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How To Negotiate Like a Pro   

Dr. Greg Ketchum, 10/23/04


To arrange or settle by discussion and mutual agreement.

Knowing how to negotiate is a key skill in that we all face many “negotiation” situations on a daily basis whether at work, seeking a new job or with a mate or children. Ever try to negotiate with a 5 year old over getting a new toy? Well while we all may not be great natural negotiators the good news is that negotiation is a skill that can be learned by anyone.

First, let me give you some examples of critical mistakes and key success factors in negotiation.

3 Critical Mistakes

  1. Treat the other party like the enemy.
  2. Go for win/lose results.
  3. Be inflexible in pursuit of your goal.

3 Key Success Factors

  1. Go for win/win results.
  2. Put yourself in the other side’s shoes.
  3. Assume that everything is negotiable.

“Money Shot” Negotiation Tip:
Don’t Let Yourself Be Put on the Defensive
. Some negotiators will try to put you on the defensive by attacking you or your credibility. Deflect & keep the focus on the task at hand. Think Aikido, not Judo.

Here are some action steps to help you negotiate like a pro.

Action Steps

  1. Build Trust Every Step of the Way
    Negotiating without some foundation of trust is a waste of time.
  2. Don’t Be Afraid to Make the First Offer
    Except when the other side has more information than you on the topic being negotiated.
  3. Set a Goal, But Have Fall Back Positions
    Define your goal, but always have a “bottom line, fall-back” position ready. Take “baby steps.”
  4. Go for Win/Win
    It’s a cliché, but unless both sides walk away feeling they’ve gotten what they need you’re agreement won’t stick.
If All Else Fails And You’re Going Around in Circles
  1. Break the Spin Cycle
    Suggest taking a break and resuming later at a different time and setting.
  2. Rip Cord Move
    Fake a cough and leave the room to get water in order to give yourself time to collect your thoughts.

If you’ve got work or career topics you’d like to see us address just send me an email at drgreg@talentplanet.com.


Harvard Business School, Working Knowledge Newsletter

Wall Street Journal, CareerJournal.com


If you’ve got work or career topics you’d like to see us address, just send me an email at drgreg@talentplanet.com.

®2004 All rights reserved. Gregory A. Ketchum, Ph.D.

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Dr. Greg is the “KRON 4 (San Francisco) Workplace and Career Expert”

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