The Art of Negotiation

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Negotiation is basically discussions to agree on a deal.  Someone makes an offer or submits a proposal and the other side either accepts the offer or enters into negotiation by submitting a counteroffer or having a discussion regarding the proposed offer or both.  There are certain key factors that need to be put into place in order to have Win Win Negotiations.  Consider these factors before you enter into any discussions or negotiations of any kind.

  1. Everything is Negotiable – What people see as facts or rules are simply principles and guidelines.  Getting in the mindset that everything is negotiable opens up so much for you and allows you to see that most things you thought were absolute are actually flexible.  Shift to this mindset and your possibilities will expand.
  2. Build Relationship First – Building relationships is so important in a negotiation setting.  People do business with people they know, like and trust.  Connecting with people and getting to know them is a better way to start and solidify a successful negotiation situation.
  3. Get it in Writing – This can’t be stressed enough.  You should start all discussions with each party signing a Non Disclosure Agreement to protect the discussions and the intellectual property.  All discussions should be documented in minutes and signed by all parties.  Written agreements should be put in place before any work begins.  Even if it’s a simple email, it’s better to have something in writing then attempting to figure out what the terms were without a written agreement.  Oral agreements leave a lot to interpretation are harder to enforce. Written agreements reduce the ambiguity and solidify terms.
  4. Fair and Reasonable – A Fair and Reasonable price can be defined as the price a prudent businessperson would pay for an item or service under competitive market conditions, given a reasonable knowledge of the marketplace.  Fair implies a proper balance of conflicting interests.  Reasonable means not extreme or excessive.  So a fair and reasonable price is on that is balanced and somewhat moderate.  Ensure your offer fits within the realm of fair and reasonable in order to promote a successful negotiation.
  5. Use your Leverage/Influence – We all have our own experiences and knowledge to draw from or we know people with the experience to help us with areas we are not savvy in. What experiences will you draw on to bolster your position in a negotiation? Your outcome in a negotiation will be different than someone else’s because you have different experience to draw from. Neither result is wrong, the outcome is simply different based on experience. Recognize the influence you already have and bring it to the table when it’s time to negotiate.

These factors will build a firm foundation for your negotiation position both in business and in day-to-day life.  When you think back over your life experience, you will realize you already have many negotiation skills. Use these tips to hone those skills you already have and you are well on your way to being a stronger more successful negotiator

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

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