Secret to successful negotiation – take your ego off the equation

This is a guest post by Steve Brown in which he provides some useful and simple strategies to succeed in any type of negotiation and achieve a win-win outcome.

Some people dislike negotiation because they think of it as an aggressive competition, where people bluff and bluster their way to a win. Though there are people who take this approach, that doesn’t mean that it’s the best way to reach a successful outcome. A different approach that is more low-key, but which can work extremely well, is to take your ego out of the negotiation. Here are some of the secrets for this style of negotiation.

by Kyle MacDonald https://creative

A big thing to watch out for is using “I” statements. This is when somebody makes statements during the negotiation like “I must have this”, or “I really need that.” Statements like that seem egotistic and make it all about you, which turns it into an “us against them” type of negotiation. If you make it about “we” instead, that puts you both on the same side, and makes it clear that you want an outcome which is best for everyone. Try using statements like “We must work together to find a solution,” and it can change the tone of the negotiation, and build a more constructive relationship.

If you are concerned about certain aspects of a proposal which is on the table, don’t be afraid to go ahead and state your concerns. You can say something like “My concern is that this provision could become a problem…” By bringing it out into the open like this, you allow the other party to come up with a solution to that issue. They want to move the negotiation forward, so let them propose a solution to the issue you identified. With a bit of luck, you may reach a mutual agreement. Win-win solutions are great because they bring benefits to your business and they help you build connections.

Keep your eye on the goal, which is reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. Don’t get so caught up in the details of each little item you discuss that you let it draw your attention away from the overall goal. Remember that this is not personal. It’s not you against them. Instead, keep going back to your “we” statements, and reiterating the overall goal. Keep the discussion focused on the results you all want, and how you can work through this negotiation together to get there.

Some people close themselves off with their body language. They send signals by crossing their arms or leaning back, which physically distance them from the other party. If you want people to feel like you’re working together, not against each other, then use body language that engages with them, instead of putting distance between you. Lean forward, put your elbows on the table, and make eye contact. This is extremely important. When you look opponents in the eye, it shows that you’re confident and decisive and not afraid to state your mind. Use your gestures to connect with business partners and convey poise and determination.

By Mars – Flickr (

Always act in a way that shows respect for the other party, and understanding towards the needs that they have. Reciprocation means that if you show respect, they will usually respond to you in the same way. Trying to one-up somebody on the other team can backfire. When you establish mutual respect and consideration, it makes it much easier to work together to achieve a win-win outcome.

It’s ok to be confident when entering negotiations; however, it’s not a very good idea to appear arrogant in front of your counterparts. Build a connection, let them talk as well, and don’t interrupt. Connect to their ideas even if you don’t agree with them. Express an objective point of view and negotiate to the best of your abilities. Let your personality shine, add a bit of humor if the atmosphere is relaxed and you’ll end up with the greatest bargain.
Not every entrepreneur or CEO is a good negotiator. The good thing is we’re talking about a skill that can be learned. Negotiation training seminars for example, can be of assistance. Allow experts to teach you the art of negotiation, let them help you hone your techniques, and eventually you will excel.

Steve Brown is a regular blogger who writes articles related to small business and negotiation. He is writer at many high ranking sites and loves playing with his dog in his free time.