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Negotiate to Win – both parties need to get what they want

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Negotiation works to build bridges


My late father was a very good negotiator – one who always negotiated to win without letting it on!

I learned that when as a teenager, I demanded an increase in my pocket money quoting inflation. A new student to Economics in Class 9, I thought the clever use of jargon like cash flow, cash crunch and supporting the economy with spending power would get me my goal. I even spoke about the rising cost of living!

Father kept a poker face and after giving me a patient hearing, suggested I earn the extra income by reading the books in his library, give him viva reviews and get Indonesian Rupiah 100 for each successful book reading.

At 14, that was a super bargain. Music cassettes were costing Indonesian Rupiah 500 at the time and my calculations figured that 5 of the shortest books would get me pretty far. We agreed that I would be paid per book reading completion.

It is another story that I ended up reading Pearl S Buck, Agatha Christie, Jules Verne, Gibran and other great authors and got hooked pretty fast to reading books.

When I read Gone with the Wind, I didn’t bother to ask for money – I just wanted to know whether Scarlett would get Rhett back.

Father was gracious and bought me my first Panasonic cassette player. He said that book was the size of at least 10 books. I had gotten more than I had initially asked for since none of my friends had their own cassette player.

The reason I’m sharing this story is that in later years, I realized that I had actually been subjected to the art of negotiation and in this instance, there had been a Win-Win situation – an introduction to the classics and rewards for me and the delight of my book loving father that he had achieved passing down his passion for reading to his child.


How to prepare before beginning Negotiations

  • Research your area for negotiations and don’t start negotiating until you have a good business case or can present your proposal as one of value.
  • Get a good understanding of the other party and try to determine what would make them accept your proposal.
  • Be prepared to quantify the value and have examples of the benefits to the other party. Have a Plan A and Plan B ready if required.
  • Are you dealing with the right person? Does that person have the authority to negotiate and take decisions?
  • Make sure you adopt the right attitude, are confident and are ready to work towards a win-win situation.
  •  If it is clear that negotiations are not going anywhere, be sensible to withdraw and make a new strategy, unless you have that Plan B ready. 


When You are into the Negotiation Process


Tip for successful negotiations


When dealing with the other party, make sure you confirm your understanding of the other party’s needs and how they will benefit from your proposal.


In this regard, using open-ended questions to confirm your understanding helps to get more information. If you have prepared well, then you will be in a better position to answer any questions that they have. Engage in attentive and active listening.  Be prepared to pro-actively make changes to your proposal if it will help to complete negotiations and result in a win-win situation.

Be on the lookout for areas where both parties agree and build rapport.

That’s where you emotional intelligence comes into play and I go into the methods of applying this in my post Emotional Intelligence: you need to apply authentic kind of Empathy.

Also make sure that you or your subordinate keep notes of the discussions so that they can be referred back to when submitting a written proposal incorporating all agreed items.


Post Negotiation Wrap Up

If all goes well, negotiations will be concluded successfully. I suggest that a verbal summary be made followed up in writing either the same day or shortly thereafter depending upon the nature of negotiations. Remember to thank the client for their time.  Unfortunately, there will also be times when negotiations will break down or not be concluded to the satisfaction of all parties. 

Even then, it is always advisable to thank the other party and not let your emotions show. You might consider sending a follow up letter or email worded such that the door is left open for future opportunities to work together.

Last but not least, think of what worked and what did not and use the experience as a means of learning to do better next time round.


Your turn, any tips or tricks to help us negotiate a Win-Win outcome?

I’d love to read about it in the comments box below.  Please share this post forward, you never know who needs the information!


PS. I referred to Emotional Intelligence as a skill to enhance your negotiation effort. This resource with supplement tips will help you strengthen your EI by addressing the essential traits you need to demonstrate.


Karmic Ally Coaching 10 Emotional Intelligence Traits




Did you know that I also coach on the area of negotiation> Learn more about negotiating with Karmic Ally Coaching at Career Coaching



Written and updated on July 12 2018 by: Vatsala Shukla

Building Bridges by Frits Ahlefeldt

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27 Responses to “Negotiate to Win – both parties need to get what they want”

  1. Deb Nelson says:

    Beautiful post, Vatsala, and lovely tribute to your father. I love it when we learn an unexpected lesson as your father taught you the love of books. Thanks for sharing your lessons learned with us.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      I’m delighted you enjoyed the post and the lesson on negotiation, Deb. It is strange but when we are younger, we don’t really understand or value the subtle lessons our parents try to teach us until much later when in adult life, we make the connection between habit, passion and benefit.

