If you want to be a leader and to succeed in your workplace, knowing how to negotiate effectively is a must. Attaining good negotiation skills will help you in all areas of your life.


Here are four principles I employ for negotiating with skill and ease.

Principle #1: Be fully present to the task at hand

In a negotiation, the ground is often shifting. The strategies that serve your interest or that make the negotiation a win for you may change midstream. To negotiate successfully, you must function in the present moment.

Principle # 2: Preparation Makes All the Difference

If you go into a negotiation without preparation, you are vulnerable to whatever occurs. Preparation gives you confidence. It also helps you anticipate what will come up.
Begin your preparation by first laying out what is before you. Who are the players in the negotiation? What are their interests and desired outcomes? What do you want from this negotiation? What are the possible points of contention and how will you handle them? What is the “bottom line” outcome you are willing to accept?
Look realistically at “who you are” going into this negotiation. How do you want to present yourself? Will you be aggressive, compliant, reasonable, contentious, or shrewd? Are you willing to walk away if you do not get what you want?

Principle # 3: Get Smart About Negotiating

Get smart about negotiating. Read books on negotiating skills. Talk with friends who have experience in negotiating. Ask them about what they have learned. Practice. Go into negotiations as both a participant and an observer. Observe how others handle the negotiation, analyze the reasons for the outcome and identify the negotiating styles people use. Write down what you learned and use it the next time you are in a negotiation. Realize you are a student. Effective negotiation is a developed skill.

Principle # 4: Set a strategy for each negotiation.

With a strategy you set your course. By setting a direction for your negotiation, you are not vulnerable to the actions of others. You know where you want to go and how you will get there. Being fully present and preparation, my first two principles, are important components in developing your strategy. A strategy cannot be rigid. You must allow for unexpected events. But, having a strategy gives you focus and purpose in the negotiation.
“Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” -The Seneca Indians


There are many styles of negotiation. Here are descriptions of 5 styles I have encountered.

Hardball-this style of negotiation depends on preparation and constancy of purpose. A hardball negotiator knows what they want going into the negotiation and doesn’t budge from their purpose. They leave room for some “give-away” but set their course and will walk away if they do not get what they came for.

Shrewd-this style of negotiation depends on an astute ability to read others. They are clear, direct and extremely focused. They know what they came for and will play the situation to get what they want.

Grateful Pleaser-this style of negotiation puts high value on getting along. They are willing to accommodate and believe they can get what they want by being agreeable.

Team Player-this style of negotiation targets a mutual win-win negotiation. They believe each side can give a little towards mutual benefit. They do not confront, they persuade.

Threatening-this style of negotiation depends on intimidation, subtle or overt. They try to push a situation to their advantage, setting others off balance to get what they want.


Develop a set of tools you can use in negotiating. Here are some examples:

Visualize Imagine yourself in the room negotiating. Visualize possible scenarios. How will you handle each of them? What will your strategy be to get the best outcome possible?
Gather All Information Learn all you can about the substance of your negotiation and the people you will be negotiating with.

Look at the Outcome Identify the strong and the weak points of your position. Write them down. Assess where you need to strengthen your position. Determine how you will handle your weak points as they come up. Assess the likelihood of getting what you want. Identify the make it or break it negotiating points. What situation will cause you to walk away from the negotiation? Where are you flexible?

Ask yourself who am I? Before you go into the negotiation, set your identity. Keep it in mind as you negotiate.
Set specific goals that you want to accomplish in the negotiation. Read them before you meet. This creates focus and clarity as you go into the negotiation.

Life is negotiation. Use your negotiating skills to get what you want and protect your interests. Fine-tuned negotiating skills will get you where you want to go.


When things are not going your way or you hit a surprise or roadblock, sometimes the most effective negotiating strategy is to take a time out or to exit the negotiation. To do this with ease, here are some recommendations:
• Always maintain a sense of composure
• If you are caught off guard, ask for time to make a decision
• Summarize where the negotiation has gone and ask their concurrence with your analysis
• If things have reached an unacceptable point, politely state your position and close the negotiation


Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, Roger Fisher, William Ury, Bruce Patton
Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most, Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen, Roger Fisher
Getting Past No: Negotiating Your Way from Confrontation to Cooperation, William Ury
The Power of Nice: How To Negotiate So Everyone Wins-Especially You! Ronald Shapiro, Mark Jankowski, James Dale, Cal Ripkin
Negotiating In The Real World: Getting The Deal You Want, Victor Gotbaum
Give and Take: The Complete Guide To Negotiating Strategies and Tactics, Chester Karass
The Mind and Heart of The Negotiator, Leigh Thompson
The Power of Negotiating: Strategies for Success, Mike Stark

Author's Bio: 

Ann Vanino is a Coach and Consultant with a passion for seeing clients create fulfilling careers, master change and transition, understand power, and grow their leadership skills. Ann is the author of Power Stories: Mythical Tales of Personal Power at Work and Leadership on Trial: Lessons from The Apprentice. Ann writes The Leadership Blog at www.MovingForward.net/wp . You can learn more about Ann and her work at www.MovingForward.net. Ann can be reached at Ann@MovingForward.net or 661-992-8130.