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.

The Present – 7 Ways to Get There

How many times a day…or should I say a minute…are you actually planning ahead to some distant place in your future? Do you even have a clue? Has this habit of living in your head become so rote that you have no idea of how to even broach this question? With all of the worldly demands that we have weighing on our shoulders, it’s a wonder that people ever access the present moment at all. Or is it?

I actually caught myself doing this very thing this morning. While on a beautiful early morning hike (a rarity) with my lovely husband, my oh-so-crafty mind seemed to be on a mission. Actually, it proceeded and succeeded for a few disturbing moments, to bring me up and out of my GLORIOUS present. Let me just tell you, this present moment was quite extraordinary. The air was fresh, (for L.A. can we say miracle?) the woodsy outdoor smells were blissfully intoxicating, a crystal clear blue sky was upon us, a spectacular view of looking down on the entire city had us in awe, no one was else on the trail, my best friend was by my side and we were getting some awesome thigh burning exercise. Yes!

So why in the *%@^ did my mind want to take me out of that feel good place and suddenly have a conversation about, (drum roll please) what we should do for CHRISTMAS?!? Come on, Christmas? Really? It’s early November and all is right in this moment, but my 3 pound chatter brain has other ideas. It wants to transport me out of this divine moment and have me analyze, fret, worry etc…about holiday plans. Jeez, how incredibly ridiculous! Thankfully I became AWARE of this pattern (victory!) and found myself aggressively saying out loud, “I don’t want to be planning right now, I want to enjoy this gorgeous hike. (dangit!)” So instantly I started appreciating all the beautiful things I was enamored with before and magically I became present again. Then I picked up on my husband’s silent thoughts reeling a million miles a minute and I proceeded to get annoyingly hooked in to HIS mind. Wow. If it’s not one mind, it’s another. Enough!

So this is what we’re up against. THIS is our daily work. Our lovely minds are simply doing their jobs of planning, scheming, analyzing etc…and will until the cows come home. However, if we are armed with AWARENESS of when our little friend is pulling it’s number, then it’s a new day and we can take back our true essence of BEING.

So what can we do to stop these mental gymnastics of incessant worrying, planning, comparing and despairing when all we want to do is truly enjoy the Present Moment?

Grab a pen…

1. Take deep full breaths and let your breath anchor your feet to the ground.

2. Notice that subtle internal shift from when you are feeling good to suddenly landing in that busy head space.

3. Stop what you are doing and get out of your head by doing something that brings you JOY.

4. Some possible ways of accessing a state of BEING again are: playing with pets, putting on a favorite CD, doing a little jig, stretching into the yoga position of downward dog, taking a leisurely or a brisk walk, venturing out into nature, giving someone a hug etc…

5. Focus on all of the BLESSINGS in the present moment you are in.

6. Let GRATITUDE saturate your whole body and soul.


Ahhhhh, this magnificent Life of yours.

Isn’t it wonderful?!?

How To Engage A Presentation Audience – Use A Theme To Your Presentation

When we think about about a presentation we typically consider the presentation itself, its preparation, planning and rehearsal. But it’s also critical to consider how we engage our audience — how we actively encourage their listening, understanding and belief in us. Just standing on the podium and speaking won’t do the trick.

Fortunately there are some techniques that we can use. And a major technique is the presentation theme. There are 5 things to bear in mind, though, when we use a theme in our presentation.

  1. Make it memorable. Themes help our audience to remember our presentation. And when our audience only retains some 10% of our speech that’s important. Themes are remembered by an audience because they can be. They work in much the same way as logos, slogans or catch phrases. They are typically creative, clever and appropriate for the task.
  2. Keep it simple. Our theme should be both simple and consistent. The simplicity is critical for memory — we don’t want our audience struggling with complexity at this stage of the event. Consistency is all important. We should neither deviate from the theme during the presentation nor be tempted to make adjustments as we go along.
  3. Be practical. Our theme should evoke practicality and purpose. If it has these qualities it will be familiar to our audience and prove more meaningful. Practicality suggests utility and benefit — both are of interest to our audience. When our audience can sense practical benefits attributed to listening and engaging their engagement increases.
  4. Be thorough. There is no need to struggle for ideas when thinking of a theme for our presentation. There are many workable approaches to getting it right. We can talk to the conference organizers. We can establish whether the conference itself has a theme. Or we could identify if our particular day has a theme to it. In either case we should aim to use this theme — or tweak it slightly to our own purpose. Using something that has resonance elsewhere will be productive. As an alternative we can look at all the other presentations on the agenda and establish whether there is a theme that runs through all of them. If there is, then use it. We could also think about some of the pressing issues that our audience will recognize from their work or professional interests. Issues such as: competition, globalization, outsourcing, innovation or quality. Such issues might be both relevant and familiar. Therefore, they could prove useful in building a theme that is practical, consistent and simple.
  5. Consider the objective. As we finalize our theme we should recall the purpose or mission for our presentation. We are looking to achieve something with our audience. Change their ideas. Change their opinions. Or, change something that they do. Our theme should help us in this mission. Both our purpose and our theme should be aligned.

Our audience will only recall some 10% of our presentation. Our task as speakers is to increase that percentage or, at least, ensure the right 10% is retained. A practical and memorable theme will boost an audience’s memory retention and assist their engagement.