Everyone's a Negotiator

Everything you get in this life is obtained through negotiation. Everybody has a need for general negotiation principles and techniques applicable to a broad range of practice situations. Requirement to engage in different types of negotiation exercises designed to help them identify the factors that most directly affect legal negotiations and learn how to make the most of their personal strengths for better results in future negotiations.

Everybody negotiates all the time, at work, at home, and as a consumer. For some it seems easy, but others view the process of negotiation as a source of conflict to be resisted and avoided if possible. Negotiation is a life skill.

Who should be good negotiators?

Good negotiation is not only needed by real estate agents. Negotiating, problem solving, and persuasion skills are required for a number of professionals. For example as well as those in real estate, managers and professionals in areas such as marketing, purchasing, operations, mergers and acquisitions, banking, entrepreneurialship, human resource management, information systems, industrial relations and general administration.

For an agent to be a successful negotiator he/she needs to understand the dynamics of negotiating as a conflict management tool, to identify the negotiating strategies and tactics of others and to develop and use a personal framework for effective negotiating. The agent may be involved in negotiations in the following situation:

For a real estate agent to be a successful negotiator he/she should develop:

Organizational Need

In today's organizations such as real estate agencies, you need to be able to reach effective agreements that resolve conflicts, strengthen relationships and further the business goals of the agency. Whether you are negotiating with colleagues, your boss, suppliers, clients or strategic business partners, you need to understand and use a negotiation process that focuses on achieving outstanding business results.

Focusing On Interests Rather Than Positions Conflict Resolution Key

Life is far easier when people have the sense to see things our way. In the real world, however, capital planning, corporate borrowing, annual budgeting, and priority setting all tend to require that people from different organizations with a different point of view find satisfactory means to reach agreement.

For many decision makers, annual obligations like business plan reviews and budget approvals tend to coincide with increased levels of stress and anxiety. We are well prepared for the substance to be decided; it's the process that is so unsettling. It can be troublesome if the short-term objective of minimizing conflict gets in the way of developing and achieving long range goals. Interest based negotiation techniques can help us focus our energy on the process and guide that process towards yielding a satisfactory result.

Most negotiations are repeat performances. We tend to deal with the same bankers, suppliers, clients, directors, managers, etc, for a long time. It is important to recognize and give proper weight to the context in which a negotiation is taking place. If it is within an on going relationship, the significance of that relationship must be considered.

We can take positive steps to prepare for the decision making process and we can monitor our own behavior and that of other participants as the process goes forward. By following a few common sense rules we can reduce conflict and turn it into cooperation and reach solutions that really work for all the participants.


Identify "power" and the seven power sources available to each individual. Generate enthusiasm and self confidence for the negotiation process.

Basic Factors Affecting Negotiations are:



Key negotiation strategies and countermeasures:

Be reliable

It is important to follow through with negotiated agreements. The very work of negotiation implies a commitment toward whatever outcome has been decided. Developing a "plan of action" that spells out who is going to do what, where, when and how is helpful. This plan is followed for a specified period of time, then evaluated at the end of that time period. It may be necessary to change plans and goals along the way, depending on how well the first draft met the shared needs of the individuals involved. However, the success of any negotiated outcome depends on everyone's fullest cooperation and participation. Individuals become reliable and trustworthy partners as a result.

Ineffective approaches to conflict

The following examples (first two case studies later) illustrate some common situations that can lead to conflict.

Not only do negotiators need to know competitive and cooperative strategies, they need to know which strategy is appropriate for a particular situation and how to apply that strategy. To that end, this module emphasizes the development of personal skills applicable to all negotiation strategies.

We particularly emphasize focus and presence.

Focus helps the negotiator to recognize and send important signals and to be aware of situational demands for changes in strategies.

Developing presence allows negotiators to be comfortable asking for what they want, and occasionally denying the other person what he or she wants.

A win-win negotiating philosophy. Two of the approaches to negotiations are;

Completing the stages of negotiation

Communicate within negotiations

Analysis of the negotiation

Negotiators should be able to:


The successful negotiator needs the knowledge and skills to:

To achieve the best possible results at the negotiation table by means of achieved techniques:

Negotiating for a positive outcome

Negotiating is usually thought of as high level and externally focused. In today's flatter structures the ability for everyone to negotiate in a way that ensures the smooth operation of the organization is critical. It's not just professional or political negotiators who need good negotiation skills.

Everyday in the workplace we all need to be able to negotiate for such things as the use of available resources or the assistance of another department. Good negotiation skills ensure that we all work cooperatively and therefore more productively.

Key points:

Important negotiation skills



Controlling Anger for Effective Negotiating

There are often excellent reasons for getting angry or upset: parties may offer outrageous proposals, they may make personal attacks, they may feel victimized or otherwise aggrieved. Not letting others know that something is very important to you hurts you by bottling up emotions and hurts them because they may not achieve the level of understanding of the issues that can assist in crafting a solution.

Other rules about anger

If you don't let it all hang out, you may be withholding useful information. Taking things personally may blind you to the interests, the building blocks that can lead to resolution. If more than one party escalates the emotional level of the discussion, it leads to greater heat, but not greater light.

When you are tempted to get angry, remember to check whether or not it is your turn. If it is someone else's turn to get angry, sit there and take it -- and reward yourself by reminding yourself how wonderful you are to be in such control of your emotions. When folks vent their emotions, ultimately, they reach an ending point. Their heart rate slows, their breathing becomes calmer, and they are far more likely to be amenable to 'civilized' approaches to problem-solving.

Remember to ask yourself whether the problem would disappear if a particular person were to disappear. More often than not, the person is not the problem but the problem is the problem. That perspective can also help keep things from escalating.

We don't want to try to resolve issues by acting out the negotiation equivalent of road rage because innocent people can get caught in the crossfire.

How to be a cool negotiator - questions and answers


I'm 21 and need an answer. I heard that the basic things you need to be a good negotiator is to act cool, don't attract attention, and never tell them the bad part of the deal. Is this information true?


