The Basics of Negotiation

by Ron Haynes

Negotiation. Bargaining. Arbitration. Compromise. Negotiation is communicating with another person to find a mutual agreement on an issue or transaction. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word negotiate originally meant “to tackle successfully”, as in “to clear on horseback a hedge, fence, or other obstacle.” Today, we negotiate to overcome the objections that keep us from achieving our goals.

negotiation Whether you know it or not, you’re in a negotiation process more often than you think. It can pop up when you receive a wrong order at a restaurant. It can pop up when you’re buying a vehicle, a home, or anything at a garage sale. Negotiation is a process, and the more familiar you are with it’s moving parts, the better you’ll be at clearing those fences.

1. Know What You Want

Remember: always consider what’s in it for you financially, emotionally, intellectually, physically, or professionally. Knowing where you want to take your horse may mean that the hurdle in front of you isn’t even necessary to clear. Carefully outline your objectives and remember that getting there doesn’t mean you have to go in a straight line.

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2. Know What Your Counterpart Wants

Understand the financial, emotional, intellectual or physical resolution that he or she is looking to walk away with. That hurdle is there for a reason. If you can understand why it’s there (and it isn’t always obvious), you may be able to find a resolution that is a win-win for both of you.

3. Anticipate Objections

Make sure that you have relevant evidence at your fingertips with which the other party can identify and relate to. The more you understand about the other party in the negotiation, the better you can anticipate those fences and craft your responses in terms they can understand.

4. Identify Concessions

Determine your absolute non-negotiable items and desirables and what you are willing to give and take. This gets back to knowing what you want. You also must know what you could do without. Your counterpart doesn’t know what those items are, so when you concede a point, you appear willing to compromise and your counterpart will probably reciprocate.

5. Determine Your “Walk-Away”

Define the point at which there is no need to proceed with the negotiation. Not all negotiations end with a sale, or with you getting exactly what you want. That’s why the best negotiators know what concessions they’re willing to make up front (Hint: ask for more than you expect). If your counterpart stalls or asks for too many concessions, you’ll know it’s time to move on.

To get the most out of negotiations and to learn a great deal about the process and how you can almost always tilt the odds in your favor, read Secrets of Power Negotiating by Roger Dawson. For more information you can read my review of the book!

Photo by J.harwood

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 988 articles on The Wisdom Journal.


The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.



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