Negotiation Techniques

Do you remember the old saying, "He who speaks first loses"? Negotiating techniques in the past were primarily focused on the idea that there must be a winner and a loser. There are various negotiating techniques to be considered; win-win, playing hardball and gamesmanship. To know which of these techniques will work best for you, determine first what it is you want to accomplish. You may even want to consider hiring a professional mediator.

Playing Hardball

This negotiating technique insists upon there being a winner and a loser. It can be ruthless and demeaning. It does not foster goodwill or build permanent business relationships. This tactic is often used in real estate transactions. Keep in mind before using it that while you may never do business with them again, your reputation is still weighed in the balance.


Gamesmanship is a manipulative approach to negotiating. It can involve deceptive measures such as intimidation tactics, concealing facts about the transaction and using means that present unfair advantage over the other party. Like playing hardball, this technique does not encourage future business negotiations.


You may be wondering if it really is possible for both parties to win. The win-win negotiating technique allows for each side to find a mutually beneficial agreement to their situation. In this negotiation, each person considers the other party's points and weighs them carefully with her own while providing that the emotional needs of each party is met. Both sides should be careful to not be overly emotional but to be detached enough to be reasonable. Win-win fosters future business opportunities and promotes goodwill.

Hiring a Mediator

In situations where emotions are high and there is a lot at stake, hiring a mediator to negotiate can take the heat out of the situation and level the playing field. A mediator does not represent either party but works with them both to help bridge difficult points of contention.


In deciding which technique will serve you best, take the time to consider some of the following: Is this a valued customer? How will this affect your personal and business reputation? Is there a way for both parties to win? What compromises are you willing to make? In using a win-win technique, do you lose by compromising too much? Will this make or break future business opportunities? What will you do if you can't come to an agreement?


Success is built on more than just winning; it's also built on knowing when to compromise, when to push or even when to walk away. One should never approach the negotiating table without a fully formed plan of action. Understanding negotiating techniques, being properly trained and being fully prepared can make the difference in moving forward to build stronger business relationships.