The Negotiator Magazine

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The importance of this is that you will be able to convey information to other persons in a way that suits them, predict what will frustrate them during the negotiation, and generally be better able to understand their interests and goals. People are much more willing to agree with you when they are feeling comfortable. If you understand their personal preferences you will be able to create a “comfort zone” for them and for yourself.

3. Strategies. Not only is it important to know what types of negotiating strategies are available, you also need to know when to use them. Thus an evaluation of the negotiating circumstances as well as the negotiation goals is a must prior to each negotiation. If the relationship is more important than outcome, then certain strategies are better than others. If outcome is everything, then the best strategy is competitive as when the goal is getting the most of something, whether it is money, holidays, or budget. It is also important to know when to negotiate a win/win solution that not only gets you what you want but usually enhances the relationship with the other side. What happens when different negotiation strategies meet is also important to know. Of course, selecting the most appropriate strategy is the first step, knowing how to implement it is the next.

4. Effective Communication Skills. Often negotiations break down due to communication problems. After all, what is negotiation but strategic communication? By communication skills we mean not only what we say and what we ask but also, and perhaps more importantly, how we listen to the other side. Knowing the elements of successful communication such as the structure of the message, delivery style, the type of language used, body language, impressions and biases, will greatly assist you in negotiating better. The skill of listening almost seems to be lost in the contemporary world where attention spans are shortening. This is a skill that if learned well and practiced often will pay for itself many times over. It is also useful to know and understand the different aspects of communication that come into play during different stages of negotiation.

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April 2006