Posted on 23rd December 2022

How to Improve Your Negotiation Skills When Dealing with Stakeholders

Dealing with stakeholders takes a lot of practice and strong negotiation skills in order to produce the best outcome for both you as the construction project manager, as well as your team. Often, stakeholders have a tunnel-vision of how they want a project to be ran, whether this is keeping costs down whilst asking for a lot of work doing in return or demanding a quick turnaround time on a lengthy project.

Therefore, it is pivotal that you learn how to become an excellent negotiator and are someone who is capable of creating a strong case during times of debate. Read on to find out how to perfect your negotiation skills in order to keep your stakeholders in line and create a balanced approach to the project, whatever it may entail.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Negotiating skills are not skills you can necessarily read about in order to absorb; they require active practice to hone, especially where an unexpected response can be the difference between complete control over a meeting and complete failure. Practicing with members of your team ahead of your negotiations can be key to internalising talking points and building readiness for improvisation.

Practice can also give you some key pointers for areas to research ahead of your negotiations. As a construction project manager, you might be helming your first large-scale project, including the hiring of contractors to manage various aspects of the build. Knowing how much quantity surveyors earn ahead of your meeting with a prospective quantity surveyor will give you the ammunition to effectively negotiate fair terms on both sides.

Hold Your Nerve

The most stressful aspect of negotiation is the sense of combativeness that comes with it. For individuals that possess people-pleasing attributes, negotiations can be emotionally taxing and uncomfortable. This can lead to premature compromises or backtracking, and the breakdown of any chance of
equitable agreement.

As such, learning to hold your nerve is key. Even if the situation feels tense, having a backbone about your suggestions and demands can result in a much more positive outcome. Of course, there is a difference between resilience and obstinance. Your negotiations should be backed up with data where possible, ensuring you have strong foundations on which to build your case.

Making Your Case

Speaking of which, the case for your negotiations is central to your success. Pulling together your research, wider industry information and the specifics of your requests – whether relating to candidacy for a role or a potential merger between companies – allows you to build an irrefutably strong case for yourself. This can be made more impactful with pre-prepared documentation or even presentation, with multimedia assets further proving your point.