Guest Post: Power Sources to Use in Negotiation

This guest post is about power sources during negotiations. It’s a great breakdown on negotiations, and can help anyone that may need to hash out a deal.


What is negotiation power and how can it influence a business deal? Let’s start with a simple definition: negotiation power is defined as a negotiator’s ability to sway someone else’s behavior. There are many aspects linked to this authority, and it’s important for people to understand that these power sources are often used by business negotiators who want to close a deal in their favor. Unfortunately, power at the negotiation table is never distributed evenly. Someone always has the upper hand.

Power can be extremely persuasive, and the best way to hold that power is to be confident. Can you make that happen? Let’s have a closer look at 4 main things you can do to gain more confidence in negotiation.

  • Be a visionary – Success in negotiation can only be achieved if you can visualize the end result of your deal. Imagine yourself at the negotiation table, try to experience the mixed feelings (angst, excitement, fear, determination, and thrill) and don’t allow negative thoughts to influence your perception. Think of a positive outcome. If you can picture it, you can achieve it!
  • Avow – “I’m a self-assured negotiator!”. Repeat this sentence out loud a couple of times and believe that you can attain anything. Affirmations are powerful; they strengthen belief and help business people make use of their power sources.
  • Self-assessment – ask yourself this between negotiation breaks: “was I confident enough?” “did my opponents see me as a confident person?” “What can I do showcase even greater power?” There questions will empower you, they will help you analyze your behavior and make modifications to become an excellent negotiator.

Main types of power in negotiations

Negotiation power is a relative ability to exert pressure over a counterpart. There are numerous fields where this concept is applied: diplomatic negotiations, collective bargaining, game theory, settlement of litigation, and more. There are specific types of power that can alter a negotiation’s outcome. We put an emphasis on the word “can” because you can always have power and choose not to use it. Now let’s see several of the most important types of power sources in business:

  • Status – formal position in a company or organization
  • Expertise or knowledge – knowledgeable people exert tremendous power; it’s not the knowledge itself that is powerful, but the way you use it to attain your goals
  • Ethics – ethical business people are trustworthy, which means they hold the power
  • Gender – sometimes negotiating with people of the opposite sex can make you powerful

The Office – Season 3 Episode 19 – The Negotiation

Using power sources in negotiation

Power sources are at the heart of any type of business negotiation. Even the easiest type of negotiation needs one or more persons to exert power. Entrepreneurs should know that winning a bargain can only be achieved if they’re focused. Expertise power, information power or referent power, are just three sources you can use to your advantage. Mold them after your style and be ready to win big time.

  • Expertise power – someone who possesses expertise in business is extremely valuable. You may possess administrative and technical expertise, or you can easily be a very good at strategizing. Whatever your skill is, use it wisely in negotiation.
  • Referent power – some who’s charismatic, captivating and likeable? Use your personality and your character to win a negotiation; let others see you, charm them with your individuality.
  • Information power – one of the strongest types of power sources in negotiations. As long as you know the ins and outs of an opponent’s business, you have excellent chances of guessing their intentions. Information gives you control; it helps you spot weaknesses and influence the perceptions of a business partner.

Can power sources affect negotiations? Can they be used to alter the outcome of a bargain and give you an advantage? Absolutely! Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a CEO or a manager, always know your power sources. You can have experience in a certain domain, be a really charismatic person or be familiar with a lot of things about your opponent. If you have a special feature that your counterpart doesn’t have, don’t hesitate to use it.

About the Author:

Steve Brown and!

  • Ryan McMunn

    Thanks Steve, I’d love to hear others comments on this guest blog, anything from those who have done business overseas???

  • Allie

    Great article! I find that expertise power is usually my strongest asset in negotiation.

  • Tom Nadler

    This is a great narrative of the process. question is how to make it more natural and seamless.

  • BRIC Language Systems

    THanks Tom, You’re obviously well versed in the art of negotiation.