By Nick Musumeci

More than a hundred business professionals crowded into the ballroom at the Radisson hotel in Hauppauge. Some took notes, others simply listened, all intent on learning how to get the best deal possible.

“We’re not playing to not lose; we’re playing to win,” said attorney Joe Campolo, the event’s speaker and coordinator. “You’re only trying to get the best deal possible.”

The seminar’s purpose was to help businesspeople become better negotiators, by using proven techniques designed to help control emotions and dictate direction of the negotiation.

Campolo, who is managing partner of Ronkonkoma-based Campolo Middleton & McCormick, drew upon his years of experience as a lawyer to advise his audience on how to act in certain situations. This is the third year the seminar has been offered.

“Joe is a great presenter, and in my business you need to negotiate,” said Patricia Sullivan, an attendee who works in staffing. “I got some good information.”

One of the key points that Campolo stressed was how to manage emotions and use them to one’s advantage in different situations. “Emotions can divert attention from substantive issues,” he said.

Campolo also talked about how to view one’s adversary. For instance, when negotiating with someone of a lower title or stature, it’s important to show that person respect and consider the successes he or she has had. Campolo mentioned how some colleagues get offended when they are sent to negotiate with an associate rather than a partner, instead of mutually respecting their adversary for graduating law school and getting to where they currently are.

“A little bit of courtesy goes a long way,” Campolo said.

While some lines of work don’t necessarily involve negotiating with other businesses or clients, nearly every business professional will, at one time or another, have to negotiate with their superiors about their own compensation. Getting a raise is never easy, even for some of the hardest working employees, and Campolo stressed the importance of keeping one’s cool and staying alert during a stressful salary negotiation.

“Negotiation is a proactive process; if you prepare for it, you’ll get a better deal,” Campolo said. He mentioned how doing one’s “homework” on both the person one is negotiating with and the situation one is in will usually lead to a more lucrative deal. Even something as simple as finding out what college the opposing negotiator went to, or finding out what their favorite sports teams, bands or movies are can go a long way, he said, stressing that finding common ground can both ease tension and build an emotional connection with the superior. If one’s boss can identify with a subordinate, the boss is more likely to give a beneficial deal, Campolo added.

When asked how to deal with people that are unable or unwilling to compromise, Campolo simply replied, “Walk away.”

It’s safe to say that many of the attendees walked away from the seminar feeling a little more confident in their ability to negotiate.

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