In B2B situations, many people make the mistake in thinking that negotiation is a formal event, such as a meeting at a conference table. It is not simply that. We are negotiating all the time and it is the sequence of conversations over time that create the outcomes we want, with our managers, with clients, with suppliers, with colleagues, with our team, with our partners and kids.

The truth is most negotiations don’t concern money. Negotiations are about relationships & decisions. At a personal level, at work, or between countries, specifics may vary, but negotiation is about improving the quality of life. They impact on our marriages, relationships, work happiness and they are all about the people in the conversation. I doubt any of us have got that nailed.

Negotiations work when the following elements are in place:

Both parties have something that the other either wants or needs. This may seem obvious but lack of real or perceived need is the most common reason why people don’t negotiate. They simply don’t feel they need to.
A willingness to move from a position in order to get what you want or need. Frankly if someone isn’t prepared to concede anything no negotiation can take place.
An ability of at least 1 party but ideally all, to operate from a true win/win perspective

This last point is important. Win/win is a commonly used term and often mis understood. Some people see win/win as actually being “soft”. It’s nothing of the sort. It’s approaching a negotiation from the view that both sides must benefit materially from the act of negotiation and be better off than if they did not negotiate. It’s about how you treat people, as well as how you allow yourself to be treated and for that reason alone is the domain of confident, assertive people willing to communicate well in order to get the bets outcome from a negotiation, or be prepared to walk away and seek an alternative.

Central to every good negotiation is time spent preparing; without good planning and preparation, even the most intuitive negotiators will fall short. Whether it’s planning great questions to ask, the negotiating ranges, variables that can be traded, how to make and counter proposals or how to handle a deadlock, preparation sets people up to succeed.

Author's Bio: 

Jhon Ford is the author of this article. For more information about negotiating skills and negotiation skills training course visit