Executive Personal Assistants and Negotiation Skills

Executive Assistant often has to deal with negotiation in their roles. This is because they will encounter business at a high level and often be responsible for negotiating with suppliers, other department and even customers, whilst their managers are absent.

Therefore, a successful Executive Assistant will need to develop some great negotiation skills, if they are going to succeed in their careers. However, approaching the business world for the first time as a negotiator can be intimidating.

How should I prepare myself?

Think about your skills that you have developed in your work experience and in your wider life. Remember when you are dealing with people skills, such as negotiations, you can draw upon your life experiences. Outside of work, where will you have negotiated?

• Buying your house
• Getting your jobs
• Getting holiday approved
• Compromising with your partner, husband or wife.
• Or even negotiating for cooperation with the toughest bargainers of all,
your children.

The above examples are likely to be encountered by the majority of the population, at one point or another. So when you are preparing to negotiate on a business sense, you should think about all of the strengths that you possess in a negotiation. I would do this exercise and right down a list of your natural attributes.

What makes a good negotiator?

There are many attributes to a good negotiator. Here is a list of the skills that one should possess:

• The ability to prepare and research the subject. This is important because you need a sound base of knowledge to argue your points. It will also help you to understand what the best outcome is for yourself and what motivates the other side.

• The ability to prioritise. We rarely get anything that we want in a negotiation, as there has to be an element of compromise on both sides. Therefore, you need to be able to prioritise your requirements that are fundamental to the outcome of the negotiation.

• Listening. You need to understand where the other side is coming from. A failure to appreciate their point of view, may lead to you failing to come to final agreement.

• Open mindedness and adaptability. You often are presented with potential solutions during the discussion.

Therefore, you will need to be able to take on new ideas and outcomes and see if they can work for you. Often a suitable outcome is presented to you, which you had never expected. If you are inflexible, you will miss these opportunities.