Acting cool is a good part of successful negotiation but there is a big if, you need to make sure it is not just an act. The 'coolness' you need for successful negotiation really means keeping a cool analytical head. You should prepare ahead of time if you have a chance: what do I want and WHY do I want it? What do they want and WHY do they want what they want?

During the process, you should find ways to take a step back from the discussion and look at what is going on with that same cool head. Why did he/she say that? What arguments or tactics are being used that are convincing or are turn-offs?

Too low a profile can cause a problem in negotiation. People don't want to negotiate with someone who can't make and deliver on an agreement. You may not want outsiders to witness a negotiation, particularly if it involves a confidential issue. However, to negotiate in the real world, you've got to really be involved if you expect other parties to take the process seriously.

If you negotiate without telling people about the bad part of the deal, they have every right to come back after the agreement and say, "Why didn't you tell me about that?" Of course, you have to be sensible about how and when you communicate the 'bad news'. Listen for questions that show you what others are likely to be worried about. If they ask a direct question, tell the truth. If they aren't direct with their questions, but you know the issue would be important to you if you were in their shoes, there's nothing wrong with trying to find out if they care about that issue as much as you do. Your parents may disapprove of a particular tape or CD; another person may not have that problem. So what's bad news for you may not be bad news for them.

Dealing with difficult people


What do you think makes a co-worker, or person in general, "difficult" [or seem difficult]? What is really happening in these situations? Is there a different way of looking at it or not? Is perspective important?


A person may seem difficult for multiple reasons: They may present a bottleneck in the decision making process, they may be so insecure (as individuals or in their job self-definition) that they feel compelled to act 'feisty' because they confuse aggression with assertiveness, or they may genuinely feel disinclined to treat you properly/politely.

A definition of a bureaucrat is: someone who's entire self-definition is based on their power to say 'no'. When you run across someone like that, the bottleneck type, dealing with 'them' may not be the answer. It could make a lot more sense to try to deal with the problem, the issue at hand. If you focus on solving the problem, you may find that the bottleneck really isn't a necessary part of the 'critical path' through which you must pass to reach a positive result. The bottom line is to try to figure out whether there is an alternative route.

People who are insecure often feel as if no one understands them. In these instances, paying attention to them, finding out what makes them tick, discovering what motivates them can help you find ways to turn them into a collaborator rather than an obstacle. Listen to them. Take them seriously. Treat them with respect and interest. It can change the dynamic of the relationship.


Why do you think it's important to learn the skill of dealing with difficult coworkers? What does it teach you/enable you to do/force you to practice etc [ie what are the advantages of such a skill?]


The basic reason for learning how to deal with difficult co-workers is that it will keep you from going crazy. If you can develop perspective and a strategy for dealing with them, you are also more likely to accomplish your objectives.

In dealing with difficult people, you want to separate the people from the problem. Asking whether the problem would go away if that so-and-so were to go for a hike in the harbour wearing cement overshoes may give you a clearer perspective of what has to be done.

Dealing with difficult people forces you to practice self discipline. For example, one crucial rule is that 'only one person can get angry at a time.' If you can hold your temper, at least you have earned the reward of being able to congratulate yourself on what a wonderful, strong, in-control person you are. That may not solve the problem, but at least it helps you feel good about yourself.

One other factor to consider in dealing with conflict is that it helps to clarify your objectives. Sometimes 'winning' really means minimizing your 'losses'. Knowing someone is difficult gives you a better sense of what it is reasonable to expect, and doing a successful reality check of your expectations can give you considerable power.


What do you consider to be the fundamental steps in the process of communicating with a 'difficult' person? Anything one should do before, during, and after communications? [or instead of sequential steps, any questions to ask, patterns to follow etc?]


While it is dangerous to think there are certain steps you must follow, it can make sense to think in terms of a few. Prepare yourself, do your homework. Ask questions about 'why' each of you wants what you want. Figure out whether you are really compelled to work with the difficult person or whether you have an alternative.

Another step to take is to listen carefully to the difficult person. You learn more with your mouth closed and your ears open. Think of the initial phase of the negotiation as an opportunity to check the assumptions you had made in your preparation and a chance to learn more about what approaches are likely to get the other party to respond favourably.

The last step I'll mention here is to consider the priorities involved. What are your long term interests? How important is this particular relationship both by itself and as regards other people? Is the process proceeding fairly? Are you dealing with someone who can really deliver on the decisions s/he makes?

Question 4

So called difficult people can usually be broken  down [obviously generally-speaking] into behaviour or personality types. What do you consider to be some of the more common "types" of people that are often cited as being 'difficult'? What makes them difficult types; what are they really trying to achieve with their behavior? (of course, if you don't ascribe to this 'type' theory, then just focus on behavior rather than personalities since any combination of behavior can make up a personality). In addition, what should be your action plan in dealing with these types of co-workers?


I do have problems with 'types' because everyone interacts differently with different people or different 'types'. Clearly, there are some psychological profiles that describe folks from whom it is best to hide. However even here it is possible that some people thrive on interaction with them.

Difficult personalities need to be examined in terms of what they have to offer from both positive and negative standpoints. Again, separating the person from the substantive issue needing a solution is the most effective way to make some progress.

We are all put off by certain behavior. If people refuse to respond, if they won't look us in the eye, if they ignore our existence, that can be difficult. On the other hand, in some cultures, those may be normal behavior, so we run great risks if we assume that people are knowingly trying to offend us.

Our job is to call attention to things that bother us. We can't point the finger and accuse them of being difficult. Rather, it makes more sense to say something on the order of, "When people don't look me in the eye, it makes me feel uneasy." After all, we may have habits that drive other people nuts and unless they tell us, we may never know.

There is one possible addition: If you are one of many people who find a particular person a problem, perhaps everyone so aggrieved should discuss things together and figure out how to heal the relationship with the difficult person. Treating them with more respect and/or taking their concerns seriously may help turn things around. If that doesn't work, it may make sense to look for ways around them, to marginalise them so they are 'dethroned' from their pivotal place in the process.

Fundamentals of negotiation

Question 5

What do you do consider to be the fundamental steps in the negotiation process, be it resolving a conflict with a boss, peer, parent, etc.? What should one do before, during, and after the talks.


