Why fight when you can negotiate?

Have you ever noticed how such a simple dispute can erupt into Mount Vesuvius? As that saying goes, making a mountain out of a molehill and some mountains are created from volcanic eruptions, so why can something so apparently insignificant become such a momentous problem?

All too often what appears ‘insignificant’ to us can ultimately matter to another person(s) and the way we manage a situation can have positive or diverse effects. This is where negotiation has its strengths. But what is negotiation?

Negotiation is about coming to a mutually acceptable impasse that both parties find acceptable. We all know the saying Win:Win.

Some tasks are easy enough to trade off but others may not be so. In this case, follow this guide:


  • Know what you are aiming to achieve and what the parties’ objective will be.
  • How will the more ‘powerful’ party affect the negotiation?
  • Based on knowledge or historic events, what do you consider to be the expected outcome?
  • What do you consider to be a fair outcome and the reason behind this thought process.
  • Gains and losses. Consider what the gains and losses will likely be from both sides, not just your own gains.
  • What’s the trade-off?
  • There may not be one simple solution. Do the homework and explore all the available options.

Rules of engagement (Not quite Game of Thrones!)

  • It can get personal but separate the person from the problem. Stick to the facts.
  • 2 ears, 1 mouth – use in that order. Ask and listen.
  • Understand the other’s views and ask to gain further understanding. Your view is not the only one (sorry, it is a fact!)
  • Respect all involved (even if you don’t like them).
  • Explore options openly without bias. Your view may not necessarily be the only or correct one – I know, it’s hard to believe but there may be a better way that you may not have considered.

Negotiation is about creating a win:win situation, not win:lose or even lose:win (refer to Stephen Covey Habit #4 from ‘7 Habits of highly effective people’).

Consider whether the negotiations are based around Distributive (where things are to be apportioned) or Integrative (where the parties are trying to make more of something) bargaining. This can be a great influencer especially if the relationship is a brief interaction or a longer term development.


Distributive can often be a short term, immediate fix for example, buying a new car so negotiation will be based around gaining concessions. An amount of time will be required to ascertain what is each side’s target price, what ideally is the maximum and minimum price for each side so effective bargaining can be made.

Integrative bargaining is normally based around the longer term relationship building of respect and trust. It looks at collaboration to reach a point where all parties work together to have an outcome that is in both parties’ interest.

In essence, we return to the preparation and to succeed in any negotiation, this is by far the most critical element as it creates the strong platform for all to work to.

Coaching to Success understand conflict resolutions and help their clients to move forward when situations come to a head. We also help clients create plans when negotiation or change is necessary to insure a smoother transition so if you or your team are looking to negotiate, contact Neil on 07761 187238 or email neil@coachingtosuccess.co.uk, where you will be assured a warm, friendly welcome and the chance to negotiate ways we can work together (integrative).

Having read this, why not check out Neil too by watching our YouTube video HERE.