Why You Need to Learn Negotiation Skills

Life is all about negotiation. We do it every day in ways we don’t even recognize as negotiation. For instance, internally, we bargain with ourselves all the time. Five more minutes and then we’ll get up. Finish these last three pages and then we can go get coffee. We weigh our needs against our wants, and try to work things out to get the best possible result that we can out given the requirements of a particular situation.

Externally, we do this all the time. We just don’t think of it like the formal sort of negotiations we see in media. It could be as simple as asking if someone is available to talk to, for example, then suggesting alternative times or ways to communicate, like sending a follow-up email, or leaving a voicemail.  Basically, we ask if something is possible, then we find a way to work with the information and the reactions that we get.

The goal of negotiation is to work things out so that the people involved get what they need amicably, without feeling cheated or taken advantage of. Everyone with a stake in the proceeding gets to have their time, and during it, consensus and concessions are made and given.

At times the word “compromise” can come off in a rather bad way because sometimes we take it to mean “Everyone walks away unhappy, and not with all of what we want.” That comes from seeing all the dramatized negative spin in movies and popular media, and from how we’re socialized to believe winning is the only way to succeed, and for someone to win, someone else has to lose.

We have to understand that that’s not what compromise is about. Compromise is not ‘capitulation’, which is giving in. A compromise is the result of people coming to an agreement on the results they want out of the negotiation, where both parties can move forward.

Negotiation is an incredibly valuable  skill to develop and the more you practice it, the easier it gets .

Self negotiation and self-discipline — psyching yourself into doing something hard or uncomfortable now and rewarding yourself or enjoying the pay-off later, trains you to put the long-term good over the short-term boost, and the more impactful returns over shallower ones.

Negotiation with others helps you navigate the world more smoothly, because to do move in the world you must interact with the other people who share it with you, and who have as much right to see their wants and goals realized as you do, and may conflict with you. Negotiation helps you handle clashes better, without incurring injury, insult, or loss.

Negotiation can get you help and advice to get you through through the hard times and over humps in the road to finish a goal and rest, recharge or do some recreation as both.

Some instances in this kind of bargaining are non-negotiable : hard limits, like there is only a certain time open, or a certain amount budgeted, etc. Most of the time, negotiation leaves room for flexibility, especially when the parties involved practice clarity and transparency within their organizations and with the other parties involved.

Simple things:

  • People don’t negotiate for what they don’t want — so there must be interest or desire or need.
  • People negotiate to avoid what they don’t want, or at the least mitigate the effects of it – avoid pain.
  • People don’t negotiate unless their is something in in that would benefit them — self-interest.
  • People like to negotiate if they can offer benefits to the other part — mutuality.
  • People negotiate to fill a need or several needs– satisfaction.


There’s a difference between being tough in business and negotiating — the ideal goal of a negotiation is that all involved parties walk away from the table feeling positive degrees of satisfaction. To negotiate you need to be willing to listen to the other person’s point of view, and being aware of and clear about your own terms.

The issue with ‘winning’ in business is that for a long time the underlying, unspoken premise is: for someone to win, someone has to lose. The no-holds-barred, win-at-all-costs way of thinking burns bridges, plants resentment, and alienates people, as well as earning a bad reputation for the ‘victor.’  When  both  sides walk away feeling like winners, that’s what true negotiation can can do.

The keys towards successful negotiation are:

  • Having a clear bottom line or desired outcome in your head — a line which you will not cross,  or knowing clearly the points on which you will not give up.
  • A readiness to look at the situation from the other person’s point of view, and a willingness to envision a situation where both your aims can be met with the least pain or hardship possible.
  • Patience and a firm grasp on your temper.
  • Verifying with the the party  if they’re satisfied with the outcome and the negotiation process.
  • Being prepared and willing to walk away when necessary. Sometimes, some things aren’t worth’ winning’ if the price is more than you can stomach.


