Learning to Negotiate

Learning to Negotiate

Like any skill the more practise you have the better the outcome.
We negotiate all the time. Meetings are often a form of negotiation.


If you are someone who is terrified of negotiations, really thorough preparation is key. It may be the perceived conflict you are scared of. Perhaps a previous bad experience has tainted your view of negotiation.

If you look at the negotiation as a joint problem solving exercise it will change the fear factor.

Think about who benefits from your outcome. We are often better at negotiating on behalf of others. Perhaps consider the benefits to your family for a successful outcome.

Know what you want

In preparing for the conversation you are about to have be sure you know what you want.

One technique is a scoreboard.


If for example you are giving up an item in this scoreboard you will know what it is worth.


BATNA is an acronym that stands for best alternative to a negotiated agreement.

"Do you have other offers?"
You should try to avoid revealing exactly what your BATNA is. You may then only receive an offer slightly above that.

Understand the oppositions possible positions

The two things that any negotiator has to prepare before they go into negotiations-:

1. they have to really understand themselves and their own goals and needs and wants.

2. they have to develop as deep understanding as they can of the other person.

Communication Styles DISC
If we identify our own and others' preferred DISC communication styles, we potentially possess an effective tool to better interact with them.


Knowing your value is important. Take some time to analyse how others may perceive your value. You may have a skill-set in demand or 100% necessary.

Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats (SWOT Analysis) is a technique to acess a situation, your business or yourself.

Decision Tree Analysis is good for looking at the consequences and outcomes of a decision. It usually accesses 3 outcomes like 1. good, 2. most likely and 3. poor.

Aggressive Negotiating Position

Posture Position

As much as possible try to negotiate in neutral territory. Sitting in a plush office is hardly putting yourself in the best position.

Never turn up late - turn up early. The negotiation starts when you are on the premises.

You may be nervous but often this is not noticeable to others.

Consider where you sit. When the option comes to sit where there are multiple people with different actual power - consider sitting in a powerful position. Refer Understanding Body Language In Meetings

A powerful position to sit is directly opposite the most powerful person. (not in the corner out of direct eye sight)

If the key person you are negotiating with is known to "power dress" consider matching them, and don't be afraid to use your best perfume/cologne.

Be aware of tactics used by some negotiators to display their power by ordering staff around in front of you.

Negotiating Job Package

Don't rush

You are at the meeting.
What if there is a reason for urgency for the other party?
You may discover in your general preamble that a certain project needs you.

Watch your tone

When speaking with others, your tone clarifies and conveys meaning. This is an interesting article on tone with a sub title "How female leaders are still being penalized for not having a penis."


The concept of Deep Listening is quite different to active listening.

Active Listeners vs Deep Listeners

How well do you really listen rather than just wait for your turn to talk?


Negotiation with Tradies

Supply and demand is a key consideration for a tradie. But you must be aware of the current demand and a rough idea of possible prices.

Any knowledge you have on the issue at hand is a benefit. For example there is a leak in your bathroom. You need to know the probable cause of that leak.

Understanding call-out fee structures and whether your issue requires multiple trips to your premises.

If a tradie has been recommended, mention that to them. This is a version of the 'halo effect' where someone is judged to be good and then acts that out by being good.

It never hurts to be able to quickly estimate the hourly rate a quote contains and the approximate cost of materials. Even ask the tradesman to give an estimate.

Negotiating at a Body Corporate meeting

Body Corporate meetings are a great chance to get some negotiating practise. There are people with various backgrounds and experience.

If you know and support the issues of your fellow unit owners, there is a better chance they will support you if you have a specific issue.

Some issues will end up in dispute. In these cases know the rules that apply. Why bother getting into a dispute over an issue that simply cannot happen.

Creating a scoreboard (as above) nominating issues that are important to you would also be helpful.

Negotiating a pay rise

Employees are at a disadvantage when they're going in blind. The company knows everything about the compensation available.

Negotiating a price on a property

My parents quaint holiday shack turned into an "asbestos hot box" when the real estate agent was trying to flog it off.

Again knowing your limits but not necessarily giving them away. For example if you say you would accept 700k the agent may not bother pushing for a better price.

References and Sources

The art of negotiation: How to ask for a pay rise
Jennifer Overbeck - Associate Professor of Management, Melbourne University Business School
Dave Wolovsky - Lead Negotiator, Next Level Negotiation
Lisa Leong, Presenter
Zoe Ferguson, Producer
Broadcast 15 Sep 2023

GoldCoastLogin.com.au DISC Communication Styles

HearingAidsAustralia.com Deep Listening

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