The first and most important thing to do is to prepare. Examine why you want a given outcome, not just what outcome you want. Ask the same question(s) about the anticipated interests of other parties. Even though to assume puts one at the risk of making an 'ass' of 'u' and 'me', it is important to make assumptions about what to expect as the negotiation goes forward. These assumptions can give you points for reality testing. If your assumption about a given point is incorrect, then it may be a good idea to rethink your approach.

Another step is to establish rapport. Not just in terms of agreeing on when to meet, which movie star you both think is 'fabulous', but also determining whether every party to a negotiation is on the same page. If you've got different items on your agendas, reaching agreement can be difficult.

Learning is the next step in the process; remember you learn more with your mouth closed and ears open than the other way around. Listen to what others say; take their opinions seriously into consideration. Don't just try to wait them out so you can 'zap' them when they finally shut up. If you listen well, your response is far more likely to be something to which they will react favorably.

One further element of the process cannot properly be called a step; it should be going on all the time: analyze what is going on. Keep a clear head. This may require taking a time-out to rethink your approach. You can ask for a couple of minutes by yourself to do this; if all else fails, say you need to use the bathroom. No one can argue with that -- and it's a great place for calm thinking.

Perhaps the last point to make about the negotiation process is that you need to know when to quit. Know how to indicate agreement has been reached. And a corollary of this is: when people agree with you, it's time to stop trying to convince them.


How would you define negotiation? And what's the point of it? What is the goal of negotiation, and if there are different outcomes/goals, why?


Negotiation is a process civilized people use to reach agreement. The goal of negotiation is not to win, it is to succeed. The mechanism of successful negotiation is collaboration, the work of a partnership rather than a means for kicking butt.


Name some tactics, strategies, tricks, tips, reminders about what you SHOULD do during the negotiation process.


During the negotiation process, pay attention. Listen to others. Treat them with respect. Take them seriously. Be aware when your assumptions are proved incorrect, and think of ways to deal with the realities you discover. Know when it is better to walk away, when it is not worth continuing, when you are better off negotiating with someone else to solve a given problem or when you are better off taking care of it yourself. Pay attention to the balance of power before and during negotiation. Figure out what factors influence that power balance and how you can improve yours and weaken 'theirs'.


What should one NOT do in negotiation? Are there common mistakes/pitfalls/traps to avoid?


The most common mistakes people make in negotiation is to treat it as warfare or as a zero-sum game. Most of the negotiating you will do in life is with the same people over and over again: fellow-workers, spouse, family, friends, boss, etc. If you consider each negotiation as an episode in an ongoing relationship, your behavior will be more appropriate.

One fundamental rule is: only one person can be angry at a time. Don't let the situation escalate, civility will slip away awfully quickly and you'll have a very tough time healing the relationship or solving the initial issue.


Do you have any advice or other wisdom to offer about other factors that can affect negotiations? Is there any particular importance to attach to emotion/personality, culture, gender, time pressure, leverage, other people such as mediators?


Negotiation requires an open mind, good preparation, and a tremendous amount of creativity. If you always give the same kind of responses, that's not creative and it is not likely to contribute to a solution. If your response is unexpected, shows imagination, it is likely to bring others up short and make them think more creatively themselves.

Don't expect that all males/females fall into a single category. Don't assume that a person's ethnicity determines their behavior. The same person may respond differently on different days: health problems, issues at home or work, and other factors can make a difference.


Why do you think negotiation skills are an essential skill to have for one's personal and professional life?


Since negotiation is the process we use from infancy until just before we die, the issue is not a matter of recognizing that negotiation is a fundamental life skill. The real goal should be to understand how to negotiate effectively to reach wise solutions to all kinds of issues. In ancient times, when two landowners had a disagreement they would hire knights - mercenaries - to 'wage war' to determine who was right. Then someone invented lawyers, and for the past thousand years or so, we have been 'waging law' to determine who's right. Negotiation is a means we can use to 'wage peace'. It can make all of life more pleasant.

Price and value


How can I negotiate my quality products & services in a price conscious environment?


Your short question focuses on one of the most complex areas of negotiation. If all of your dealings are with what Americans call 'bean-counters', people who measure everything in terms of price, overcoming their price-fixation requires creativity, imagination, and a serious investigation of their true interests.

Interests are 'why' people want what they want. So you need to pay careful attention to value, which is the counterbalance to price. You must certainly have a clear idea of what price is appropriate given your own costs of acquisition, manufacture, preparation, overheads, etc. You need to find out the value of that item or those items to the client.

One thought is to consider each negotiation as designed to yield a 'package' rather than just a 'price'.

You also need to ascertain whether you are dealing with someone only one time or are beginning or continuing a relationship. In the short term, price issues can be pretty determinative; in the long term, focuses on ego issues and personal interests can make a big difference.

Does your client need to meet certain budget limits in order to gain favor with his/her boss? Is your client facing a time deadline? What does your client risk if the product he/she acquires fails to meet quality standards?

When you indicate that you are offering 'quality products and services', one question is the cost-benefit analysis of any given transaction to each party. Can you afford to lose money just to make the first sale to Client A in order to get your foot in the door? Does the quality of what you offer provide a counterbalance to the low prices available from your competition? After all, what good is it to buy a product for very little money if you have to replace it or repair it very quickly.

Negotiations skills for real estate agents

Real estate agents should have a basic understanding of the dynamics of successful individual and group negotiations. The driving force of the program derives from 3 critical concepts:

The negotiating process into six distinct steps:

Project team members, those who work occasionally or routinely in a team or committee environment and those whose jobs require successful negotiations with project teams, company departments and services, contract research organizations and other companies.

The 7 step successful negotiator methodology:

Key Topics

Dynamics of strategic negotiating

Effective negotiation skills are becoming increasingly important in today's world that is characterized by a rapid pace of change, globalization, and diversity. Whether you are managing an intra-organizational conflict, closing a major deal or handling a crisis, sound negotiation methods that lead to productive agreements are critical for continued success.

Building on the concepts of principled negotiating (including interest-based bargaining), the negotiator should develop a negotiating strategy that suits your personal style and skills.

