10 Ways To Be A Master Negotiator

tug of war

Most of what passes for negotiation tools in today’s world is simply wrong. Whether it’s called power, leverage, win-win, BATNA (alternatives to agreement), walking out, demanding concessions, being rational or logical, the conventional wisdom of human interaction gets only about 25% of what is possible.

It often causes retaliation and hurts relationships. That is whether negotiating a business deal, with kids, diplomats, store clerks, or anything else in daily life. 

The research, training and consulting I’ve done with 30,000 people in 45 countries over two decades demonstrates that there is a better way. The resulting tools are often counterintuitive, based on psychology, and invisible to those who don’t know them. But they have produced big results for the early adopters, including hundreds of millions of dollars for Google, and 4-year-olds who willingly brush their teeth and go to bed. 

Here are 10 of the strategies from my new book, Getting More, on how to vastly improve the process and results in business and other interactions.

Here’s How To Get More >>

getting more

Stuart Diamond is the author of Getting More, published by Crown Business (Random House) and was an immediate bestseller in England.It amounts to a new model of human interaction.  As a Microsoft manager said, “this book will give the reader a massive advantage in any negotiation.”

This article has been constructed from Diamond’s book for Business Insider’s publishing.

1. It's about them

2. Address emotions first

3. Be incremental

In this risky world, big steps usually make people nervous. That's why health care and the Middle East either don't work or take too long. Big mergers without slow cultural assimilation is a prescription for disaster.

Try smaller, trial steps. Set more modest goals. Build on each one. Don't try to get everything, just get more. This happened with a recent climate conference, and it worked. Break the negotiation into much smaller steps, with a buy-in at each step.

The more differences between the parties, the more steps you need. But it's a much surer way, and ultimately faster than slogging through everything at once.

4. Always communicate and create a vision

5. Trade unequally valued items from ANY source

All of life is about quid pro quo. If you want something, you have to give something, whether in business or personal life. But it doesn't have to be money or even part of the deal.

It can be anything that another party values. It can be a business title, a corner office, college advice for kids, sports tickets, any intangible item including respect or just listening. TV time for homework. A lower price for business referrals.

The key is to give things you don't care as much about but which they value, and get things they don't care as much about but which you value. The more you find out about what they value, the more things you have to trade for what you want. This greatly expands the pie.

6. Embrace differences

7. Be Transparent and Constructive

8. Find and use their standards

9. Goals are paramount

10. Every situation is different

Blanket rules on how to deal with a given gender, religion, culture or group are simply wrong. Every individual has a unique set of perceptions and experiences. There is no one size fits all.

Assuming things about the other person because -- for example -- he or she is American, Islamic, an attorney, a women or the employee of a certain company is too imprecise. Norms are interesting but don't get you there. You should focus on each individual and how they view things at the moment of the negotiation. There are too many differences among people to be rigid in your thinking.

To persuade individuals, the questions to ask are (a) what are my goals? (b) who are they? (c) what will it take to persuade them, given the first two?

For more tips on better negotiating check out:

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