How to Negotiate


One of major themes of this blog is to promote better decision making and making better choices in life. While life is a compulsory experience in that we did not chose to come to this world or where to be born or even when to be born. Going through life presents an individual with opportunities in life to make choices and make decisions. These decisions can make life better or even more difficult.

One of the major components of making choices is negotiation. Our choices affect other people while other people choices and decisions also impact us. Negotiation is making a balance in how our choices interact and influence others. One of the realizations that come about during adult life is that one has to engage in negotiation in concerning everything we do and is likely to affect other parties either positively or negatively. We have to negotiate with siblings, negotiate with parents, negotiate with spouses, negotiate with customers, or with employer.

Success and good decision making in any situation highly depends on the individual’s capability to negotiate. According to Tina Seelig’s book What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 negotiations is a major life skill. Knowing how to negotiate helps in having better outcomes. The following are key recommendations on how to effectively negotiate:

There are many points to be learnt about negotiation and the above pints are just a scratch on the surface when it comes to understanding effective negotiations. One of the books that can really help those who went to learn more about becoming effective negotiators is the book by David Oliver titled How to Negotiate Effectively.      

1. Do not make assumptions. Most people go into negotiation table with a lot of assumptions. They never make effort to know and understand the other party and its interest in the negotiation. This is a mistake and leads to poor outcomes and misunderstandings during the negotiation. When going to the negotiation table, it is good to make every effort to understand the other party. In many instances it difficult to know the other party before the negotiations. So instead of walking in the negotiation with a plan, go in with the intention of listening and understanding the other party.  David Oliver in his book; How to Negotiate Effectively indicates that asking questions is key. Question everything. Ask as many questions about the party and its interest.

2.Attempt to create a win-win situation for both parties. Ensure that deal presents a win-win situation for both parties. This ensures that none of the party loses.  Help the other party understand what it will gain from the deal. This is only possible if you understand the interest and the need of the party and how the deal you offer meets the needs of the other party.

3.Walk away from bad deals or from negotiations that create a losing situation. You should not agree to negotiations that make you lose. The other party must be willing to make compromises. Failure to compromise or to create win-win situation by the other party shows that they already have something more valuable than you do or they do not perceive value in what you are offering. Walk away and do better homework concerning the other party.  Never accept to be pressurized to accept a deal you are not very sure about. Take your time.

 4.Have a good alternative. Scholars refer to this as BATNA or Best Alternative To No Agreement.  Effective negotiators do have a good alternative to the negotiated agreement. This helps the negotiator to negotiate from a point of strength instead of negotiating from a point of weakness if you are making a purchase it means that you have an alternative product or solution which you can always fall back to. When making a sale it may imply having an alternative customer or alternative product of lower prices.  Having good alternatives helps to enhance the strength of the party negotiating and reduces the concessions made. If possible never enter into negotiations without having another good alternative as this weakens your capacity to negotiate.

5.Put things in writing. It is very essential to put the agreements and negotiation in writing. This is because writing helps to clarity ambiguous issues and makes a reference point that can be very useful in future. Put the agreement in writing. Write down all the key points encountered during the negotiation process. Send copies of the agreement to each party and ensure that they are filed properly in case issues arise later that may need clarification. Don’t assume this aspect especially in business negotiations because it can mean everything about your deal. Writing also proves to the other party that you are attentive to details and want to make the best out of the deal.

There are many points to be learnt about negotiation and the above pints are just a scratch on the surface when it comes to understanding effective negotiations. One of the books that can really help those who went to learn more about becoming effective negotiators is the book by David Oliver titled how to negotiate effectively.      

Here are additional articles you can read from this blog:

The highly productive person daily energy plan

The four thieves of productivity according to Gary Keller

How to succeed according to Sam Altman

Published by Samuel Ng'ang'a Mwangi

One day I had too much to tell but there was no one to tell the story. I had to write articles, print them and then give them out to anyone who cared to read. Author of "So You Want To Get Into Courtship?" A Guide To Purposeful Christian Courtship. I write and rewrite on my blog www.mwelisa.com.

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