The goal of negotiation is that "everyone wins"

People resolve disagreements in many ways. Some tend to deal with potential conflict by denying it or trying to avoid it altogether. Instead of confronting and resolving problems, people may let their anger and resentment build while they remain silent. This approach can result in constant personal stress, which can lead to illness or poor general health. If disagreements are not resolved, the possibility for more intense conflicts at some later date is increased. Problems seldom improve on their own.

Interest based negotiations

Skillful negotiation skills are valuable in formal bargaining situations -- contracts, brokering -- but also in more subtle ways in everyday business interactions. Incorporating negotiation exercises, will cover negotiation dynamics and psychology; competitive, compromise and interest-based negotiation strategies and styles; and negotiation tactics.

Example of the need of negotiating skills in real estate


Commercial lease negotiations requires negotiation skills. The agent should of course understand:

For successful negotiations the agent must appreciate the viewpoints of the landlord, tenant, and lender each are represented.


On the positive side, conflict can raise issues which help broaden perspectives, but on the negative side, conflict can destroy relationships and harmony. The negotiator should be able o understand sources of conflict and how to use it productively; communicating during stressful situations and with difficult people and building an environment of trust.

Conflict can involve issues of power and authority. Adults may resort to threats and punishments to solve problems with children. Labor unions may strike and management may respond by laying off workers. These are examples of using power to control, intimidate and force solutions on other people. These forced outcomes only add to the grounds for future conflict.

Conflict can also be motivated by ego. Solutions are selfishly sought with little regard for the other person. The conflict becomes a "win/lose" situation in which one person "wins" at someone else's expense. The one-sidedness of this "solution" increases the odds of more conflict. "Losers" will defy, test, resist and retaliate against the "winners."

Effective negotiation is a two-way process that encourages both sides to actively participate in making decisions. It also provides a way for people to learn to understand each other better and to grow in their relationships. Negotiation helps to create a healthy balance between "giving" and "getting." Everyone becomes a "winner" through negotiation.

Constructive Negotiation

Constructive negotiation uses the metaphor of designing and constructing a building to learn a positive, productive way of thinking about, planning for and implementing negotiations. Rather than taking an adversarial or competitive approach to negotiation, the negotiator should approach negotiation as a challenging opportunity to build an agreement together that meets the needs of all parties.

Recognize and define the problem

Each person begins with a clearly identified statement of what he or she wants and/or needs. Negotiation should identify not only individual concerns, but mutual concerns, perceptions and interests. From this process, a common ground for agreement between the individuals is sought. Selfish issues and goals are eliminated in favor of mutually acceptable goals. Problems are examined apart from the personalities involved. Blaming the other person is inappropriate and destroys the cooperative nature of negotiation.

Have you ever experienced any of the following?


Before two sides can look for solutions, a common understanding must be reached. If two people do not understand each other's problems and concerns, then the process of negotiation will either be broken off or will end with solutions that do not work:

Disagreements are bound to happen because parents and children, employees and employers, and couples inevitably have differences in their opinions, values and goals. Many common situations can become sources of disagreements and conflict in personal relationships.

To find solutions to these disagreements, negotiation skills are needed every day at home, at work and in the community. Negotiation means developing an ability to resolve disputes and conflicts. Effective negotiation requires a willingness to work with other people to reach solutions that everyone can live with.

Your personal relationships are often shaped by how well you are able to manage and settle conflicts. If conflict is managed effectively, then a relationship can be maintained. But if conflict is handled poorly, the outcomes may weaken your relations with family, friends and work acquaintances over time.

Client Goals

Categorizing client goals and determining the most effective methods to achieve them.

Ethical Considerations

Is "strategic misrepresentation" permissible? When must you disclose information?

Effective legal negotiation and settlement

The art of legal negotiation involves skills rarely taught in traditional law school curricula, even though practicing attorneys frequently encounter situations that require various forms of negotiation. he negotiating process not only applies to typical "bargaining" situations such as lawsuit settlements and contractual undertakings, but also affects relations with clients and colleagues.

Distinguish between interests and positions

The classic story to illustrate this describes two sisters fighting over the only orange in the family larder. Each sister must have the entire orange for herself, any less is impossible. A wise parent asks each of the girls (in private) why she wants the orange. One explains she wants to drink the juice; the other wants to use the rind to cook a pudding. What each sister wants is her position, why she wants it is her interest. In this case, the simple solution is to give the cook the rind after the juice has been squeezed for the thirsty sister thus meeting the interests of both.

When preparing for a negotiation, or after it has begun, don't just ask "What do they want?" It is also important to ask, "Why do they want it?" It is equally important - and often more difficult - to ask the same questions about your own views. Many successful negotiators find they will be more successful if they focus on understanding their interests as they enter discussions. If they haven't started out with a perfect package, the ideas of others may actually improve their final result.

Negotiators who arrive with a complete package can create real problems. Modifications to their ideas might be taken personally, they may be stubborn, and reaching a satisfactory resolution is made more difficult.


Intimate relationships can become battlegrounds of unresolved issues, complaints and unrealistic expectations. Diana and James' marriage is one that is stuck and in serious trouble. They are unable to step back and view their problems rationally. Both have acknowledged their inability to resolve any of the multiple problems facing them. Diana and James decide to seek the assistance of a family mediator.

Licensed family mediators are trained to provide impartial help in defining the problems and to assist in the problem-solving process. Mediators and counselors both provide additional information and resources to individuals in difficult relationships.

Mediation has proven successful in relationships that have repeated difficult-to-solve problems. Diana and James' marital problems are not unusual. For that reason, family mediation services are being used more often as an alternative to counseling and/or legal services. For further information concerning family mediation, see "Resources."


Brainstorming is one way to gather many creative ideas rapidly. This process allows everyone to openly make suggestions without fear of criticism. At this stage, every suggestion has value and is accepted. After all suggestions have been shared, they are reviewed to determine whether they might coincide or overlap with each other. Negotiation then becomes a matter of choosing a solution to which no one has an objection. Remember, personal goals should not take priority over shared goals.

