How to negotiate effectively

Do you remember your first negotiation?

You were probably four years old, and you were trying to convince your parents to leave you playing a bit longer with your friends in the park.

Or was it that first night out? All of your friends could party until 3 A.M. but your parents saw you as “Cinderella”; you’d better be home by midnight!

You ended up telling a bit of a fib - you were going to sleep at some friend's house so you could party all night, but that wasn´t negotiation, that was strategy and we’ll speak to that later.

I don´t know about you, but with my parents there was never any real negotiation, the minute they’d made up their mind on something there was no way that you could change their mind, especially with my dad. That’s what, in technical terms, we call an assertive negotiator (see below). The only thing you could do, with respect to the other party, was to behave as best you could and hope to squeeze something out of them later.

Over the years, whether you like it or not, a part of your negotiation style will have been influenced by what you´ve seen around you, at home, at school, with partners, friends , they've all played a part in defining your negotiation style.

For some people negotiating feels effortless, for some others (including myself) it takes more preparation and study.

Then, how do we define “negotiation”?

“Discussion aimed at reaching an agreement”.

Please don´t forget this! I know you know the meaning, but the tendency is for us to forget it. The end goal of every negotiation is to come to an agreement, ideally one that benefits both parties, but we'll discuss this on my next point.

So, what are the three basic negotiation styles?

Assertive (“no”, my parents),

Accommodator (relationship oriented)

Analyst (conflict avoidant).

The Assertive is “win” oriented (whoever says they don't like winning…they’re lying to themselves!)

Often direct and blunt to the point of being harsh, this type is generally lacking in empathy and sees time as money. They get big victories early on, but then burn people out. They ultimately run the risk of driving people, relationships, and opportunities away.

The positive side? They know how to say “no”, and hey, being able to say no is also a skill, especially when it comes to negotiations which are not favorable and where we feel cornered.

The Accommodator is relationship oriented and the most likable. Being likeable is a great asset, needing to be liked is a great vulnerability. I’ve heard Stuart Diamond (author of Getting More) say people are six times more likely to make a deal with someone they like.

I always say this myself: “people buy your services, not only because of the quality of your product but mostly because they like YOU as a person”.

The downside? Because of a desire to have a good relationship, Accommodators can find themselves either getting pushed around or not making good, implementable deals.

The Analyst is “win” oriented also, just not as “in-your-face”. They love data and detailed preparation. For Analysts, when it comes to time, it’s very much “as long as it takes to get it right”. They often seem cold and distant. They’re always prepared, or they won’t talk to you until they are.

The downside here? Their fear of getting caught off-guard can keep them from getting to the negotiation table before they should.

What a good negotiation can do for you?

● Help you build better relationships.

● Deliver lasting, quality solutions — rather than poor short-term solutions that do not satisfy the needs of either party

● Help you avoid future problems and conflicts.

We know what our own negotiation styles are and what the benefits of a good negotiation look like, we are only missing the strategy.

What are the strategies for negotiating?

Understanding the other party's interests and tactics is integral to good negotiating.

Choosing a strategy that best responds to their interests and tactics will help you achieve the best outcome.

Problem solving — both parties commit to examining and discussing issues closely when entering into long-term agreements that warrant careful scrutiny

Contending — persuading your negotiating party to concede to your outcome if you're bargaining in one-off negotiations or over major 'wins'.

Yielding — conceding a point that is not vital to you but is important to the other party.

Compromising — both parties settling out toward an outcome that is moderately satisfactory to each participant

Inaction — buying time to think about the proposal, gather more information or decide your next tactics

So, for your next negotiation remember that being likeable and intentionally applying the emotional intelligence of empathy (tactical empathy) is the best overall approach. Think implementation through, be ready to say “no”, look for favorable long-term relationships and you will be the most successful negotiator under the widest variety of situations that you can be.

Do you think you need additional support on the art of negotiation? Book your 40 minute free consultation session and discover how we can hone your skills.


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