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Mastering the Art of Negotiation

Have you ever noticed that most everything we do in life either has or requires some sort of an ask around it? It seems as though in most conversations, we have to make a compelling case to work diligently to just get what we want, or ultimately are wanting to achieve. Rarely is anything in this regard easy and simply happens with the snap of a finger, a nod of our head or just a smile. And sometimes, just getting the little tasks done the way we want them requires a lot more energy than should be necessary.

I have found this to be very true in both my business and personal life! Making the case to talk my way through to the end goal I’m trying to achieve – with either a business partner or my husband and kids - can be nothing short of exhausting. The thought process I always put into any conversation of ultimate persuasion requires a great deal of energy too. And, to make it even more daunting, when you are a worse-case scenario, control-freak planner like I am, the energy used for that preparation could effectively light a major city for a few hours!

Wouldn’t life be easier if we could get what we wanted exactly when we wanted it? That would be amazing if only it were that easy. Whether we like it or not, all of this comes down to our own ability to NEGOTIATE. Generally speaking, mastering this much needed yet under-advertised skill can come in handy in more ways than you might think.

While there are many things I still need to sharpen my ax to master, negotiation is one where I can actually point to many successes I’ve experienced as a result of a focus on a few areas that have helped me dramatically over the years, both personally and professionally. However, I always set out in any discussion to work towards a good result for everyone involved, without any manipulation or dishonesty. Getting what you want while damaging your credibility or reputation is a bad result no matter the end circumstances.

Successful negotiations always begin with a conversation to establish the groundwork for the ‘ask’, and the method you use is so important to having the outcome you want.

Since both sides of the negotiation want ultimately to win, here are 5 steps I’ve consistently followed that are well tested to improve your chances of achieving what you want:

  1. Establish a Genuine Relationship: Getting to know the person you are negotiating with is a critical part of the process. This helps you to determine the best way forward by understanding more about them and what makes them tick. This is an essential part of the process! Be open and honest and ensure all that you say is from a position of integrity and sincerity. You are best positioned for success when the other party respects and trust you, and all of that begins with the relationship.

  2. Be Respectful and Polite: Never underestimate the natural ability of other people to sense who you really are. Those who attempt to be someone they aren’t will easily be uncovered, and the other person in the discussion will pick up on that quickly. Dishonesty is the largest red flag of the entire process and will keep you from accomplishing what you are trying to achieve.

  3. Find the ‘Win’ for Both: Everyone likes to win! So when you are considering what you are trying to accomplish for yourself, how can you also find a ‘win’ for them? Understanding what both parties need, and finding a way to work for all concerned, is vital to a successful outcome. And, it makes the process easier as a result! At the end of the process, the best outcome is to find everyone on the same side of the fence.

  4. Be Prepared: Knowing well in advance what you want to accomplish, and thinking/practicing the process and flow of how that will and should happen, is critical to the success of the discussion. The more you anticipate what the difficult questions will be, the better you will be equipped to handle them. Practicing your presentation in advance will also reduce the stress and anxiety that generally comes with discussions like this. Don’t ‘wing it’ or you run the risk of losing to someone who didn’t.

  5. Know When to Stop Talking: In any conversation, no one likes it when no one is talking! It becomes very uncomfortable. Silence in the conversation - injected at just the right time – can be the most effective tool to use in the entire process! Give the other party time to consider all that you have said, stop talking and wait for their response.

By implementing these five points, you will be well on your way to improving your ability to get what you want and accomplish your objectives. Negotiation is all about building and nurturing relationships. By cultivating and maintaining a good rapport with everyone at the table, every player can win. You’re not just creating an agreement, you are cultivating a long-term relationship as well as protecting your hard-earned reputation!

By mastering the subtle art of negotiation, you establish yourself as a top-rank business person, and that in itself may lead to even greater opportunities in the future.

Good luck!! Please connect with me anytime if I can help you!

Lorri Kelley Advisors is a consulting firm dedicated to helping companies continue to be better at what they do. Lorri is passionate about working closely with her clients to ignite strategies for growth and business excellence through collaboration, team building and leadership development for those inspired to become exceptional. Connect directly with Lorri at

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