Seek a variety of solutions

More information about the problem may be needed before a solution can be decided upon. It may be helpful to examine other sources of information such as books, magazine articles and people who may be familiar with the issue. Outside assistance may help you to overcome your own biases. Mediators can provide impartial assistance with the negotiation process.

How can everyone win?

The key to effective negotiation is clear communication. Communication involves three important skills: speaking, listening and understanding. You can't have one skill work without the others -- for example, you can't have good understanding without good listening and speaking. Negotiation is most effective when people are able to clearly identify and discuss their sources of disagreement and misunderstanding.

Not only do negotiators need to know competitive and cooperative strategies, they need to know which strategy is appropriate for a particular situation and how to apply that strategy. Emphasizes the development of personal skills applicable to all negotiation strategies. We particularly emphasize focus and presence. Recognize and send important signals and to be aware of situational demands for change
in strategies. Developing presence allows negotiators to be comfortabl asking for what they want, and occasionally denying the other person what he or she wants.

Systematic Planning

Steps for pre-negotiation planning; methods for implementation and adjustment during negotiations.

Cultural Aspects of Negotiations

Male-female negotiations; role of stereotypes and appearances; minimizing cultural conflicts.

Gender in negotiations

The research explored an area which has had little attention up until now: the impact of gender on face-to-face business negotiations. The objectives were to analyse whether the sex of both the negotiator and the "other party" had an impact on their perceptions of effective negotiation. At the same time, the research explored the presence of "intangibles" in negotiation. "Intangibles" refer to issues such as "saving-face", public image, ego, pride, equality, self-image and self-concept.

The data was collected from one hundred and seventy two by way of a questionnaire. The data was subjected to statistical manipulations including correspondence analysis, factor and cluster analysis.

The research found that perceptions of effective negotiations did differ between male and female negotiators. The perceptions differed with respect to aggressive and manipulative negotiation strategies. Furthermore, the sex of the "other party" impacted on negotiations, again with reference to aggressive and manipulative techniques utilised. There were also indications that the gender of the "other party" impacted on the self-esteem of the negotiator.

Further statistical manipulations showed that the utilisation of competitive and aggressive techniques occurred more often in male-male negotiations. Female negotiators (regardless of the sex of the other party) did not generally utilise these aggressive and competitive styles of negotiation.

The literature assumed females would be more "inter-personally" orientated (concerned with maintaining the harmony and relationship) and that men would be more "task-orientated" (concerned with factual information, order and structure). However, it was interesting to note that a sector consisting of both males and females showed a need for affiliation during negotiation, predominately with a female other party. The male-male negotiation lacked the inter-personal orientation and had low needs for affiliation. Although both task-behaviour and inter-personal behaviour were perceived to be effective in negotiations, there was no significant orientation for either of the sexes, although one of the clusters of negotiators, which was dominated by females, was lacking in task behavior.

An overall conclusion was that the biological sex of the negotiating parties was not the sole predictor of negotiation effectiveness and that the psychological gender may be a more important criterion.


Working together doesn't mean "giving up" or "giving in" to another person's demands or goals. Two or more individuals can agree that disagreement exists. However, they can also agree to put aside their anger, frustration, resentment and egos in favor of working together for a solution to a common problem. All negotiated work is completed by consensus. A negotiated solution is reached when everyone has given up something to gain common benefits.

Show respect

Success rests in accepting the other person despite differences in values, beliefs, educational experiences, ethnic backgrounds or perspectives. Negotiation permits you to examine a problem from all sides, and to promote understanding and interest in the other person without necessarily agreeing to her or his viewpoint. Taking time to listen and to ask questions makes it easier to learn more about someone's perspectives. Considering different perspectives will increase the range and variety of possible solutions. Genuine interest in other people and in their contribution to finding solutions builds trust. Trust provides a foundation for continuing a relationship. A foundation of trust also eases future efforts to solve problems.

Separate the people from the problem. Religion teaches us to hate the sin not the sinner. If we view the problem as that which needs to be resolved rather than viewing someone holding a contrary viewpoint as a person to be defeated, the odds of a successful collaboration increase.

One specific technique that can work is to change the shape of the table rather than sitting opposite your 'opponents', arrange the seating so that all the parties are sitting together facing a flip chart or blackboard where the problem is presented. That makes it clear that all the participants are facing the problem together, that instead of it being 'us' against 'them', it is a case of 'all of us' against 'it'.

Nonverbal negotiating

Importance of Nonverbal Communication

Influence of nonverbal signals; examples of their impact on negotiations; interpreting your opponent's nonverbal signals.

Silence is golden

This is true for two reasons:

Sometimes silence is viewed as disapproval but since no specific disapproval has been voiced, it cannot be treated as an attack. It has happened on many occasions that, when met with silence, people have modified their previous statements to make them more palatable.


The first attribute a skilled negotiator needs is the ability to LISTEN!!! Listening is a skill that needs to be learnt, like any other skill and needs to be practiced.

Effective listening requires:

Research shows that the major barrier to mutual understanding is the natural tendency of humans to judge, evaluate, approve or disapprove what the other person is saying without ever really listening to them!

The two major ways we listen are:

Reflective speaking requires you to restate the speakers idea's and feelings to the speakers satisfaction and the use of “you" statements

Active speaking requires you to send back to the speaker what you think is being said and the use of “I" statements

After listening comes the questions. The next skill that be the complete negotiator.

Listening is an active process of concentrating all of one's attention on the other person. Encouraging the other person to share thoughts and feelings, giving feedback on what has been heard, and maintaining eye contact are skills that show you are interested in understanding what he or she has to say. It is always helpful to simply ask, "I understood you to say Am I correct in this?" or "I hear you saying that you are Is that how you feel?" Active listening assures the other person that he or she is heard, accepted and respected. The ability to listen actively supports open, ongoing negotiation.

Thinking ahead or anticipating the course of the discussion are distractions that interfere with listening. Poor attention and listening can lead to misunderstandings, inappropriate solutions and continuing conflict.

An effective listening approach


What is a good listening approach?


The listening approach I recommend is generally known as 'active listening'. When we provide training or consulting services, we remind people that they learn far more with their ears open than with their mouth open. We encourage people to ask questions, after all the only dumb questions are the ones you don't ask.

