negotiation strategies

Office of Finance Negotiation Strategies

Negotiation in any setting is a combination of skill and strategies. Your goal within the Office of Finance is to develop negotiation strategies that result in successful agreements and a healthy bottom line.

Identify Skills that Create Successful Negotiation

Take stock of the skills you have that will serve you well during negotiations.

  • Communication is at the top of your list. Make note of your ability to:
    • Make others feel comfortable and respected.
    • Clearly and objectively express expectations and limitations.
  • Seeing things from another’s perspective helps you to be aware of a vendor’s or contractor’s position.
  • Confidence in your interpersonal abilities allows you to reach out to competing companies as you seek the best service/product for your organization.

Review Proven Negotiation Strategies

Review strategies that have worked in your past negotiations. Whether you are seeking agreement on the terms of technology upgrades, or brokering for marketing services, turn first to tried and true methods.

  • Be transparent about your terms from the outset. The agent you meet with is then encouraged to do likewise.
  • Build rapport with the other person, encouraging in-person meetings and regular communication.
    • Get to know each other’s commonalities and organizations.
    • Keep in mind your businesses’ association may develop into a long-term relationship. Starting off on the right foot is respectful for all involved.
  • Reach out to other competitors.
    • Communicating with other contractors and vendors informs you about available services, terms, and products.
    • Bring what you learn to the negotiation.

Keep the Negotiation Moving

Time waits for no one, and that is certainly the case with reaching an agreement.

  • Develop a negotiation plan before your initial meeting.
    • Detail in-house goals, including agreement absolutes and financial limits.
    • Request a list of must-haves and non-negotiable terms from leadership.
    • Prioritize other potential negotiation points such as discounts, agreement duration, and service/product upgrades.
  • Make concessions that are reasonable for both parties.
  • Avoid an item-by-item approach, focusing instead on bundled trading points.
  • Take a risk and try new approaches if negotiations are reaching a stalemate.


Ending on a note of respect, regardless of the outcome, sets a positive tone for future interactions. It also adds to your organization’s reputation of being astute, reasonable, and fair.


For more communications tips, check out Communication Skills for Workplace Success.



leadership communication

The Pitfalls of Limited Leadership Communication

Effective leadership communication is a necessity if an organization is to thrive. When leadership is permeated by communication limitations, there are numerous pitfalls that can result.  Such as, unclear expectations that can cause employees to feel frustrated and disengaged. Accomplished leaders maximize the full potential of  their employees by being actively engaged. This requires feeling comfortable communicating seamlessly with different people, regardless of hierarchy.

Avoid these Leadership Communication Missteps

  • Keep a check on stress. Being overworked or fatigued leads to limited listening and quick responses that may be perceived as being rude.
  • Communication behaviors, including negativity, affect others’ interaction patterns. This can lead to misunderstanding and tension between staff and with customers.
  • Awkward forms of communication appear in writing as well as verbally. Misinterpreted written messages can lead to mistakes and interfere with work relationships.

Effective Leadership Communication Methods

You communicate daily in your leadership role. Be aware of the communication methods you use while interacting with employees and customers. Some are motivational while others are directive. Ask yourself which methods are best suited for various situations.

  • Listen actively and show respect when communicating.
  • Use teaching strategies when mentoring or reviewing tasks and procedures with staff. Demonstrate and discuss, asking questions to gain clarity and expand inquiry.
  • Directive strategies are used for non-negotiable processes. Teaching can be employed, sharing reasons for necessary tasks. Doing so increases transparency, a vital workplace practice.
  • Engage employees whether you are gathering information or viewing operations. Smiling and addressing them by name can be as appreciated as a kind word.
  • Use clear, descriptive writing to reduce misinterpretation. Follow up verbally for clarity.

Watch for the Outcomes of Positive Communication

  • Employees approach you more often with questions or when in doubt.
  • People share ideas more often. They show increased signs of engagement and enthusiasm.
  • Managers employ the communication strategies you’ve been using. They talk with you about their own changes and effects on their departments.
  • You are learning more about effective communication every week.
  • Absenteeism decreases.
  • Improved performance and staff interactions.
  • Customer satisfaction improves. At first you are aware of compliments and anecdotal occurrences. Later it shows up in performance and bottom line data.

No matter how how skilled an employer’s leadership communication style is, there is always more to be learned about effective communication.  As long as managers remain focused on bettering themselves, they will inevitably thrive in business and motivate others to do the same.


Check out, Communication Skills for Workplace Success

business email etiquette

Business Email Etiquette

On average, about a quarter of the work week is spent reading and answering emails, according to the McKinsey Institute.  However, despite that statistic, many professionals still fall short in proper business email etiquette.  Knowing professional email greetings and professional email formats makes a difference.   When it comes to your business emails, you need to make an impression that you are a credible professional that people can take seriously.

Begin with a Professional Salutation

Set the tone of your email with opening word selection. Be cordial, while refraining from overly friendly openings. Your salutation, or greeting, should include words such as:

  • Hello
  • Good morning
  • Good evening
  • Greetings

Such terms connote professionally positive outreach and reach across international boundaries.

Craft a Captivating Subject Line, Introduction and Email Purpose Statement

A clear, direct subject line assures that your email will be opened. Introduce yourself by name, title, and organizational affiliation. This sets the stage for your central message.

  • Move on to stating the purpose of your email.
  • Use active language to describe the purpose of your message.

Know Your Audience to Create a Relevant Message

Form a cohesive message for the body of your email. Clearly share details that you will interest your reader.

  • Know you audience, following guidelines related to culture and business setting.
  • Avoid sarcasm or inappropriate use of humor.
  • Begin with the reader’s interest in the topic to select and itemize relevant facts.
  • When your message includes a request for participation, clearly state what it is.
  • Prepare an attachment for more detailed messages.

Proofread and Do So Again

Thoroughly review your email, including attachments. Be sure content is accurate. Check for typos and weak language usage. A polished, error free message conveys professionalism, attention to detail, and a solid grasp on proper business email etiquette.

Remember: An email is a written document that may be shared with others. Be sure that it represents the face you want to present to the world.

Summarize with a Concise Closing

Prepare an action focused closing paragraph that neatly summarizes your overall message. Use a positive, professional tone. Highlight your email’s content. Limit repeating word use except for terms that are most relevant to your message. State if a reply is anticipated, including a preferred date. Otherwise, include that a reply is not needed.

Sign Off Professionally

Sign off sincerely, using terms such as “regards” or “best regards.” Do not use emojis. Stick with professional acumen to assure your message is professionally received.

Business Email Etiquette Overview

Whether you are building a new business relationship or reinforcing a current relationship, the level of professionalism that you show in your communications, including business email etiquette will have a huge effect on your success.


For more business communication etiquette, check out Communications Skills for Workplace Success