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Tag Archives: Negotiations

Seal That Deal!

Trevor No Comments

Some say it takes a lifetime to become a master negotiator. But, you’ve got to start somewhere, right?

To help you get started or just to refresh some concepts, we’ve put together a short list of 5 things experts consider vital to conduct a successful negotiation and close that deal!

  1. Do not confuse people with interests

 Negotiation experts Roger Fisher and William Ury, emphasized in their bestseller “Getting to Yes”, the need to treat people softly but tackle problems the hard way.

Usually when people negotiate they take one of two positions: they’re either the “hard” negotiator (all or nothing) or the “nice” guy (let’s just agree on something we both want). The problem with the first one is that you may shatter relationships, but the second one may not lead towards the optimal outcome.

Fisher and Ury then propose a third position: the “principled” negotiator. In this scenario, participants are not friends or adversaries; they are problem-solvers that have come together to reach an optimal outcome that is both efficient and amiable. Negotiators take emotions into consideration but act unbiased, they propose several scenarios and reach a result based on objective standards not mutual “agreement”, being influenced by reason and not pressure.

An interview with 700 Club and to Chris Voss helps explain this negotiation strategy:


  1. Develop a solid negotiation strategy months before the meeting

Sanders, Lewicki & Barry outline the ideal strategy in their book “Essentials of Negotiations.” And although I can’t cover it all in this post, here are some highlights:

  • Define your issues & interests: Issues define what you will be negotiating. To outline them you can make a list of all the things you want to cover during the negotiations. If you’re selling or buying stocks, for example, make sure to cover price, transfer costs, legal implications, etc. Then proceed to evaluate all your interests. Why are you negotiating? list your interests and make sure you can differentiate between objective and subjective interests to plan a better strategy.
  • Build your bargaining scenarios – based on your issues and interests proceed to build your scenarios, combining all desired outcomes from best to worst. Build different packages and offers you can give your adversary, always taking your adversary’s interests and possible bargaining mixes into consideration.
  • Pick objectives and opening offers –. Experts suggest you set your starting offer higher than expected to give enough room to negotiate all the way down to your desired outcome.

Source: Stattys.com

  • Define your best alternatives to the desired outcome (BATNA) – define what would be the last offer you can take before you leave the negotiation. Be ready to walk away if what’s being offered doesn’t appeal to you.
  • Analyze your adversary – this involves understanding your adversary’s agenda, their bargaining scenarios, their interests and needs and of course to understand their walk-away points and best alternatives. (Pretty much, seek to learn your adversary’s strategy before the negotiation).
  • Write down your meeting’s protocol – make sure both you and your adversaries know who is attending the meeting, where will it take place, at what time and what will be negotiated. Set common rules and share the meeting’s agenda.

It is vital that the negotiating team takes time to conduct research, review the proposals, go over the different scenarios and know their walk-away points by heart. The best negotiations are reached after long months of studying and hard work.

For more strategy techniques visit the following link.

  1. Beware of the cultural and social context

When handling a negotiation is very important to understand the culture and context in which you’re negotiating. People in Asia value different things from those in Latin America or Europe. Many cultures seek to start meetings by addressing each adversary’s personal life. Others consider it inappropriate.

Beware of social structures, the value of hierarchies, the value of honor and reputation and different negotiation styles. Pay attention to those at the negotiating table. What and why are they negotiating? Is it for them or their boss? What does winning mean to them? Are you dealing with prestige interests? Or simple financial interests?

Knowing where your adversaries come from and what they value as people and citizens, will give you a better standing point in any negotiation.

Source: Stanford.edu

Source: Stanford.edu

  1. Do not fear emotions, take advantage of them

For years it’s been said emotions are detrimental to negotiations. To contemporary negotiation experts, however, this couldn’t be more false.

Nowadays, the best negotiators do not only have a high IQ but also a high EQ (emotional intelligence). Great negotiators know how to regulate and manage not only their emotions but also those of the other party and steer conversations towards a desired outcome.

Emotionally intelligent individuals can adjust a message and share information like others would like to hear it. Hence convincing the other party to feel the way they want about an offer, issue or interest.

Good body language and gesture reading is key to the topic. Usually it is your adversaries’ physical behavior that gives away their emotional state towards any given informaiton.

And finally, although this seems like a “manipulating” game, make sure you don’t stray from protocol to ensure an ethical interaction.

Source: Sessioncam.com

Source: Sessioncam.com

  1. Rest & Relax

And the last piece of advise: give your team time to rest and relax before and during the meeting. To ensure that your team is sharp at all times, make sure they get a good night sleep thenight before, plan for small breaks every 20-30 minutes and, If protocol allows, have drinks and snacks available for the teams.


For more information on the topic I recommend the following books and articles. And remember you can learn all the theory in the world, but to become a great negotiator you need a lot of practice!


  1. Essentials of Negotiations by Roy Lewicki, David Saunders and Bruce Barry
  2. Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury
  3. Top negotiations Books, Videos, Exercises and Simulations
  4. How to Talk Anyone into Doing Anything with Chris Voss
  5. Harvard Business Review:  Negotiations