Negotiating to Win

By Marsha Petrie Sue, MBA

EINSTEING problem theoryIn a nutshell:

  1. Initiating the session, building rapport and identify the reason for the negotiation
  2. Gathering information, explore options, understand needs/requests, provide structure
  3. Building the relationship, exploring the problem and listen/paraphrase
  4. Explanation and planning, establish others understanding, achieving shared understanding
  5. Focus on positive outcomes vs. consequences or negativity
  6. Closing the session with a recap of the plan and saying thank you

The first important lesson in negotiating is to recognize that you are negotiating.  In most circumstances, you are negotiating a relationship, not a transaction.

Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another thing.  ~Carrie Fisher


Timing is important. Choose a time that is not conflictive. Even when negotiations are under way, correct timing remains important. “Is this a good time to talk about the project plan?”

Develop an Understanding of the Other Person

Find out all you can about the other party. And determine who the decision maker is. Can you determine their communication style? Convey confidence, not cockiness. “Tell me a little about how you make decisions?”

Consider Your Alternatives

Go into negotiations knowing what alternatives you have. Break  down the agreement to be negotiated into small parts. Understand what you are willing to give up.

Anticipate the Other Persons Wants and Needs

Think about what the other person’s top issues are likely to be. This will help you develop strategies to negotiate your position. Estimate the other person’s probable limits in reaching a compromise. “So tell me what your expectations might be.”

Identify Your Leveraging Points and where you can be Flexible

Determine the areas most important to you. Identify the attributes you bring to the table.

Set the Stage for Agreement

Establish rapport with the other party early in the negotiation by looking for areas on which you both agree. Ask open-ended questions. Keep an open mind and stay flexible.

Do Not Put Off Bringing Up the Obvious Problem

Although it is a good strategy to find areas to agree on first, avoid waiting too long to bring up points you know might be significant. The other person is probably thinking the same thing!

Keep the Conversation on Track

If the other party diverts the conversation to another topic, help the conversation stay on track by bringing them back to the issue at hand.

Watch for Nonverbal Cues

Watch for meaningful gestures in the other person and be aware of the messages you are sending with your own body language. Listen to their tone of voice and choice of words if not in person.  Keep asking open-ended questions to validate what they have said.

Stay Cool and Depersonalize Disagreements

Never negotiate when you are angry. Be aware of your own hot buttons, and do not rise to the bait if someone pushes one of them.  Put your emotions aside and stay focused on what you are negotiating.

Separate Discussion of Problems From Exploration of Solutions

Seek to clarify an issue and evaluate the nature of the disagreement before exploring solutions. You can’t solve anything without really understanding what you want and what they want.

Don’t Issue an Ultimatum

Any kind of “take it or leave it” or “this is my final position” pronouncement cuts off the negotiations completely.


And at the end of the negotiation say thank you and mean it.

What techniques work for you when negotiating?


Cheers, Marsha
Cell 602 418-1991

Need information on bringing Marsha into your organization? Please contact Marcia Snow at
Professional Speaker, Executive Coach and Best Selling Author
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