We've spoken with negotiation expert, Keld Jensen, who shares his advice on how to successfully manage a negotiation. 


1. Find your starting point, goals and pain threshold 

Before you enter the negotiating room, you must have prepared a starting point, an objective and a pain threshold. The starting point is your current situation. The objective is what you want to achieve overall, and the pain threshold is the point at which you do not accept the job at worst, or speak up if the does not meet your expectations or requirements. If you don't know these three factors, you aren't ready to start negotiating. 


2. Factors 

You can prepare various factors that you want to negotiate for example, salary, pension, education or vacation. It's about being creative. The more you negotiate the more successful you will get at it.


3. Select a Strategy 

Too many negotiate only on wages. This is called a zero sum situation where one party will typically be satisfied, while the other party will be unsatisfied. It is difficult to find a compromise and usually leads to a standoff. If you use a strategy where you think not only about what you yourself get out of it, but also what your employer gets out of it your negotiation will go better.


4. Prepare an agenda 

Those who have a well-prepared agenda are more likely to successfully negotiate. You should make it clear what it is you want to talk about at the beginning of the conversation. Set out the agenda for the debate and stay focused on them. 


5. Create the right atmosphere

Instead of diving straight into negotiation try to create a good, positive atmosphere, talking about something else.


6. Avoid the boss's office

Don't negotiate in your manager's office, giving them an immediate home advantage. Find a meeting room or another location where you both are neutral. Additionally, you get better results if the interview takes place on a round or oval conference table rather than sitting at a square and confrontational table. 


7. Be honest without being naive 

Always be open, honest and transparent when you negotiate. Don't play a games, keeping your cards close to your chest, bluffing or lying. The employer will probably check all the relevant information afterwards. If it turns out that what you are claiming is incorrect, you will of course lose their trust. Conversely, don't be naive and reveal your pain threshold immediately, as the employer will automatically make you the lowest offer. 


8. Create trust

Your personality and ability to create trust is essential for a successful negotiation. Both in a negotiation and in the general business situations assume that your success will in part be the result of your work, training and seniority but the majority of your success will result from human engineering. That is, your ability to communicate, be well-liked and build trust. 


9. Avoid being unreasonable 

For example, asking for a 10% pay rise when the company has had a 15% decline you are probably being unreasonable. This can easily create distance and reduce the seriousness of the debate.


10. Use questions 

Many believe that you should have prepared a lot of arguments when going into negotiation. But these can get in the way as they can act as a defense. Instead, use questions to which the receiver itself to answer. For example, 'what do you think of my work?', 'what do you think is a fair salary for the work I am doing?'.


11. Avoid complacency 

It is important that you are not easy going. You should not just accept the first offer. If your manager's first offer is to give you a 4 percent wage increase, do not just accept it (at least not immediately). If you do, it will have consequences for the next time you negotiate, as your manager will remember that you accepted immediately and they will probably make you a lower first offer because of this. When you negotiate, you should always ask a counterclaim. If you are satisfied with the 4 percent, you should ask for additional development opportunities. This is not for values sake, but more the psychology of negotiation. 


12. Put yourself in the other party's situation 

Many of us, particularly in the Western world are too self centered. We tend to only think, "I need to achieve is ... or what is my risk." In fact, we should turn it right around and ask, "What would be a win for my employer? What are the drawbacks for them? And what does it cost them? If you consider things from the counterparty's perspective, you will likely be a successful negotiator.


Your salary is only one of the many things, you can include in your negotiations. See what else can be put on the table in our advice for contract negotiation.