Thursday, March 10, 2016

Negotiation Skills Must Not To Be Underestimated

Never Underestimate The Role This Skill Plays
One of the greatest skills a person can develop is the ability to negotiate. Life is a giant negotiation where we constantly bargain with people in an effort to reach our goals. Failure to do so generally will result in a person continually being shifted to the least desirable table in a restaurant or not getting fair compensation for their work. This is an area of our lives people often overlook or fail to give enough thought or invest enough time to understand or learn. Let me clearly state negotiating is not simply about the ability to get rich, but much much more. My advice to all is we should never underestimate this skill and the power derived from using it well.

We have all heard Donald Trump carrying on about his great abilities and his book "The Art Of The Deal" written in 1987. This book by the business magnate and current front-running Presidential candidate is part memoir and a business advice book that reached #1 on the New York Times. Trump understands both the power of this skill and how to use it in a way to propel himself forward financially as well as socially. Being able to navigate around obstacles to reach a positive objective that works for all parties involved has a great deal of merit and getting a better price when buying or selling an item quickly adds to your bottom-line. The simple truth is that for the average person becoming an astute negotiator is the best way to increase their ability to get what they want.

Often people rush to subcontract or outsource this task to others such as a real estate agent or attorney, this is something I suggest you resist, instead improve your own skills. I went to an extensive seminar decades ago that proved one of the best investments I ever made. It highlighted and brought home the importance of negotiating. I consider this so important that I have made an effort to mentor all of those working with me in expanding their ability in this area. Negotiating skills include studying and understanding body language as well as the hidden meanings within conversations. At times it can extend further into grasping true motivation of all parties, the issues behind the issue, or the ability to figure out who really holds the power to broker a deal. We cannot appreciate enough how understanding the fundamentals, psychological skills, strategies, and a structured approach enhances the chance for positive results.

The Art  Of Negotiating Is Complex
Many negotiating tools and strategies exist, so the more options you bring to the table the better. Some strategies are cultural or seem to be dominate in specific regions of the world. The Chinese and Asian cultures often use a patient and unbending technique that is designed to wear down and frustrate their opposition. In this game, they seem in no hurry to resolve issues and tend to grind you down, while in Russia the bargaining might be very hard and every possible concession squeezed from a situation before an agreement can be reached. Here in America, we rush to compromise and it is that willingness to be fair that often weakens our position.

As a bonus, this skill can also be used for conflict resolution. While writing this piece I referred to the book I had written and I happened to come upon an interesting story about an orange that I had forgotten. In this story, two sisters quarreled over an orange both sisters wanted. The suggestion they could split it in half made neither sister happy. This was because of the failure to realize that one sister wanted the fruit of the orange to eat and the other wanted the peel from the orange for baking. A better option was available, but neither one saw it. People generally assume the differences between two parties create problems but they can also be the solution.

Some people may possess a special ability or have a "natural knack" for negotiating, but we must remember this is a skill that can be learned and honed with practice. Like the art of salesmanship or any other skill, it is important that it become part of your arsenal as you navigate life. In a situation where we fall upon hard times, it could become invaluable to both yourself and those you love. We should never underestimate the power of being able to arrive at an outcome that is beneficial and hopefully, at the same time creates an environment of trust putting in place the foundation for future cooperation. The fact is those who master this skill can negotiate their way to success and have the potential to better their life in ways we can only imagine.

Footnote; I strongly advise reading a book about negotiating techniques. One really important thing to remember is that not all deals are equal, this means it is extremely important to think a lot about "major" deals. When negotiating an agreement with oversized ramifications or involving a great deal of money, slowing things down and taking your time can improve your outcome. The more experienced the party you are dealing with the more caution you should exercise, as it has been said the devil is in the details.


  1. Florida biz boy likes oranges. Nice piece. I'm sharing with my team.

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