Negotiation 101: Five Ways to Get the Most Out of a Tough Conversation

two people shake hands over a negotation

For most people, negotiations happen every day at work, and topics are often varied, covering a wide spectrum – not just at your annual review over salaries. But whether you’re the employer or the employee, negotiations can be difficult to navigate. Both parties seek a positive outcome without negatively impacting the relationship.

To set yourself up for a successful negotiation – one with an outcome that’s in your favor – brush up on your negotiating skills with these tips from Addison Group, a nationwide provider of staffing services.

Identify your wants and needs before walking into the meeting

What do you need to consider the meeting a success? Get an idea of the outcome you’d like from a meeting and then reverse engineer your approach. Enter negotiations in a non-emotional way. You can meet your objective and leave the negotiation feeling like both parties won even in difficult negotiations.

Do your research

Preparation for the negotiation is crucial. For example, if you’re focused on negotiating salary, find out the salary ranges of other people in similar roles in your area. Websites like is a good place to start. It’s also important to know the cost of living in the area, especially if you’re moving to a new location. This should be reflected in the salary. Consider requesting relocation assistance if necessary. In non-salary issues doing your homework is equally as important- know the facts and approach a meeting without emotion.


Ensure that the conversation is a dialogue. While one party certainly can lead the discussion, they should avoid dominating the conversation. It can put you at a disadvantage if the other party feels like their input is not being heard. Negotiation takes collaboration, so it’s important to allow everyone to speak their mind. A great tip in negotiating is letting the other party know you are listening to them by restating their thoughts. For example, “If I hear you correctly, you would be supportive of (a raise/working on this project/my working at home) if I could (take on more responsibility/show that I have mastered the software/have a dedicated office and be available from 9-5).” By restating the other party’s thoughts and concerns it shows you have listened and want an outcome that is mutually beneficial.

Stay positive

Unlike in an interview where the best practice is to reflect the posture, tone and other non-verbal cues your counterpart uses, in a negotiation, it’s best to maintain a positive attitude throughout the discussion. If the other party becomes defensive or aggressive, sustain a positive and calm demeanor.

Negotiation results

If negotiations go well, both parties feel successful and the business relationship is strengthened. However, in the case where you did not achieve your desired outcome you need to ask yourself: Did the other party understand your view? If so, was the other party reasonable but perhaps did not have control to make changes? If the outcome was less than desirable and the other party was the barrier to a win-win situation, you have to ask yourself how important is the issue and does the outcome warrant a next step and void of emotion make the best business decision.

Knowing how to negotiate your way to a successful outcome requires practice and preparation. But if done correctly, you might be surprised with the results! You’ll also be walking away with a valuable and powerful skill.

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