3 negotiation power moves you must start using immediately

Negotiations are a part of our careers whether we like it or not, so we need to get more proficient in order to advocate for ourselves, our teams, and our organization. HBR explains that there are different types of moves in negotiation, and power moves are those that convey to the other party that negotiations are actually necessary.

To get you up to speed on power moves to supercharge your next negotiation this article gives you the goods on three different power moves you haven’t heard of yet. 

Get geeky about your supporting evidence

When you have a strong position and the data to back up your arguments, you need to be geeky about how you present it in your negotiations. For example, if you are negotiating your salary and you know the comparable figures of colleagues in similar roles and industries, you need to present that data powerfully, visually, and professionally.

In Gorick Ng’s upcoming book The Unspoken Rules: Secrets to Starting Your Career off Right, he describes a case study, where a professional was diligent and meticulous in collecting her comparative salary data. She analyzed the figures, tabulated the information, and was ready to present a one-pager of her findings to her superiors. 

It’s one thing to say “I’m being underpaid.” It’s an entirely different ballgame when you say, “When compared to my colleagues with similar responsibilities, education, and titles, it appears that they are making 14% more than I am. Would you support me in advocating for equity?”

Ng explains that most managers are floored by the detailed data, and there’s really nothing to argue against when faced with the facts so clearly. Next time you need a power move in your negotiations, go deep in the data, and take the time to analyze and present it cleverly. Data isn’t your thing? Ask a trusted advisor or colleague who’s good with numbers to help. 

Dangle the carrot and don’t be subtle

Sure, this seems obvious, but are you really being upfront with the other party about the benefits of negotiation for them? You need to be crystal clear about the incentives for them to come to the table.

Even if it seems like a no-brainer, spelling out the positives is in your best interest. It might not be understood by them for a variety of reasons. Keep in mind that people are busy, and you might not be the priority. 

To get the other party to come to the table with their best foot forward, you need to make it about them, and NOT about you. Everyone assumes they’re going to have to fight for what they want the most in a negotiation, working hard to explain why their demands matter. But what if you came prepared and already knew what the other party wanted, and assured them you’re on their side, ready to make that happen, in a mutually beneficial way? You might be surprised by the positive response.

Negotiations don’t have to be adversarial. If you put into practice your powers of research, empathy, and fairness, you’ll be speaking their language, and will set them at ease. Convincing them that you also have valuable demands will be much easier when you work together going after that carrot, rather than battling it out in the boardroom.

Get backing and keep it in your back pocket

For any negotiation in the workplace, it would be best to get backing from the higher-ups preemptively. Even if you’re a master negotiator already, having the name ready to drop in your discussions with the other party could just help nudge them over the line to start the process.

Remember that power moves are there to smooth the path to the negotiation table, so keep your tone and arguments as friendly and logical as possible. If things start to go a little sideways, you already have the name to drop to get things back on track. But if you wait to get this key piece of leverage, you might leave the conversation in a precarious state, and you’re giving the other party time to second guess things.

Preparation is key, but preparing for all scenarios and possible difficulties is a power move that will set you apart. And (hopefully) you won’t need this move, but having the option in your back pocket will bolster your confidence and give you an unspoken edge in negotiations.