I am often asked my top tips for being a better negotiator, so I have decided to put pen to paper and let you all in on the secret…..


  1. Preparation, Preparation, Preparation.

There is nothing that will get you further than being well prepared, yet is often the part of the process we spend least time on – we are too busy, we ‘know’ what we want already so no need. Well the most effective negotiators don’t skimp on this area. They know everything they need to know, and some stuff they will never need to know, before they begin. It gives confidence, shows your strength under questioning and prevents errors in judgment.


  1. Negotiation is TRADING.

I really can’t highlight this one enough. Too many negotiators think of negotiation as a competition, as a chance to win, as a chance to get everything their way. In the real world, it simply does not work that way. It’s also not about conceding, giving and capitulating!

Negotiation is a process by which we obtain something we want, from someone who wants something from us.

It is not one sided. It is about making a trade. Always remember it is an exchange of wants, and never to give anything away for nothing.


3 There is no substitute for knowledge.

Don’t waste your time (and theirs) by not listening and trying to understand the other party’s positions and arguments. By truly understanding what they want, why they want it and how much they want, only then can you put together an effective proposal.

Arrogance in believing that you are the only party that matters will be a disaster. Communication skills are a crucial part of any successful negotiators tool kit. Spend time debating, gaining information and trying to understand their needs.


  1. If… THEN

The two most powerful words in the negotiators dictionary. They embody the exchange discussed in number 2.

IF you give me something I want, THEN I will give you something you want.

It is simple. Assertive. Clear. Concise. An exchange of wants.


  1. Negotiators think in ranges.

Negotiation is not black and white, there is not one position, but many. Don’t make it harder for yourself – and the other party – to come to a deal by being inflexible and have no movement possible from your demands.

The best negotiations occur when the negotiators both make movements from their opening positions in order to get the best deal. Be clear though, that you cannot go further than your exit points – or the deal is not acceptable under those terms.

Prepare your entry and exit positions with care and realism, not just what you’d like to happen.