Negotiating Skills


Negotiation involves two or more parties, who each have something the other wants, reaching an agreement through a process of bargaining. This section explains the principle of this exchange and gives you the confidence and skills to conduct negotiations and achieve a mutually acceptable outcome. Designed for easy access to relevant information, and including practical tips, this section covers the whole process of negotiation, form preparation of closing a deal, and is suitable for novice and seasoned negotiators alike. It includes essential advice on devising a strategy, how to make concessions, what to do when negotiations breaks down, and how to make use of third parties to resolve dead lock and conflict.

This month we will cover:

1) Preparing For A Negotiation

To negotiate successfully you need a game plan – your ultimate aim and strategy for achieving it. Prepare thoroughly before a negotiation to facilitate the success of your game plan.

1) Defining Negotiation

Negotiation occurs when someone else has what you want and you are prepared to bargain for it – and vice versa. Negotiations takes take place every day between family members, with shopkeepers, and almost continuously – in the workplace.

A) Understanding The Principals

Successful negotiating – an attempt by two people to achieve a mutually acceptable solution – should not result in a winner and a looser. It is a process that ends either with a satisfying conclusion for both sides (win/win), or with failure – for both sides (lose/lose). The art of negotiation is based on attempting to reconcile what constitutes a good result for you and what constitutes a good result for the other party. To achieve a situation where both sides win something for themselves, you need to be well prepared, alert, and flexible.


To become a good negotiator, learn to “read” the other party’s needs.

Bear in mind that it is almost impossible for a negotiator to do too much preparation.

B) Recognizing The Skills

Negotiation is a skill that any one can learn, and there are plenty of opportunities to practice it once learned. The core skill required for successful negotiations include:

The ability to define a range of objectives, yet be flexible about some of them;

The ability to explore the possibilities of a wide range of options;

The ability to prepare well;

Interactive competence, that is, being able to listen to and question other parties;

The ability to prioritize clearly.

These proficiencies are useful in every day life as well as in negotiations. By taking the time you learn them, you will be able to enhance more than just your bargaining abilities.

Studying Negotiation

At the start of a commercial negotiation, two teams face each other around a table. Note how each team member’s body language is supportive of their partner.


Start by visualizing possible gains not losses

Practice negotiating to improve upon your skills

C) Categorizing Types

Different negotiation types require different skills. In business and commerce, each instance of negotiation displays certain characteristic. It may be formal or informal, ongoing or a one-off, depending on who is negotiating for what. The parties involved in a business – such as employees, shareholders, trade unions, management, suppliers, customers, and the government – all have different interests and individual points of view. Whichever groups you belong to, you need to reconcile such differences through negotiation: for example share holders negotiate with boards of directors over come strategy, unions negotiate with employers over pay and conditions, and governments negotiate with accountants over taxation.


Be prepared to compromise when you negotiate

Determine your Strategy according to the type of negotiation

D) Appointing Agents

John F. Kennedy, Us President, once said, “Let us never negotiate out of fear; but let us never fear to negotiate”

In reality, of course, you may be reluctant to negotiate because you are afraid of an unfamiliar process. If this is the case you can find some one to negotiate for you. Such people are known as “agents”, and they can be assigned as much or as little responsibility as you, the “principal” who employs them, which to give them in a give negotiation. However, you should always clearly layout the full extent of that responsibility in advance of the negotiation.

Some common examples of agents include trade union members, who negotiate as agents on behalf of employees, and lawyers, who often negotiate as agents on behalf all types of stakeholder in an organization, including management, shareholders, and customers.


Define an agent’s responsibilities very clearly

Points To Remember

When negotiating, you need to know where you are prepared to give ground – or not

A matter under negotiation may be intangible, and therefore must be defined before negotiation can proceed

Negotiation implies that you are willing to compromise on the issue under discussion

Anything that applies to you as a negotiator applies to the other person with whom you are negotiating

Negotiating Informally In Daily Life

Domestic situation often involves negotiation. For example, you may agree to take your neighbor’s children to school every Monday and Thursday if they take yours on Tuesday and Friday, and you each alternate Wednesdays. On occasion, negotiated terms may need to be renegotiated. For example, you may have negotiated a price for one vase in a bazaar, but if you buy more than one vase, you should be in the position to renegotiate for a lower price in the first vase. When putting an offer on a house, you may have to raise your offer and renegotiate terms if someone else is interested.

Negotiating With An Agent

If you are considering buying a house, you will need to discuss terms and conditions of the purchase with an agent, who represents the needs of the vendor.