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Negotiation Skills

Negotiating Skills: Room to Move

Any negotiation requires some movement to take place on the part of both parties. However, you can only ‘move’ if you have the room to do so.

Of course, you cannot always predict how much room or space you may need or have available. In such circumstances, your opening ‘pitch’ or position merely needs to provide the opportunity to achieve more than the MINIMUM or MUST HAVE position. In simple terms, this means that it is not wise to open a negotiation at your minimum price and stubbornly refuse to move. This eliminates the opportunity to negotiate a better deal and offer no ‘movement’ to the other party who is subsequently therefore likely to walk away in frustration. It should be noted, however, that too much room can have an equally frustrating effect, especially if the other party sees the opening position to be wild or entirely unrealistic.

Every negotiation reflects the relative ‘power relationship’ of one party over the other (real or perceived). Whilst this is a large and complex topic that we cannot begin to give full justice to here, every negotiating party that wants to be successful needs to be aware of the relative power or influence of the other negotiating party. As an example, this is never more evident than in times of war (and just afterwards) where the power discrepancies are obvious and tend to lead to major win/lose negotiations (which may take decades to sort out and cause huge levels of resentment a long time after a deal has been struck).

Finally, before you enter the negotiation ‘for real’, if the negotiation is sufficiently important or complex, it may be beneficial to practice or even rehearse the points you want to make or the tactics you would like to use. This may include using a tape recorder (or these days pretty much any smart phone device), to ‘hone’ your speech after you play it back, talking to yourself in front of a mirror or asking someone to listen to you practice – the choice is yours. Whatever practice method you choose, it is amazing how much difference such a simple step can make to that all-important negotiator’s tools: Good preparation and confidence.

The featured video clip is drawn from the ReadyToManage, Rapid Skill Builder Negotiating Skills Video Vignette Set.

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About Dr. Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. He has an MBA and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Jon can be reached at

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About the Editor and Primary Author

Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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