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How to Conduct a Successful Negotiation

Maybe a year ago or so I have successfully completed a course from University of Michigan on Successful Negotiation.

Today, I am here to summarise my takeaways from that course and also some other courses. For example, the ones I have completed at Vodafone, they were provided by Harvard Publishing and give their reader all essential strategies and skills needed to succeed in any Negotiation.

Negotiation – “To confer or discuss with a view to reaching agreement.”

Emotions in Negotiation

It is not a secret that strong emotions lead to unproductive decision making at the bargaining table, being in an angry mood (as compared to a neutral mood) leads us to:

  • Make more simplistic, irrational decisions;
  • Blame others when things go wrong;
  • Make overly optimistic risk estimates.

When we’re in a sad mood, as compared to being in a neutral mood, we are more likely to:

  • Sell possessions for lower prices;
  • Purchase new items for higher prices;
  • Become fixated on initial offers.

So, what can we do in order to be at our best while negotiating?

Well, I would say you have to improve your Emotional Intelligence competency, have to be able to recognise, understand and use emotional information about yourself. In my humble opinion, it is the ultimate key to Effective Performance.

To maintain the best state of mind in stressful situation such as negotiation, you have to pay your attention to the following elements of EI (Emotional Intelligence):

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Self-Regulation

There’re some techniques you can use Conducting Negotiation.

  • BATNA (or Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement). BATNA is the most advantageous alternative course of action a party can take if negotiations fail and an agreement cannot be reached. Equip yourself for difficult negotiations by doing your homework – try to figure out yours and the other side’s BATNA before entering the room;
  • Reframe the negotiation as interest-based problem solving;
  • Try not to accept the first offer given – to many this indicates your business naiveté;
  • Be creative in what you ask for – you may be able to get many things that will help you succeed;
  • Always be pleasant and friendly in negotiations; don’t threaten;
  • Practice asking for more than you would normally ask.

Gender Gap in Negotiating

Men see negotiation as a more common event than women do, an important consulting company name of which I cannot recall now had done a survey among men and women worldwide, asking the following questions:

  • When was the last time you initiated a negotiation?
  • How often do you negotiate?

And basically, what they found out was the fact that men initiate 4 times as many negotiations as women and they take a more active approach than women in getting what they want by asking for it! Findings cut across all ages, professions and education levels.

About 5 years ago, I had an interview with Orange Business Services for a Tech Specialist position. I remember how it went, from the very first moment they opened the front door for me and till the moment we were negotiating the salary. I have to say that I was not the best candidate, I was worried and shaken but, for some reason, I have said “No” for the amount they offered me, and I felt uncomfortable about it straight after.

Mike, the Senior Manager, had asked me then what were numbers I’d like to have, and also the reasoning behind it. I felt like I was justifying myself, explaining that I have to pay my rent and buy groceries. But when I gave him the numbers I had in hand, I realised that I didn’t arrive to the total. I just asked for more.

So, he asked me:

– So, what about the rest of it?

– I also want some ice cream every now and then, – I answered.

He smiled and agreed on my conditions, and as I found out later on, I was the only one Specialist in NOC, who negotiated his/her salary. So, I had the highest numbers among them.

This situation had taught me a lot.

Maybe it will resonate with you as well.

Talk to you later,



  1. Karina says:

    Have a read of one of the best books on Negotiation skills: Never split the difference by Chris’s Voss, ex FBI hostage international negotiator. He explains and analyses lots of different literature among which are other popular books (for example, Getting to YES by Roger Fisher) and more importantly he provides examples of the situation where in life(!) as well as at work these theory concepts work.
    Learning how to say “No” is one of thos skills he teaches.
    You are on the right way, NJ!

    • njbobro says:

      Hi Karina,
      Thank you for reaching out!

      Learning how to say “No” is one of the things I want to write about as well, I am just inspired by amount of essential skills I am about to develop.
      Thank you for the suggestion, I have just purchased the book!

      Hope to speak to you again!

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