Negotiation is an essential life skill, and if you're not very good at it, you might end up getting ripped off left and right. Most people are familiar with negotiation during major purchases, such as haggling with a car dealer, or making offers on a new home. However, there are other places where negotiation can save you time and money.

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In our current economic state, the prices of smaller everyday purchases are non-negotiable—you wouldn't try to make an offer for a cup of coffee at your local coffee shop, or a loaf of bread at the grocery store. Then again, this could easily change with a major economic downturn or economic collapse, as we've seen recently in Venezuela. Bartering and bargaining are major factors in places where the economy is not tightly controlled by laws. They also come into play when you're trying to negotiate a pay raise, or simply win an argument.

No matter when you need to use the skill, it's important to know how to negotiate effectively. The following infographic from American University's Kogod School of Business provides a flow chart for negotiations. Note: For a larger view, click the image, then click “Download” in the top right corner.

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While some enjoy this process, most people find it exhausting. However, an argument could be made that it's much less exhausting when you're fully in control of the situation. With the right set of negotiating skills, and some experience under your belt, the haggling process can actually be fun and empowering.


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