Advance Negotiation Skills

negotiation skills

Advanced NegotiationEffective negotiating is one of the keys to organisational and personal success in any business. The ability to navigate through a negotiation with the proper skills and techniques, is a powerful attribute for those who possess the secrets. Negotiation is, “To confer with another or others in order to come to terms or reach an agreement.”

An effective negotiator’s goal is to co-operate, collaborate and to arrive at a win-win situation. It is not your solution or my solution but our solution. Negotiation is something that we all do almost everyday with our families, friends, colleagues, customers, bosses, employees and even in brief with strangers. Negotiation is a life skill, core management activity and an art that must be learned and developed, whether we are trying to:

  1. stop a riot
  2. obtain a contract
  3. obtain funding
  4. stop a war between several countries
  5. reach an agreement with a child or spouse

One of the biggest barriers to effective negotiation is anger. Getting emotional and losing your temper serves only to halt or confuse the situation. Our thoughts govern our feelings, feelings determine actions and actions determine our destiny. Therefore, the key is to control our thoughts. If you fail to master your thoughts you will never be a master negotiator.

An important point to note is that all negotiation is communication. The better you are at communicating, the better you will become at negotiating. Negotiation rule number 1 is, where appropriate get it in writing. “Excellent negotiation helps to gather support, wins the confidence of others and improve our chances for success.” Be:

  1. aware of the major challenges faced when negotiating and how to overcome them.
  2. prepared and plan your strategies for effective negotiation to take place.
  3. able to negotiate effectively using powerful, proven and effective beginning, middle and ending gambits and counter-gambits.
  4. able to apply proven principles and techniques to arrive at a desired outcome.
  5. aware of the importance of time, information and power and their effect on negotiation.
  6. able to apply a disciplined process to the negotiation.
  7. aware of the wants and needs of the other party before the start of the negotiation.



  1. be conscious of the messages that your body is sending.
  2. be sure to observe closely the messages being sent via the other persons body language.
  3. be wise, support what you say by how you say it.
  4. If you are physically at ease, the negotiation process will have the best possibility of running smoothly and effectively. When your mouth is in action, what impression does your face give? Are you smiling or is your jaw too tight or relaxed? Always check your appearance in a mirror and ask yourself, “What impression do I give dressed this way?”

Does the movement of my body, especially my hands, support what I am saying? Is my posture straight, upright or am I slouched, too near, too far, slumped, or higher or lower than the other person? Do I mumble, complain, criticise, beat around the bush, or do I get straight to the point, clearly, directly and specifically? Is my tone acceptable with the right accent and volume? Finally, am I able to look confidently into other people’s eyes, or must I turn away and gaze at the ceiling, floor or other objects? Be wise, support what you say by how you say it.


  1. listen with empathy and establish a relationship before the negotiation begins.
  2. ask questions and listen closely to words and feelings.
  3. be sure to communicate Accurately, Clearly and Effectively (ACE).


  1. establish your objectives and put them in order of importance.
  2. find out what the other party really wants.
  3. do not go against your values or expect others to go against theirs.


  1. create and stick to an agenda and where appropriate get decisions in writing.
  2. be fair, flexible and prepared to give up some ground.
  3. the key is not my solution or your solution but our solution, so compromise a win-win.


  1. beware of tactics that are used to manipulate, side track or influence you.
  2. do not rush and make rash decisions, if a deadlock looks hopeless, buy time.
  3. never use a tactic if it will affect a relationship.

There are so many good and bad tactics to negotiation. It is your responsibility to be fully aware of them and know how to use or counteract them. Here are some tactics that are used all the time.

1. The ladder approach

Discuss and resolve easier issues first, then work your way up to the more difficult issues last, i.e., cost or final outcomes.

2. Silence is golden

Keeping silent is an art that many people find extremely difficult to do. Yet it is one of the most powerful strategies in active listening. Silence enables you to fully understand and appreciate others. It also causes others to view you differently. It pays well to remember the old proverb: “even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” Do not use your silence to plan what you are going to say next, use it to understand what others are saying. Learn from the old adage: “you learn more with your mouth closed and your ears open.”

“Never forget the power of silence, that massively disconcerting pause which goes on and on and may at last induce an opponent to babble and backtrack nervously” Lance Morrow.

3. Walk out

During the negotiation you may choose a strategic point to walk out or close the meeting.

4. Limited authority

During the negotiation you declare that you do not have the authority to make the final decision. The way to counter limited authority is to seek to negotiate from the beginning with the person who has the final say.

5. Feel, felt, found

I understand the way you feel, I felt the same way before but I found that this is the best way forward.

6. The delay

When it’s time to make a decision tell the other person that you will think it over and get back to him/her. While you are thinking it over, get advice from others and sleep on it. When it’s time to decide you will be in a better position to do so.


  1. always honour your word (let your yes be yes and your no be no).
  2. be honest and faithful.
  3. treat others the way you would like them to treat you.


  1. state your needs, wants, feelings, opinions or beliefs in a clear, direct and specific way.
  2. do not be passive, aggressive or paralytic, be confident.
  3. be positive at all times.


  1. always think ahead before agreeing to anything.
  2. continuously review what’s going on before, during and after the negotiation.
  3. be creative and imaginative, if there’s a stalemate, find the underlying cause.


  1. the largest room in the world is the room for improvement, (know your strengths and weaknesses).
  2. you must continually develop your Attitude, Skills and Knowledge (ASK).
  3. read books, listen to tapes, watch videos, surf the internet, attend seminars and listen to the masters.


  1. control the way you think, feel and act and do not let things get personal.
  2. always remain calm, self-controlled, honest and professional.
  3. be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.


  1. do your research, homework, prepare in advance and determine your bottom line goal.
  2. consider your (B.A.T.N.A) Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement.
  3. be creative and come up with more than one alternative, (remember the rule of 3, M.I.M). Maximum, Ideal and Minimum.
Before you enter the negotiation, you should agree with your colleagues at least three figures or positions. The maximum, the most that you could possibly take away from the negotiation. The ideal is the figure that you are really after. Anything between 60 to 80 percent of the maximum is my ideal. The minimum is your bottom line, the lowest figure or position that you would settle for.