For your side of the negotiation table:
As a preparation, you can do mock discussions to practice your presentation and communication skills
To present your offer you need to be really clear in your mind about  your specific needs and how they  differ from any set positions you have in mind.
Start by describing your needs.
Seek to understand theirs.
Look for agreement before trying to find a solution.
Once agreement is established, you can get creative and start generating solutions to meet both your needs.

At certain points and stages of our lives we begin to be more and more aware of how and where we spend our most important resources — our energy, and our time. And at the same time, we recognize their  importance because we feel the pressure being made to be more efficient and productive — doing more and more things, and juggling more and more responsibilities — and then we reach this point where we will need to make a hard assessment. At this point, for our own good, and for that of  our business and our loved one —  we will have to negotiate and do it well.

We negotiate to have more time to spend on the things that matter more to us. We negotiate to use our  strengths and skills for the  benefit of others, and get fairly paid for these skills.

If you engage in negotiation — be aware that it’s different from haggling. Haggling is price-focused, not need focused. At its most extreme, haggling tries to get away with the cheapest it can get away with. Discuss your needs with the other party, and theirs as well — building agreement helps put both of you in a place where you can pull out creative solutions that will work for everyone concerned.

Don’t just give one option– that immediately boxes you in an either-or situation, either the other party takes it, or they don’t. If they don’t, then you’re out of luck. Two or three options can leave you more room to negotiate and find a compromise.  People like to be consistent . When you ask for a small adjustment, you lay the groundwork for making it much more likely to get a “Yes,” when you ask for something bigger.

Always give yourself time to think: Pressure is a great way to make someone say ‘yes” when they actually are undecided. In that case, come of with a few thoughtful, non-offensive ways to say “No.” and keep them in reserve for when you need them.

Focus on the benefits of saying “No.” It could mean that you can save time by ending somehting inconsequential now, etc.

If you’re familiar with project management, you’ll know that there are three very important element to a project: the time-span,  the resources given and available, and the scope or nature of a project. Saying “No” doesn’t mean stop everything — in this case,  you could be saying no on one aspect (say, resources) and state that if that needs to adjust, then the others need to adjust accordingly, and so further discussion is needed.

Practice saying “No.”
It’s often uncomfortable to say no because we run the risk of it hurting other peoples’ feelings, or offending them. Women are socialized into this more than men, but both genders need to learn to say no diplomatically to protect their own boundaries and avoid being treated as doormats.

Play with different ways of saying no. Check to see which gets the best response and which comes more easily and naturally to you.

Helpful link: 8 Ways to Say No Without Hurting Your Image | Adam Grant | LinkedIn

Compromise is part of negotiation:  The ones involved work with and not against each other. They help each other onward — they  make deals (compromises) and plant seeds for networks. When you’re good at negotiating, word gets around.  You develop a rep as someone who can make things happen and manages to get along well with others.

Our productivity has increased massively with the development of the internet and the subsequent evolution of the laptop, mobile- and now smartphones, and now cloud-computing. These developments raised the bar of performance by allowing us to produce more and more by being always connected (tethered), and having access to incredible amounts of information anywhere we can get a wireless signal.

This means we also have an ever-growing amount of work to do, mainly becasue we can do it. It also means that, technology being the great leveler, we compete with everyone else who has the same access to information and the same technology — which makes it harder for us to differentiate ourselves from our competition.  If we want to get the edge over our competition, we find that it will take increasingly large energy costs over time. So we have to make a stand — our line in the sand — protecting what we most value. And so what?

We need negotiation skills to handle issues where we stand to gain for our selves or lose– negotiation skills help us protect our own resources and vital areas of life. They help us navigate life more easily and relate to people on a better level: allies instead of competitors, adversaries, or hostiles. We get to relate to people on a more human level, which is great for  interpersonal relationships , whether in business or  not. When you focus on refining your skills in this area, you’ll find that the effort involved will pay of in ways you ‘d be surprised by.

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