The Negotiator Magazine

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We lionize the small number of successful, risking-taking masters of the business universe. We forget that 90% of those in business are people who cope, keep their heads down to protect their jobs, pay the home loan and secure their pensions

"Better not rock the boat."
"Excessive demands will make them angry."
"There are rules which govern how much we can ask."
"They've got the upper hand."
"I make sure I can justify my demands."
"Let's not jeopardize the relationship."
"My boss will kill me if I blow this deal."

Controlled by fears.
Inability to face fears.
Inability to act against social conditioning.
Submission to (often bogus) authority.
Unambitious demands.
Need to be liked.
Going with the flow.
Conceding in return for nothing.
Inability to lead in team negotiations.

In conclusion, many of the mental attitudes we take with us into negotiation militate against our needs. They are born of fears, inhibitions, social conditioning, coping mechanisms, ego and drives. Identifying them is necessary to control them. Only when this is done can we effectively acquire the process skills that help us achieve negotiating excellence.

Jonathan Sims, Principal of the Human Development Centre (HDC), has been tutoring the Workshop in Negotiation Skills since 1989. You may visit the Human Development Centre at its website: Jonathan Sims can be reached by e-mail at

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May/June 2005