When sitting down to a negotiation, many wait to see if the other person is going to make the first move. Instead of sitting back, lead the way. Start the conversation by establishing how you two will work together. Rather than presenting demands right out of the gate and waiting for a reaction, show that you’re eager to hear your counterpart’s position. Ask about her interests and listen. Repeat what you’ve heard so she knows you understand. Share information yourself.
Whenever you suggest an option, explain your reasoning – without giving a speech – and give her time to absorb and respond. If, on the other hand, your counterpart takes charge first, in a way that you feel is unhelpful (by tossing out a position or making a subtle threat), there’s no need to follow. Suggest a different approach that would be more beneficial.
Adapted from the HBR Guide to Negotiating by Jeff Weiss.