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Negotiation -The Art of Working Out a Settlement

Updated on August 31, 2015

What is negotiation?

The art of negotiation takes skill, clear goals and sometimes being willing to compromise. Webster’s dictionary definition of negotiate is “to confer with another so as to arrive at the settlement of some matter.

Negotiating Not Productive


Negotiation Part of Everyday Life

Negotiations between couples or between two leaders of a nation are not always handled in a fruitful way. A good way to negotiate it to: “Find out what the needs of the other person are and try to meet them without losing sight of your own goals.” We negotiate many things in life from budgets at home, to purchasing a house or car or negotiating a salary. Farmers have to negotiate on the price for their crops and there are all types of jobs that require some compromise.

Unfortunately many people think negotiation as being the skill of persuading the other person to accept their point of view.

Some Types of Negotiators

In today’s world someone is thought of as a good negotiator if this person usually gets the best of the deal:

  • Many people use intimidation as a way to prevail.
  • Aggressive negotiators attack or fight.
  • Others try to appease or put forth a sense of cooperation to convert the other party.
  • Some attempt to distract, evade the topic and ultimately frustrate other party.
  • Then there are those that seek the truth and they might be a bit of an idealist.
  • People of different cultures often use different styles of negotiation as well.

When you are in a negotiation with someone you might look for these traits, as you will know what to expect from that person and you will ultimately have an advantage to counter their style of negotiation.

Possible Responses

As an example; negotiators who attack or fight seek to win as their goal means victory. They think of it as outmaneuvering or outsmarting the other person. They will make threats, insult, withhold information or skew the facts and really demand a one-sided game. They aren’t willing to negotiate at all, just do whatever it takes to win.

It becomes very apparent when you are dealing with this type of individual and you probably don’t want to get in a shouting match. Remaining calm or even leaving the area will infuriate this type but it may be your best move as he will know you are not falling for his tactics.

A person who puts forth a sense of cooperation is probably someone you can negotiate with and come to a resolution. Someone who continually distracts would have to be dealt with more firmly by saying something like, “When you are ready to discuss this problem so that we can reach a compromise, let me know.” If he doesn’t cooperate quickly, leave the room.

How to Negotiate Anything

At an Impass

Source psychrat
Source psychrat

Psychological Research in Negotiations

  • In an article recently published in the Annual Review of Psychology, HBS Professor Kathleen L. Valley, HBS Research Fellow Max H. Bazerman and their colleagues synthesized groundbreaking negotiation studies to date, and pinpointed five emerging areas of research which they consider critical for the future.

These five areas are:

  • Preconception Count: Almost anyone has an idea of how a negotiation will go before they begin
  • Ethical Behavior: Typically a person sees themselves as more ethical than the other party.
  • Face-to-Face, Phone or Email: Fact-to-face meeting tend be more productive as they foster rapport and there is less misunderstanding and deceit. Email doesn’t have the social aspect and is not the best way to negotiate. For instance, one study found that 24 people were in a decision making group on the internet and there were 102 instances of rudeness and impulsive behavior. The same study had 24 people face to face in a room and there were only 12 remarks that would be considered rude.
  • Crossing Cultures: Negotiations with people from different cultures can be very difficult. For example, when business leaders negotiate with the Chinese they need to understand that the Chinese consider this fun. The Chinese will generally expect a long, complicated negotiating process which means both sides have to work hard to learn what the other side really wants. Chinese do not come to the negotiating table with a clear list of objections. To them, this is the challenge. Americans try to take shortcuts to get results which ultimately give the Chinese the upper hand in doing business. It would seem the Chinese are very patient people.
  • Negotiation with More Than Two Players: When you have more people in the negotiating process it becomes more complicated. Often if they set down some ground rules things will run a little smoother.

How to Negotiate a Salary

Couple Making Up Courtesy

source Flickr
source Flickr

7 Simple Steps to Negotiating

Identify the problem with both people using “I” statements to state the problem.

Listen assertively. Each person states an opinion and the other person should restate the opinion as they heard it to avoid misunderstandings. It does not mean you agree with the opinion. As example would be, “When I go out into the garage to work on the car or do yard work I can’t find tools and items I need because of the laundry and other items scattered around”. The other person would say “So you are saying that you can’t find the tools you need to work on the car or do yard work because of laundry and other things lying around the garage.” Communication is paramount in negotiation.

