping the house. It is frustrating to have to reschedule a meeting because someone forgot to bring a key piece of paper.

Do you need an attorney for a settlement conference? Not necessarily. If things are relatively civil between you and your spouse you may be able to do it yourselves or with an impartial observer. To this end you might consider a member of the clergy, a professional mediator, or a mutual friend.

How to Negotiate a Severance Package

Getting laid off is never fun. In difficult economic times layoffs are all too common. Companies have a need to improve their bottom line for any number of reasons but remember, it is at your expense that the plan is being implemented. The best way to mitigate your personal pain is to negotiate the severance package by customizing it to your personal needs.

To negotiate a severance package that best fits your needs identify how a layoff is going to impact you personally.

Sure, you will be out of work. But what does that really mean? The company will typically be offering a universally equitable package to all affected employees.

You need to consider the layoff a personal situation and put aside company loyalty and resist the argument that they are doing what is best for the company. That may be true for the company but as of the layoff notice you are no longer a valued member of the company. You will soon be on your own. You will want to negotiate a severance package customized to your personal needs.

Before accepting the severance package as offered consider enhancing it by taking these two essential steps.

1. Assess your situation:

Evaluate your potential for finding another job, how long it might take, if you need additional training or schooling, if there is a likelihood of having to take a cut in salary or benefits. Getting back to work has cost in time and loss of income and even job search expenses. Knowing what you are likely facing in terms of expense will help you assess the reasonableness of the severance offer from your perspective.

Evaluate your personal needs for things like medical coverage, help finding another job through professional outplacement support, continuing use of a company car or computer for a period of time, the right to continue to use an office while you search for a new job, or other support that will specifically help you between jobs or to find a job.
When you negotiate a severance package consider asking how the company might help you find your next job.

Often the Human Resource Department will have contacts and resources that they use to find people which can also be used to find job openings. Just having the contact information will help you; getting a paid outplacement service is even better.

If you or a family member has an immediate medical situation or need you may want to see if you can get that resolved before you are removed from the company health insurance plan.

2. Prepare your counter-proposal:

Consider whether you have the leverage to ask the company to increase your package or if you need to work within the parameters of the offer extended. Many companies are limited in their capacity or flexibility when it comes to large layoffs. When considering how to negotiate a severance package you will need to be sensitive to what the company is able to do.

If the company is limited in capacity or is facing bankruptcy, your proposal may need to trade off some of the offered package in exchange for specific continuing benefits that would make your transition easier for you. Often the cost to the company for continuing a lease on a car is far less than the cost to you of leasing or buying a comparable car. The company should not care how they compensate you as long as the total cost to the company remains static.

If the company has the ability to deal individually when negotiating severance packages in order to do what it can for their departing employees, you can counter by adding continuing benefits that make your unique situation easier to absorb personally.

In either event your objective and the argument you are making to the company is to clearly explain why certain continuing benefits are critical to making the best of a difficult situation essentially caused by the company. They are laying you off so the company can improve its bottom line. That means they are thinking about the company's welfare; not yours.

You are entitled to ask the company to be a little more expansive in how they take care of you as they implement their corporate improvement plan. Make your case civilly, professionally and backed up with specific reasons for the trade-offs or additions you feel appropriate in your case.

Remember, the offer of a severance package is only the first round in a negotiation that is very important to you.

How to Negotiate a House Price

Unless you are a real estate investor or developer, there are few personal items that will cost as much as the home you buy for your family. Your home represents far more than just an investment. It will become your castle, your nest, your family's home base. The point is that when you negotiate a house price you may or may not be the best person to do so because there are emotional issues that may hinder your ability to negotiate effectively. An example might be the pressures of a spouse who really, really, really wants the house.

Buying a house comprises two diametrically opposed issues. One is location and configuration. These are personal issues that are based on your preferences, proclivities, and desires. They are emotive and philosophical by nature. The other is financial. It is based in hard numbers and facts. One reason real estate brokers can be of value is that they can take on the negotiating aspect of the transaction leaving the personal issues to you. It is up to you to find and select a home that meets your personal criteria. It is also your responsibility to manage how the broker handles the financial negotiations.

Just because you delegate the financial aspect of the acquisition does not mean you relinquish control. To manage the broker's efforts on your behalf when negotiating a house price you will need to provide him direction.

Brokers are not acquiring the house. They are not paying the mortgage. They are looking to make money on the deal as efficiently as possible. You can help them achieve their goal by clearly giving them direction about your expectations from them while they act as your agent.

