Everything is a Negotiation

From the time you wake till you head hits that pillow everything is a negotiation. You negotiate with yourself over oatmeal or a donut. Negotiate with your partner to take out the trash now or tonight. With your co-worker on if you can spare 10 minutes to look over their presentation and give feedback. With your boss if you have room to take on another assignment. Let alone all the big ones like salary increases, buying a new car, or if you’ll let your 16 year old drive the new car. 

Every social action is a negotiation, a compromise between ‘his’, ‘her’ or ‘their’ wish and yours.

Andy Warhol

We won’t get into all the high powered negotiation tactics and techniques that are out there. This is for every day negotiation. Negotiation in your professional world. It is where you take all the politeness, active listening, developing trust, building rapport and assertiveness to ramp things up a bit and improve your negotiating.

The great thing is that if you are looking to hone your negotiating skills, there are countless opportunities out there every day to grow your skills and tweak your strategies.

Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another thing.

Carrie Fisher

First is to recognize the negotiation. Open your eyes to the negotiation that is going on all around you. Recognize that you are in negotiations every time you sit down for a 1-1 with your manager. You will constantly find yourself on the wrong end of these mutually agreed upon decisions if you can’t recognize a negotiation for what it is.

Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

John F. Kennedy

Next, is to be willing to engage in the negotiation. That doesn’t mean you have to play anyone else’s game but you have to be willing to engage. When you accept a job, there is a negotiation whether you play or not. If you don’t then you will always be accepting only what someone else is willing to offer. You are also setting the tone for the relationship with your new employer. Respect yourself and ensure that you get what is most important to you.

This means, asking yourself the important questions. Make sure you know what you want. What is the best possible outcome?

When you start to work with someone, there’s a negotiation that takes place involving what’s going to happen when you have a difference of opinion. Most attempts at collaboration never survive the negotiation. Merely being agreeable is not enough.

Walter Becker

The basic framework of any discussion where an agreement is to be reached:

Think win-win

  • Respect – treat the other person with R-E-S-P-E-C-T
  • Work the problem not people – Separate the person from the problem
  • Point of View – Try to understand their point of view
  • Listen – listen first, talk second. 
  • Facts – stick to the facts
  • Resolve -explore options together


Seriously consider getting out of any negotiation formal or informal that is one sided, or where one party is only concerned with creating a win-lose scenario. The best partnerships are based on relationships where both parties have similar ethics and principles and have some degree of wanting to see you succeed.

At least, never work with anyone who wants to see you screwed over. If you are forced into this scenario, then you will need to use formal negotiation tactics and you will also be forced to employ other tactics in order to win in the win-lose scenario.

Supremely skilled negotiators can work with the win-lose scenario and still turn it into a win-win.

Use all of your interpersonal skills to improve your chances of success. Assertiveness will help you respect their wishes, desires, opinions and thoughts while also giving voice to your own in an appropriate and clear manner.

Never, ever, ever turn a discussion into a war. Everyone loses in a war.

James Marcus Ross

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