Win-win negotiation

Some people think of negotiation as confrontational. Good negotiation is nonconfrontational and achieves win-win results.

by Jo Ann Joy — 

Contrary to what some may believe, negotiation is not a process by which you try to destroy the other party. Rather, it is a process by which two parties attempt to reach a certain result.

Good negotiation occurs when all parties are truthful, and they connect and successfully interact with each other. Good negotiation cannot occur if either party is trying to boost their ego in the process. People can only really win while helping the other person get what they want.

We were born to negotiate, just as we were born to walk. You may not even realize you are negotiating when you talk with business associates, friends, children and anyone in your realm of communication. Some people think of negotiation as confrontational. Good negotiation is nonconfrontational and achieves win-win results.

Preparation is the key to being a good negotiator. If you are unprepared, you may not be able to explain the results you want or evaluate all the issues and alternatives, and, as a result, you may give up too soon.

To prepare for the negotiation follow these essential steps:

  1. Set clear expectations and goals.
  2. Identify any undisputed points.
  3. Anticipate any counter-offers you could make or receive.
  4. Know every detail and every issue, inside and out.
  5. Anticipate what the other party wants.
  6. Decide the most or least you are willing to give or receive.
  7. Be ready to explain why this is the most or least you will give or receive.

When the negotiation begins, state that it is your objective to reach a win-win resolution. Keep your goal in mind, and listen carefully to what is important to the other party. Take notes, if necessary. Remain calm, courteous, unemotional and relaxed. Isolate the points of disagreement, and try to find solutions for each of them.

Ask “what,” “how” and “why” questions to better understand the other person’s values and what is important to them. Continue to isolate the points of disagreement and find solutions for them. Acknowledge the points of agreement you have reached up to this time.

Repeat the process, moving each party closer to the other until you have full agreement. If you cannot reach a result that is mutually satisfactory, agree to disagree for the moment, give yourselves time to reconsider and schedule another meeting. It may take time and effort, but you can negotiate a win-win result.


Jo Ann Joy, Esq. and MBA, is the CEO and owner of Indigo Business Solutions, a “one-stop shop” for comprehensive legal and business counseling. 602-663-7007, or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 4, August/September 2007.

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