1 Minute Negotiator

April 9, 2011

In business as in life, almost everything is a negotiation. Whether your goal is to move net 15 to net 30, or getting her to marry you in your home town, you are bound to run into a lot of situations where competency in negotiation will help you a great deal.

In the vain of the popular book, One Minute Manager, I thought I would save you the effort of reading one of a trove of negotiation books and break it down nice and easy.

Negotiation is the art of simultaneously accepting and inspiring compromise.

The secret to getting what you want in negotiation is actually strikingly simple; make sure the other party gets what they want. This may seem counterintuitive. It may seem like concession, not negotiation. But if I can impart one piece of wisdom to you, this is it.

My father, a harbinger of diplomacy and wisdom throughout my life, said it best. “ALWAYS leave something on the table,” he taught me. Contrary to popular belief, negotiation is not a binary endeavor; there is never a “winner.” Successful negotiations, by definition, send both parties away satisfied. This is to say that negotiation is the art of simultaneously accepting and inspiring compromise. If you enter negotiations expecting to take everything and leave nothing, you will spoil the negotiation, leaving everything and taking nothing. Even worse, you will burn a bridge and preclude any future negotiations with your counterpart.

Beyond this, it is your responsibility to identify, understand, and preserve the interests of your counterpart (notice I refrain from using the term “opponent” here). Make sure that, whenever possible, your successes in negotiation do not equate to the failures of others.

(for more on this, read into Dale Carnegie, who reminds us to speak in terms of other people’s interests).

Ultimately, there are many cases where the needs or desires of one party simply conflict with those of another. In this case, negotiation just may not be successful… and that is ok. Acknowledge that it doesn’t appear it will be able to work out, shake hands, and wish them the best of luck. If both parties can’t walk away happy, it’s better that way.

Now, what I would like to see from you is to comment, post, and tweet this article. Alright, well, if you can simply tell 3 friends I think we will have an agreement. Excellent. I’ll have Susan draft up the documents.

Happy Negotiating,

One Response to “1 Minute Negotiator”

  1. Zinaida says:

    Why is there two periods after the word successful?

    Thank you,


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