Ivanka Trump may come from money, but that doesn’t mean she sits back and relies on entitlement.
As the executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization, as well as the founder and CEO of Ivanka Trump Collection, Trump writes for Time’s new advice website, Motto, that she has had a lot of practice negotiating.
“I’ve successfully convinced others to let me redevelop the historic Old Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.,” she writes. “I also led the acquisition of the iconic 800-acre Doral Resort & Spa from my hospital bed after giving birth to my daughter, Arabella. (Speaking of children, I get to hone my negotiation skills each day at home; no one negotiates more aggressively than a toddler — and I have two!).”
She attributes her success as a negotiator to “meticulous preparation, an even temperament, and a genuine love of the game,” and she shares nine rules for negotiation that anyone can follow to get what they want.
Here are some of our favorites:
Set your goals in advance.
Whether you’re looking for a raise or you want to negotiate more flexible work hours, Trump says knowing what you want to achieve before heading into a negotiation is “the golden rule” for negotiating — but most people ignore it.
“Without a plan, you allow the opposing party to define your goals instead of the other way around,” she writes.
Try to understand the other person’s objectives.
“The most valuable thing you can do is correctly identify the other person’s top priorities,” Trump writes.
Oftentimes the other person’s goals aren’t at odds with yours, and you’re able to give them what they want so they feel as if they’ve won, she says.
“Yes, negotiating is about money and the bottom line, but a lot of times, it’s much more emotional and complex than that,” she writes. “Realizing that the economic outcome may not be the other party’s top priority gives you more chips to play with and will enable you to achieve better results than you may have anticipated.”
Negotiate in person, preferably on your own turf.
Don’t negotiate by email, Trump says. “It’s a cop-out that benefits the weaker party by allowing them to avoid a direct confrontation and take more time to craft a strong response.” And it’s easy to misjudge tone over email, which could be an issue, she says.
“I always prefer to speak face-to-face, typically in my own office, where I’m most comfortable,” Trump writes.
Pay attention to your body language.
“The way in which you carry yourself, even when seated at a desk, matters,” Trump writes. She notes that most of our communication is nonverbal and that messages are often conveyed through our facial expressions, gestures, posture, and audible elements, like sighs.
Her suggestions: Don’t fidget. Don’t pick your nails or tap your foot. Don’t sit on the edge of your seat because it could make you look overeager. Don’t hunch over and drum your nails because it could communicate aggression or frustration. Don’t cross your arms protectively because it could make you appear meek and intimidated.
“Regardless of how fast your heart may be beating, sit upright, make eye contact, and focus on breathing evenly,” Trump writes.
Listen more than you speak.
“When people are uncomfortable, and many people are when they have to negotiate, they start rambling as a way to fill the vacuum of silence,” Trump writes.
“Some of the strongest negotiators I know just sit back and listen. The less they engage, the more likely the other person is to slip up and offer information they otherwise would have kept guarded,” she says.
Be prepared to walk away.
If things are getting too heated or you can’t seem to get on the same page regarding terms, you can always suggest taking a few days to think about things and reconnect, Trump says.
“Negotiations can get back on track pretty quickly when you allow people the time to cool off,” she writes.