1. Determine how much you can afford to pay in terms of down payment, monthly payments and total price. Then tell the broker not to waste your time with anything more than 15% over the maximum you know you can comfortably afford. You can likely get the asking price down a bit but there are always hidden costs that creep into the picture so a little buffer is always nice to have.

Brokers frequently try to get you to stretch. You need only be firm. Your time is valuable and if you have set your budget accurately, there is little reason to look at anything that is out of reasonable reach. Do not let the broker tell you not to worry about the price just find what you want. He or she is trying to draw your emotive side into the equation hoping to get you to stretch a bit. This is not servicing your needs. Brokers should be directed to do what you ask not what they think might be best.

2. Determine the requirements you need in terms of size, number of rooms, lot configuration, distance from work, and whatever other criteria is important to you. Tell the broker these are your requirements and that you do not expect him to bring in properties that deviate substantially from your criteria. If you are looking for a three bedroom house and the broker continually presents you the perfect five bedroom homes you are working with the wrong broker as he is wasting your time as well as his own.
3. Make sure the broker is showing you all available properties that meet your needs not just the listings from his company. Too often brokers try to maximize their commissions by only sharing their listings. You need a broker who will try to service you fully regardless of his or her commission.

4. Some brokers represent both parties. This is known as dual agency. By law they need to tell you if they are representing both parties. If so, realize that your broker is legally obligated to fairly represent the seller as well as you. This is not an optimal situation if you are going to rely on the broker to negotiate the best possible deal for you. In such a case you can refuse to approve a dual agency listing asking the broker to find you or the buyer another broker or you can assume the negotiations yourself.

5. Set the price you are prepared to offer. Depending on the broker's role you will want to establish the maximum you want to pay and the minimum you should offer. Do not let the broker recommend a high initial offer to not offend the seller. Brokers traditionally try to narrow the gap quickly to get a deal made before losing the opportunity. You should be more interested in negotiating the best possible deal. The seller, just like you, wants to see a deal made and is not likely to get too upset with a modest offer. Just keep it reasonable from your perspective based on comparable sales which the broker should provide you and the economic climate.
6. Ready to negotiate? When you are ready to make an offer and start negotiations you should provide your broker with specific guidelines that he can work within without your prior consent. I recommend that you:

• require the broker to discuss any offer with you before it is tendered;
• obligate the broker never to intimate to the seller what you might be willing to do;
• thoroughly debrief the broker as to how the seller reacted when presented with an offer; and,
• require all offers and counter-offers to be in writing.

I actually prefer you be in the room so you can assess the reaction personally but sometimes this is not possible. The reason is that the reaction goes a long ways towards guiding your next response. When the broker, any broker, relays what happened they will, consciously or not, bias their report to you. It is like the old 'telephone' game. A phrase is repeated through several people and changes with each restatement.

When to Use Power

"The use of force is the last option for any president. ... You know we have used force in the recent past to secure our country." -- --U.S. President George W. Bush, on the possible use of military force against Iran.


Power is a constant in all negotiations. Understanding the dynamics of power in conflict settings is essential to mastering its potential. Skilled poker players know that for a bluff to be effective you must first establish yourself as being a competent player with a tendancy to back up your bets with good hands. The public remarks made by President Bush certainly deliver that message loud and clear. As he has done in Afganistan and Iraq, he has used our military when negotiations fail. By rattling his saber, President Bush is pressing Iran to soften their resolute posture before he is forced to act. This does not mean he wants to act. Only that he might act and is not afraid to do so.

Power can complicate negotiations. Viable deals are often missed because one side assumes the other will not negotiate or will take undue advantage of their strength. This false assumption can result in an acceptable offer never being tendered. In fact, were a proposal made, there is always a chance that it could lead to a satisfactory result.

Everyone has power in a negotiation if they have the ability to walk away from the "table". A powerful person or company does not always hold all the cards. No matter your net worth, company size or investment in the situation, if you can get up and walk away, you have a degree of power. You have the power, and it is absolute, to say "No!".

In today's world, every nation appears to be vying for their own power base to remain significant on the national stage. Iran and North Korea are using the threat of obtaining nulclear status to grab the center stage while the rest of the world is trying to diminish the nulclear threat. America is very aware of the growing threat and is putting them on notice. We may just have to use the power we have to thwart their efforts as we have done in the past. His statements are to be taken seriously as he has the track record of doing what he says he is going to do. Saddam did not listen or believe. Hopefully others will.