In effect, active listening requires holding on to your own self-control and focusing on what other parties are saying. Don't sit there fuming waiting for a chance to zap them when they finally shut up. Paying attention to their points and emphases gives you a clearer idea of what is really important to them, what their interests are.

Follow-up inquiries on unclear points, careful summarizing of what they have said (Did I understand you correctly to say . . .?) gives your ultimate response greater credibility, because it is obviously based on your having paid attention.

In doing this, you change the rules of the game: 'I have listened to you, taken you seriously, labored to understand you clearly. Now it is your turn to reciprocate and treat me with the same kind of respect.' You may not be able to use this kind of language; that's why it is important to demonstrate by your actions what kind of response you offer -- and are looking for. Sorry about ending that sentence with a preposition.

This is a very brief summary of some of the important points of active listening. Others relate to using listening as a means to de-escalate a potential conflict, keeping a cool head when other stakeholders may not be doing the same, recognizing the difference between a person and the problem that needs to be resolved.

Active listening

Encourages understanding. It is important to pay close attention to what someone says as well as to how he or she behaves. Body language, including facial expressions, hand gestures and degree of eye contact, can provide clues about the other person's thoughts and feelings. Observations, however, are shaped as much by the observer as by the person being observed. It is good practice never to assume to understand the other person without first asking, "Did I hear you correctly?" or "I have noticed that you appear " or "I sense you are under strain. Do you want to talk about this?" and "I'd like to hear from you about how you are feeling" are all good examples of statements that encourage communication and better understanding between people.

Active Listening has some interesting consequences: The listener may actually be able to get a clearer picture of the other party's ideas. And when the listener's response shows just how good a job he or she has done listening, it can shock the other party: "Good grief, they actually paid attention to me!"

One other terrific result of Active Listening is that the discipline of focusing on other opinions can also give the listener the chance to reflect on the process and strategy. Stepping aside and taking a dispassionate view of the goings-on can make one a far more effective negotiator.

How to be a better listener - barriers we need to overcome

People listen faster than they can talk! The average speaking rate is around 125 words per minute your capacity to listen is about 400-600 words per minute. Therefore, while you are listening you have about 75% of your time free. Use this time to improve your understanding of what is being said, to think of answers to the questions being asked, make decisions about what is being said and plan suggestions.

Nine techniques for better listening

The following are 9 valuable techniques to make you a better listener:

  1. like to listen

  2. ignore distractions

  3. summarize what you have heard

  4. tame emotions

  5. eliminate hasty judgements

  6. never interrupt

  7. inspire openness

  8. need to listen

  9. generate conclusions


People can be dull and uninteresting, the negotiation could seem irrelevant and unimportant to you.

Listening only to the words

If you close your eyes or let your attention wander from the speaker, you only receive half the message

Poor timing

There are times and places when you prefer to listen and visa-versa

Physical barriers

Such as noise, hearing impairment etc if we are aware that there are barriers to listening and we need to practice our listening skills then what is it we need to do to be a better listener?

Self help exercises in negotiation skills

If you wish to practice your listening, the following exercises will help:


Negotiation begins with a clear, concise explanation of the problem as each person sees it. Facts and feelings are presented in a rational manner from the individual's perspective, using "I" statements. Communication between people will go more smoothly when statements such as "I become very upset when you " are used rather than more aggressive statements such as "You make me mad when you," which blames the other person and puts him or her in a defensive position. Shared concerns rather than individual issues remain the focus of discussion throughout negotiation.

The negotiation process will be most effective when people take time to think through what they will say. When possible, plan ahead to meet at a time and place convenient to everyone. A quiet, neutral spot where there are few distractions or interruptions is perfect for open discussion.

Specific Negotiation Issues

Litigation settlement; presence of the client; diminishing the strength of a powerful opponent; enhancing a weak bargaining position; telephone negotiations; client acceptance of settlement against advice of counsel.

Negotiation games

There are a number of games that can be used to improve your negotiation skills. These are not covered in an introductory module such as this but their usefulness are that you learn:

Negotiating styles

Negotiating uses a situational model to explain the negotiation process. Diagnose negotiation situations and adapt their behavior to maximize the likelihood of a successful outcome. Define the behaviors that make up the participant's style, suggest alternative behaviors the negotiator can use in order to "flex their style" more readily and in more situations.

Personal approaches to conflict, different styles of negotiation, and advanced techniques for competition and collaboration are not covered in this introductory module. However, the negotiator should explore experiential activities for exploring conflict and creativity, role plays for negotiation leadership and anger, and, overall, represents a solid game plan for developing flexible negotiation skills.


The ability to use and ask questions is a skill that a negotiator requires if they are to be successful in negotiations.

We ask questions all the time but do we ask the right question. There are a variety of questions that can be asked to elicit the correct information and to guide and direct other people. You should practice asking and using a variety of questions in different situations.

Question types

Open ended questions

These questions are not designed to generate a single response but to allow for identification of areas that will need further questioning. They are effective for getting the other person to open up to you. They are useful when seeking clarification of a point, in gaining more information and they encourage a more detailed response;

These questions will normally begin with:


Negotiation stages

Successful questioning techniques

Open questions are to gain information from the other person. You want to know what his/her opinion is, what his/her feelings are and reactions to you.

Closed or bipolar questions

Closed questions usually elicit a straight forward "yes" .or no or a specific answer. They are effective for checking details These questions do not allow for elaboration and therefore place the responsibility on the questioner to maintain the conversation.

These questions should be used when you require little information but want to move the communication along. Be careful of the use of these questions because overuse can lead the conversation to sound like an *interrogation. They need to be mixed with other types of questions.


Do you intend to settle on the 31 October?

Have you read the advertisement, I wrote?

Leading or directional questions

Leading questions are designed to lead the person to a specific path of inquiry or to make the "right" decision. One must be careful with these questions as they can alienate or elicit a defensive response or cause the person to attack or withdraw.


If I can find a property that has everything that you have outlined, will you buy it from me?

If the owner will leave the dishwasher will you then buy the property?

