A Battle or a War?

Our Negotiation Skills Coaching Cards use the analogy of a Battleground to bring the subject to life and make it more memorable for you, the Coachee.

However, do not think of all battles as violent, extreme, unpleasant and generally nasty things. Some battles are challenges to be grasped, attacked and conquered. Think more fencing, chess or cricket, rather than Agincourt, Trafalgar or Waterloo.

A battle can be relished, it is a challenge of your skills against a worthy opponent. Know your opponent (enemy), understand their strengths and weaknesses in comparison to yours. Establish where the balance of power lies.

Sometimes it is better to choose which battle you fight. Trying to do a David against Goliath is not always a guaranteed success!

And remember military history tells us that sometimes you have to lose a battle to win the war.

Negotiation should be seen as an everyday skill. Just like questioning or time management. Don’t think of negotiation as a one-off exercise where your skills will be able to hibernate for months on end to then magically be pulled out of the hat when needed to work perfectly and effectively instantly.

Think of the top football teams. They train and practice every single day to maintain peak performance. They have to work and work hard, honing and tempering their skills. Negotiation is no different. It’s not like riding a bike, years out of the saddle and you can instantly jump back on and be proficient.

So do practice, use these Coaching Cards as a springboard to becoming a fitter, leaner negotiation expert.

5 Top Negotiation Tips

The coaching cards contain a wealth of hints and tips to help you become a better negotiator. However, to help further focus your journey to become a negotiation Ninja always follow these 5 top tips:

1. Know Your Opponent (Enemy)

Never enter a negotiation without knowing who you are up against. It may seem obvious, but how many times have you been blindsided into a negotiation when not expecting it? You can just as much set the ‘rules’ as the other party. Always try to negotiate on ‘home turf’ in conditions and surroundings that suit you. Understand your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses; try and forecast the way they will approach the negotiation and how you will counter their moves. Think about chess, it’s not just you and your moves, it’s about anticipating and planning for their moves too.

2. Plan, Plan and Then Plan Some More

Plan and practice, then plan and practice some more until you are totally prepared for the negotiation. You can never plan and practice too much. The more information you have the better you will be. Use all the resources you can get your hands on, Online, talking to relevant people, researching historical data and events.

3. Be Patient – Never Lose Your Temper – Unless You Mean To

Negotiation is an art; it is not a science. Put two humans together in a negotiation and the way each party acts and behaves CAN affect the eventual outcome. Some people are more naturally aggressive, some more passive, some have high ethical and moral standards, and some have none! Some people are having good days when they negotiate, some have a barrage of other troubles cluttering their thought processes. Always try to conduct a negotiation professionally and with courtesy. Only ever lose your temper if you feel that tactically it may produce a beneficial result.  However, never actually lose your temper. Your thoughts will be in literal turmoil and that will not help you.

4. Never Run Out of Tradeables…

Tradeables, or variables, are the ‘oil’ of negotiation. They help smooth the process between the two parties. Think of the cost and value of a £10 note, it costs you £10 to give away, it is worth £10 to the other party. Consequently, any negotiation where one party is trying to buy a £10 note for £8 or achieve £12 for its sale is going to be fraught with tension and difficulty! However, anything that is not money only has a perceived value to the other party. If this value is higher than the cost to you it becomes a tradeable. To use an extreme example, a 50p bottle of mineral water is of literally priceless, lifesaving value to a dehydrated survivor of a desert plane crash.

5. Win-Win Is Not a Bad Outcome

The outcome of a negotiation is often pitched as having to be about either winning or losing. Many negotiations can and do end up with one side either winning or losing. However, we don’t like 50/50 gambles.  Much better that most of your negotiations are Win-Win, then you never lose!


For more articles and advice check out the Negotiation Skills Tips section of our award-winning blog, and read our Ultimate Guide to Negotiation Skills. If you would like more information on how Negotiation Skills Training can help you, fill out the form below:

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