How to get what you need in negotiations

My iPod is loaded with all types of music, ranging from country to techno to classic rock. Each song instills a different mood in me, and I select my playlist depending on what I need as inspiration that day.

If I'm at the gym, I'll often select something with a steady rhythm, maybe something like New Order's "Blue Monday." When I'm sitting on a bus in traffic, I'll choose something more calming, like Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind." And when I'm off to an intimidating meeting, I'll click on The Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

While that title sounds like a deterrent, it's the refrain -- "But if you try sometimes, well, you just might find you get what you need" -- that pushes me to go for it in whatever negotiation I'm in.

It's funny how often a negotiation will turn the bravest, most capable person into a quivering bowl of jelly. The truth is, negotiating is really easy if you understand the basic steps involved, whether you are buying a home, asking for a raise or just persuading your pals to go out for tacos instead of sushi.

Here are some quick and easy techniques from my book Cheetah Negotiations to help you get a jump-start on all negotiations, big and small:

'Who Are You?'

The first part of a negotiation is to understand yourself and then (whenever possible) assess the party you'll be negotiating with. A good tool to get a sense of your inner workings is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a personality assessment based on four key personality dimensions.

Assessments generally involve answering several questions designed to identify the four-letter personality type you belong to, such as ENTJ or ISFP. The letters are pairs:

E or I — Are you an Extravert or an Intravert?

If you're at a party, do you prefer to mingle with everyone (E), or would you prefer to catch up with a small handful of good friends (I)? Do you get excited or animated around others (E), or do you prefer to work on your own? (I)

N or S — Are you Intuitive (N) or Sensory (S)?

This pairing defines how you process information. Do you go by your gut feeling (N), or by cold, hard facts (S) when making a decision? Do you look at what could be (N) or what is (S)?

T or F — Are you a Thinker (T) or a Feeler (F)?

When you make decisions, are they based on proven data and explained with comments like “I think” (T)? Or are your decisions based more on your own values and expressed with phrases such as “I feel” (F)?

J or P — Are you Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)?

How do you choose to live? Is your work area neat and tidy (J)? Or do you prefer to keep it more spontaneously organized and flexible (P)? People who fit the J classification prefer an orderly life and are happiest when matters are settled. People who fit the P classification prefer to be spontaneous and are happiest when their lives are more flexible.

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