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The Art of Negotiation



Negotiating is an art. There are nuances and finely honed techniques and rules to be aware of. Here are a few of them:


Know what youíre doing. Sounds simple, but Iíve seen a lot of instances where I couldnít believe how much the other side didnít know. I immediately knew I could have a grand slam and fast, just based on their apparent lack of preparation. My father used to tell me, ďKnow everything you can about what youíre doing.Ē He was absolutely right, and Iím giving you the same advice. Follow it.

Remember, it takes a lot of smarts to play dumb. This is a good way to see how much your negotiating partners donít know. Itís also a good way to see if they are bulldozing you.

Keep them a bit off balance. What they donít know wonít hurt you, and that may help you down the line. Knowledge is power, so keep as much of it to yourself as possible.

Trust your instincts. There are a lot of situations that will not be black and white in negotiating, so go with your gut. Combine this with your homework and youíll be ahead of the game.

Donít be confined by expectations. There are no exact rules, and sometimes Iíve changed course in the middle of negotiations when something new has occurred to me. Remain flexible and open to new ideas, even when you think you know exactly what you want. This attitude has provided me with opportunities that I would not have thought about before.

Know when to say no. This has become instinct for me by now, but I think we all know when that buzzer goes off inside. Pay attention to that signal.

Be patient. Iíve waited for some deals for decades, and it was worth the wait. But make sure what youíre waiting for is worth it to begin with.

To speed up negotiations, be indifferent. That way youíll find out if the other side is eager to proceed.


Remember that in the best negotiations, everyone wins. This is the ideal situation to strive for. You will also be laying the ground work for future business deals with people who know what integrity is.

In summing up, I can say that negotiation is an art. All the arts require discipline, technique, and a dose of imagination to take them beyond the realm of the ordinary. Donít be an ordinary negotiator when you can be an extraordinary one. Devote time to this art and it can bring you enormous rewards.


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