Brainstorm: Each person throws out ideas. This is only an information gathering step, not one for judgments. Writing the ideas down can help. Some ideas might be, “Maybe we could clean the garage together on Saturday.” Or, “maybe I could find a place in the house for laundry and bring it in as soon as it’s dried.’ Maybe we should go to Home Depot Saturday morning and buy some shelves to help organize the garage.”

Pick a Solution: When you run out of ideas it is time to decide on a solution. “We will buy shelves Saturday and clean the garage.”

Make a Contract: This means you are clearly stating what you have agreed to and the contract should be specific and defined in behavioral terms.

In Conclusion

When two people are willing to follow the simple steps outlined above the art of negotiation is not too difficult. If you are purchasing a car or home know what you want and what you are willing to pay before the negotiations begin.

When negotiating with unreasonable people, it will take patience. It is important to find out the needs of the other person and then try to establish some common ground. It may be that you will both decide on an acceptable compromise Set boundaries as you do not have to accept rudeness or condescending behavior. Don't react, just repeat the boundary you have set in a calm way.

The art of good negotiation does require skill, clear goals and a willingness to compromise if necessary.

© 2011 Pamela Oglesby


Submit a Comment

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Support Med, That's so true that we do negotiate and in many areas of our lives. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • Support Med. profile image

    Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

    Thanks for sharing this info on negotiating. It is definitely important in all areas of our lives. v/r

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Prasetio, I agree that communication is the key. Thanks so much for your comment.

  • prasetio30 profile image

    prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

    We need negotiation in our life. It's looks complicated, but we have to facing this. Especially dealing with others, we have to place our self in good place. Communication is the most important things. I really enjoy reading this hub and I got a lot of knowledge here. Thanks Pamela for always give the best information for us. I believe we always learn from you. Vote up. Love and peace!


  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Hanna, I think good negotiating is a learned skill. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • HealthyHanna profile image

    HealthyHanna 6 years ago from Utah

    I want to be a good negotiator. I think it is a skill that is important in every day life, working with everyday things. Especially important in communicating with family. I liked the videos. Thanks again for a great hub.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Audry, That's true. I appreciate your comment.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

    Really good points, Pamela! Negotiation is a hard thing when you think about trying to please both parties but I guess that's why I'm not the person they call on to negotiate!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    JY, Thanks for your comment.

  • JY3502 profile image

    John Young 6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

    Very interesting topic Pam.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    PegCole, Thank you so much for your comments.

    Katie, Thanks for your comment.

    drbj, That certainly is a prime example. Thanks for your comments.

    Kindacrazy, Thanks for your comment.

  • Kindacrazy profile image

    Kindacrazy 6 years ago from Tennessee

    Pam, great job!

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

    These are very good strategies for negotiating successfully, Pamela. Too often the participants in negotiations have an 'all or nothing' mindset instead of working toward a collaborative compromise.

    The U.S. Congress comes to mind.

  • katiem2 profile image

    katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

    You sure said a mouth full, the art of negotiation is vital to all areas of life. Thanks for the tips. :)Katie

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

    I like your tip "with both parties using I statements". Once the needs of the parties are known it's easier to come to a mutually agreeable outcome. Great hub here Pamela99.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    HELLO, You are right about that. Thanks for your comment.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

    Pamela, you raised a very good topicbut negotiation can only be done and successfully if the other side is willing to listen.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Truckstop Sally, That's true. Thanks for your comment.

  • Truckstop Sally profile image

    Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

    Thanks for good solid advice. It does take two to tango!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Patriot, You are right about that. Thanks for your comment.

    WillStarr, Thank you so much.

    Mentalist acer, Manipulation certainly plays a role which isn't good. Thanks for your comment.

    Darlene, I love your new avatar. I appreciate your comments. Love and Peace Darsky

  • Darlene Sabella profile image

    Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

    Fantastic hub, I had to go through that once myself. The courts are so full this is what judges are asking people to do first then they can go to court. Great hub my friend, rate up miss you, love & peace darski

  • Mentalist acer profile image

    Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

    I've learned to have an ear for word manipulation,making a proposal to sound it's really in my best intrest is the usual starting point,in which I'm prepared with what is lacking in the deal.;)

  • WillStarr profile image

    WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona


  • profile image

    Partisan Patriot 6 years ago


    Rated up up and away; good hub. As far as negotiations go how can you negotiate with anyone that refuses to tell the truth? That’s the problem the Republican House is faced with when it comes to dealing with Obama; the ultimate Snake Oil Salesman!