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The art of successful negotiation


Seth Freeman is an enigmatic and engaging teacher and I was gripped from the moment the class started. No real course outline prior to the class was specified,  simply a rollercoaster of concepts on how to be a great negotiator – but what really tied it all together and provided the key learnings were the workshops exercises we did as the class progressed.. As with many things we learn many of the concepts are common sense and intuited in our professional environments but it really crystallises the subject matter when you hear it all in one place as a series of skillsets.

As a general rule negotiation is not something people enjoy doing as it requires practise, research and actively hard work while undergoing it. However with some conscious thinking and consideration of the person on the other side of the table and remaining flexible and open to creative solutions we can all become exceptional negotiators using some of the key fundamentals below.

Key Points of being a good negotiator are:

1. Putting yourself in the other persons shoes and trying to understand ahead of time why and what this person may desire as an outcome.Understanding who you are speaking too and being flexible within the context of all negotations is key.

2. Always have a good arsenal of tools and information most negotations are creative in nature and what works for one does not work for the next one.

3. Intraspace bargaining…or reframing the key characteristics behind each negotiation. i.e. look at all elements of a possible outcome and be flexaible dependant in which elements are more important to you.

4. Do your homework – know who you are negotiating with and as much about what they are negotiating with as you possibly can. Also research around the market that you are negotiating in.

5. Information sharing is a key part of any good negotiation and the more you share with each other the more flexible and likley it is you will come to an agreeable outcome. This is not to say you should divulge eveything from the outset but you need to share information step by step as it mitigates trust in each other.

6. Active listening  – Showing that you are hearing what the other person(s) are saying. Repeating back what the person is saying to you is a skill that is used in many professions however people generally used in negotation. This skill quickly builds rapport and trust. UA technique used by aircraft controllers among other things.

7. The aim is to achieve and outcome if things are becoming to polarised or fixed then get out of there, take a break and regroup, then approach things from a different angle.

By far the biggest takeaway for me however is that negotiation isn’t about trying to simply win against your opponent  –  and this actually needs to be carefully considered. Yes you may be able to negotitat a great outcome for yourself or your company but if the person on the other end of that conversation feels like they have lost or been swindled then it is unlikely the relationship will continue. It is about working out creative solutions where both parties walk away happy. This is the key to great negotiation.
For further information and some great technique’s visit Seth’s website:

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