Link questions

These questions are designed to link a previous comment, statement or thought, made by the person and turn it into a commitment.


Bearing in mind that you said then taking into consideration, can we now ?

Shapinq your Future

Inverted tie down which is placed at the beginning of a sentence.

Didn’t they, do a lovely job with the landscaping?

Internal tie down which is placed in the middle of the sentence.

The owners did a lovely job, didn't they, with the landscaping?

Different placement of the "tie downs" leads to variety and their use is not so obvious if mixed-

Feedback questions

Feedback questions require you to take a minor objection and feed it back warmly or in a positive light in the form of a question. These questions are used to clarify an objection or have the person elaborate on an objection.. They will lead you to the true objection if used correctly


We wanted a much smaller block.

A smaller block would be nice but this one has an inground sprinkler system and not much lawn, so it. shouldn't be a problem, should it?

Why is it that you want a smaller block? Could you elaborate or explain your circumstances to me more fully?


Question questions?

This is the technique of answering a question with a question or answering the question with the rewording of the original question. These questions allow you to maintain control the person who asks the last question is in control of the conversation. Overuse can be irritating and sound as if you are repeating questions by rote.

Answering a question with a question allows you to confirm or clarify your own understanding of the other person’s answer. Watch lawyers and politicians, they use this method in an attempt to control an interview or situation or to ensure they ate answering the question that has been asked.

It is important to remember in a negotiation;

"If we say it, they doubt it!!! If they say it it's true!!!!

In order for them to say it, you must ask questions, questions that lead to positive answers and agreement. In other words:

Probing questions

These questions will follow a statement made by the person/s and are designed to elicit more information or encourage the person/s to keep on talking,


You must have a reason for feeling that way? May I ask what it is?

You mentioned your first home in Adelaide. Could you tell me a little more about it?

"Piggyback" questions

A piggyback question is asking your next question about the person/s last answer. These questions require you to listen and demonstrates, to people that you are interested in them People will appreciate your attention.


Where do you live at the moment? Palm Beach in Sydney.

What do you like most about living in Palm Beach? We' like to sail.

Have you been sailing long?

Alternate choice questions

These questions offer the person/s a choice. They have 2 answers. These questions are the easiest to use and will quickly become a habit. When 'they' become a habit the questions will come naturally. Learn your alternate choice' questions by practising and rehearsing them. They work!


I would be pleased to show that property, I am free at 3 pm today or would 10.00 am tomorrow be more convenient?

How much deposit would you be comfortable with $1,000 or $1,500?

Involvement questions

These questions are questions that the person will have to ask themselves after they have listed or bought a property with/from you. They are designed to have the buyer moving into the home or the seller listing their home with you, before it actually happens.


Monica, where in the lounge room would you put the lounge? Next to the fireplace or over by the window?

Would you have a fire in the fireplace during exhibitions?

Tie downs

A tie-down is a question at the end of a sentence or statement that demands a "yes" or isolates an objection. Be careful of overuse because people will feel that you are trying to control them and continuous use leads to annoyance. Tie downs allow you to get commitment to a minor point or overcome a minor objection that will lead to a major decision being made.

Examples of tie downs are:

Other Examples

The neighbourhood is lovely, isn't it?

The owners have done' a superb job with the landscaping, haven't they?

I love a separate entrance, don't you?

There are 3 types of tie down questions. These relate to the position of the tie down in the sentence.

They are:

Straight tie down which is placed at the end of the sentence:

The owners did a lovely job with the landscaping, didn’t they?”

Only one person can get angry at a time

This is yet another means to help individuals keep a cool head and pay attention to the process and the strategy, as well as the substance of the negotiation. If it's not your 'turn' to be angry, the exercise of restraint can be turned into a positive opportunity to observe what is going on with a clear eye. No less important, yelling at each other is not negotiation; it is confrontation. In those situations there may possibly be a 'winner' but it is even more likely there will be a 'loser'.

Pursue fairness

If all the participants view the process as fair, they are more likely to take it seriously and 'buy into' its result. Moreover, the focus on fairness can have an important impact on the substantive result. If the parties to a negotiation can agree on standards against which elements of the agreement can be measured, it can give each a face-saving reason for agreeing. Referral to the Base Rate of the other major lending institutions, an industry standard of marketability, or other common measures, can validate the agreement the parties reach.

To be considered successful, an agreement must be durable. Parties who walk away from the table grumbling may regret their commitment and only honor it grudgingly. If they end up looking for excuses to get out from under an unwanted result, the gains achieved by the other side may prove to be short-term indeed.

Preserve the relationship

In general, people will try to preserve valued relationships. Negotiation is a non-adversarial approach to resolving conflict in those relationships. There are no "good guys," "bad guys," or "winners/losers." Negotiation is based on equality. No one wields more power or control than another. The individual's ideas, attitudes, values and objectives are recognized and respected as legitimate. Solutions are mutually agreed upon.

Consider your BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement)

If you do not reach an agreement with the other, does that really make things worse for you? When you're selling an antique Rolls Royce and have received an offer of $43,250, you know what another potential buyer has to do to get you interested. Of course, the first offerer may plan to use the car for chauffeuring wedding parties while a second offerer collects and restores antique cars and preserves them indoors. In determining you BATNA, a straightforward review of your interest will give you the clearest picture.

If you accept your BATNA, you know when you can simply turn your back on the negotiations. However, it is important not to ignore the other party's BATNA. The relative strength of each party's BATNA will determine the balance of power each can exercise.

An example of the dangers of a confrontational approach, consider the problems that may arise from this example:

Contract performance problem


I'm a Logistics manager and have to fly to a supplier in Melbourne next week for material delivery problems. The issue that I have is that my factory in Sydney has had to stop productions because of material shortages. My company wants me to negotiate a per day down time payment of $6500 or go to court. What would be my best plan in this situation?


There are several questions you need to be able to answer:


What are the problems every negotiator has to overcome?


It is dangerous to view every negotiator as having the same problems. Just as human personalities and cultural traits vary, and just as there are exceptions to our expectations about how certain kinds of people will behave in a given situation, everyone has his/her own negotiation style.

