Master the Art of Negotiation

Get the Books and Software You Need

by Michelle A. Dick, Senior Editor

On the road of life, differences in opinion and how to reach a compromise are part of the journey. We first learn to negotiate our needs as a toddler. We move on to negotiate about toys and homework. As an adult, we realize the full potential of negotiation with our spouse, employer, clients, and colleagues in our office or business.

We negotiate in our personal and professional lives every day. We negotiate when we want to get a bargain at a garage sale, when we want to eat at a particular restaurant, or when we want to make a change at work. Sometimes it’s easy to negotiate; but at other times, when we have a lot at stake or we are upset, the task is intimidating and difficult. Negotiating to a reluctant employer that up-to-date coding books are a medical necessity or negotiating to a vendor for a fair software price can be intimidating.

Fortunately, all you need is a strategy to keep your coding books or software current and eliminate undue negotiation stress. We’ll step you through the process with our list of negotiation “dos” and “don’ts” to help you tactfully obtain the coding books or software you need, so both parties benefit from the outcome.

Avoid Confrontation

Effective negotiation is both parties working together to find a solution. It isn’t a contest to be won or a battle of wills. A surefire way to get what you want is to look for a solution where both parties are winners.

Attitude is everything when entering into a negotiation. A hostile or defensive attitude will get you nowhere fast. If you are confrontational, you will have a fight on your hands. Set the tone for a cooperative interaction.

For more on how to effectively communicate to coworkers, please read the article, “Which Hat Do You Wear?” in June’s issue of Coding Edge.

Watch the Timing

There are good times and bad times to negotiate. Avoid entering into your negotiation at a bad time, which include:

  • high stress levels (i.e., right before or after a physician sees a patient)
  • tiredness or hunger on either side of the involved parties
  • anger on either side
  • preoccupation with another pressing issue

If the negotiation is to take place during one of these times, reschedule for a better time.

Be Prepared for “No”

Before entering into a negotiation session, prepare other options to suggest if the preferred solution is not acceptable. Anticipate why the employer may resist your suggestion, and prepare a counter alternative. If the cost of purchasing books for the entire coding staff is an issue, suggest sharing books with coworkers (for example, one set of books for two-three staff members).

Be Clear on the Goal

It’s important to discuss what you need and why you need it. Often disagreement exists because of the solution’s method or costs, but not about the overall goal. Throw Emotions Aside

When a negotiation is important to you, it’s normal to become emotional. Always maintain control. The more emotional you become, the less apt you are to channel the discussion into constructive directions. It can be particularly hard to maintain emotional control with someone you don’t particularly like or agree with. Stay focused, as it’s important to put aside individual differences, and stick to the issue of obtaining necessary coding books and software.

Find Out What the Hang-up Is

When negotiating for new coding books, use questions to find out what the other person’s concerns are. Ask questions such as, “What are your concerns with purchasing up-to-date coding books?” and “Is there anything I can do to help expedite this, such as filling out and sending the purchase order?” Listen to the response and address the concerns.

Understand the Other View

Finding an acceptable solution for both parties involves understanding the other side’s differences regarding the issue. If you don’t know what the person’s concerns are, you can’t negotiate properly.

Find the Solution, Not Who’s Wrong

Negotiating is about finding solutions. You shouldn’t try to prove the other person is wrong. If you disagree with the answer, state your disagreement in a gentle, yet assertive, way. If you argue, you won’t get the books or software you need, so don’t waste your time. Power struggles don’t lead to resolution.

Using these negotiation “dos” and “don’ts,” can help you effectively resolve any difficult situation. Remember, you are the one who controls the outcome of the negotiation and has the power to get what both parties want.


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