Questions a negotiator should consider before negotiating

Here is a short list of questions every negotiator should consider as they get ready for or enter into negotiations:

Self help questions

Based on what you have read so far, why are communications and perceptions important in the negotiation process?

Write a short answer.

When you have finished compare with the model answer below.

Model answer

In negotiation, information is your most important asset. Whether you are learning about parties' interests, figuring out what is most likely to lead to a wise result, or determining who's got what to offer, information is what you are pursuing.

The best way to gain information is through communication. Researching in a book, on the web, or through conversation all involves using fundamental communication media. In negotiation, and the rest of life, you must remember that you learn more with your mouth closed and your ears open.

Clear communication using common-sense questioning and listening skills is your best way for deriving information. Being a good audience is a better way to learn than being a good presenter.

If effective communication has taken place, parties' perceptions are likely to be clearer. And the clearer and more comprehensive your perception of what's at issue and what's going on, the more likely you are to reach a wise agreement.

Self help questions

What are the consequences for not separating the people from the problem in negotiation?

Write a short answer.

When you have finished compare with the model answer below.

Model answer

If you view a particular person as 'the problem' and all you want to do is beam them away to another planet, the question is whether you have actually solved the real problem. Confusing a person with 'the problem' can lead to an emotional escalation which moves the focus away from achieving an appropriate resolution.

Property managers particularly, find themselves dealing with people they have little reason to trust. The dilemma is that, in spite of the property manager’s personal lack of enthusiasm for people who are bad rent payers, for the most part he/she must negotiate with them in order to recover the money owed.

One step you can take is to become a creative schizophrenic: allow one part of your personality to be cold and calculating and analytical while another part is engaged in the substance of the negotiation. The analytical part of your 'split personality' can feed the involved side of your personality a series of affirmations: I am keeping my head. In spite of some of the characters with whom property managers deal with, he/she must behave in a civilized manner.

Sometimes, when you know you're dealing with a truly unsavory character, and depending on the parameters within which you have to work, minimizing your losses can be viewed as a way to reach a 'winning' result.

Negotiators who fail to separate the people from the problem are often playing a zero-sum game in that there is a winner and a loser. Focusing on the interests, on the substantive issues at hand, and on creative solutions is far more likely when you separate the people from the problem. When you succeed at that, you are heading in the direction of reaching the 'nirvana' of a result that makes sense to all the parties involved.

Testing one's own negotiating skills


Is there a copy of a managerial/negotiator "type" self-test inclusive of the instructions and answer key that I can take to assess my strengths and weaknesses?


While it is possible to find a variety of self-tests that presume to measure one's negotiation skills, research has shown uncertainty about 'legitimate' self-test or analysis forms that really work as a measure of an individual's specific negotiation style or skills.

Negotiation, by its nature, takes place between two or more parties at interest, while one's understanding of oneself is of crucial importance, it does not take account of the interpersonal dynamic of a given negotiation or negotiation relationship. Thus, looking back at your experiences negotiating is likely to give you the clearest picture of what works for you and what needs to be improved.

Someone you know very well may have gotten out of the wrong side of bed or have external issues that make his/her response in a given negotiation appear out of character. A good negotiator needs to be able to roll with the punches, and not depend of a set menu of rules and tactics that limit his/her capacity to make the deal work.

In times past, when two property owners had a disagreement, they would hire knights and wage war to reach a conclusion. Then somebody invented lawyers, and the problem-solving process became one of waging law. Our society has reached a level of sophistication in which we recognize that the costs of waging war - or waging law - are terribly high. With the use of good negotiation skills, we have the capacity to reach conclusions in a more satisfactory manner. We can wage PEACE.

Successful negotiation

Negotiation is most successful when both sides:

Negotiation tips

Better negotiation will result if the negotiator:

Example: Parent-child conflict

It's Friday, David and his mother are arguing once again about the teenager's weekend curfew. Mrs S has grown increasingly distressed by her son's continuing resistance to the 11 pm. curfew she has set. David insists that this is unfair and both become so angry and frustrated that they storm off to separate areas of the house to avoid each other and further conflict.

Effective approach: compromise. Mrs S has retreated to her room to calm down. It is time to discuss the issue of curfew with David directly. She is careful to listen to David and to give him time, attention and respect. He can express feelings without fear that his mother will ignore or reject them. David admits that he had grown frustrated by his mother's seeming lack of respect for him, causing his anger. Mrs S and David agree to an 11:30 p.m. curfew. David had asked for a midnight curfew, but settles for the additional half hour. Mother and son have found a middle ground solution that both can live with.

Example: Workplace conflict

Larry has been late for work several times in recent weeks. He has failed to turn in several important project outlines on time without explanation or apology, annoying his employer. Until recently, Larry's attendance and performance at work had been consistent, motivated, and highly productive. Larry's recent behavior has been so uncharacteristic that his employer decides to confront him, demanding a meeting the next day.

Effective approach: consensus. At the meeting, Larry explains that he has been caring for his elderly father, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Attempting to maintain a schedule at home and at work has proven difficult. Larry is concerned that he will lose his job. Larry's employer reassures him that his job is not in jeopardy. However, alternative and more flexible scheduling must be considered to resolve family-work conflicts. A consensus is sought. The employer values Larry's training and experience, and Larry values his job and his employer's understanding. Both are willing to discuss options and to try out alternatives that best serve mutual needs.


As life becomes more complex and the world more diverse, your ability to use negotiation skills becomes more important. Negotiation requires time and patience. By practicing the negotiation strategies and skills suggested in this publication, you can make conflict resolution a regular part of your approach to managing relationships at home, at work and in the community. Negotiation can serve not only to preserve relationships, but to continually strengthen and improve them.

Further reading

Managing Differences: How to Build Better Relationships at Work and Home, second edition, 1996, by Daniel Dana (MTI Publications)

Daniel Dana (in Handbook of Organizational Consultation edited by Robert Golembiewski, Marcel Dekker Press)

Getting Disputes Resolved: Designing Systems to Cut the Costs of Conflict by William Ury, et al (Harvard Program on Negotiation).