  2. Sometimes we learn best from personal experience. Clearly that worked for you. I don’t believe we are ever consciously taught at a young age how to negotiate, so it is wonderful your Dad set this up for you and gave you a wonderful interest and skill. I turned to books to escape into worlds that seemed more interesting than mine and as a result realized there was more to living than what I was being exposed to. That was one of my great lessons.

    All your points about negotiation are right on and it a good skill for job seekers to acquire.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thanks Roslyn. I love both fiction and non-fiction books and often turn to non-fiction to get away from the hurly burly of the world to rejuvenate.

  3. What a great lesson you learned from your father, Vatsala, and of course a very broad and interesting education came along with the lesson. I imagine you have been a lifelong book lover since a young age too. While reading this piece, I couldn’t help but realize that all of life is really a negotiation and the best results are when both parties see the outcome as a win/win. As a child I might have been spoiled (as was my daughter) and kept pushing until I would get the result I wanted. My parents were very accommodating to my brother and I and maybe life lessons like you had would have gone a long way for my entry into the real world of negotiations. Having Libra rising and being an Aquarian, I strive for “fairness” at all costs and often am disappointed that what I deem fair, just isn’t going to happen. Negotiating for yourself and feeling good about the outcome are definitely skills we all could use much practice in as we maneuver our way through our lives. Enjoyed this post and hearing more about your father too!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      You are spot on about the lifelong book lover part, Beverley. When we were in New York, my father enrolled me into a book club which was worth $1 a year and offered discounts on books every month. That’s how my Dr Seuss collection was created at the age of 6 and I also had (and still have) my Children’s Encyclopedia. 🙂

      Habits created in childhood often stay for the better.

      My father was an Aquarian and I gather you both share the traits of that Zodiac sign in terms of fairness. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. More power to your negotiating skills!

  4. Tamuria says:

    It sounds like your father was one very clever man Vatsala, to have given you your love of reading with that negotiation. My oldest son is also a champion negotiator – he does it for a living and excels at it. Hubby and I often wonder where he gets it as we tend to (happily) give in to most requests without even trying. With three little Goddesses twisting us around their little fingers perhaps it’s time we tried.:)

    • Karmic Ally says:

      My father was wise enough to know that with a rebellious daughter, he had to ‘work the system’ and his best negotiations with me were to appeal to my logic. 🙂

      To get some leverage over your 3 awesome and cute Goddesses, the best thing to do is follow my tips on negotiation and shadow your son to pick up some more live tips. Best of luck!

  5. Lisa Swanson says:

    Great wrap up of negotiating! Very clearly defined steps I think you got it all covered

  6. I love it when a real-life situation teaches us something for life! This is what’s all about and sometimes experiencing things directly is the best teacher, more than reading from books (I don’t mean to say we don’t learn a whole lot from books too).

    Love your father’s take, he was a smart and shrewd guy and knew that simply saying “no” was not gonna cut it 🙂

    • Karmic Ally says:

      I’ve learned a lot from life, Delia, especially from my parents, friends, colleagues and wise mentors whom I met along the way. I must thank my corporate adversaries whom I battled, sometimes winning and sometimes losing but grateful that they showed me that moral fiber and standing up for one’s principles always creates respect, enough that when I lost my father, many of them contacted me to offer their condolences.

      Dad was a keen observer of human behavior and analysis as a career diplomat but like many father’s who actively support the mother in the battle to bring up children in today’s world, he certainly knew the “no” was not going to cut it. 🙂

  7. K. Lee Banks says:

    I often reflect on the “lessons of life” my Dad taught me. He passed away in 2002 and I still miss him every day. He was very non-confrontational, but he would still always stand up for what was right and he was a good role model.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      I can relate to your sentiment, Karen. Mine passed away in 2004 and there are times when I’m faced with a dilemma and wonder how he would have handled it and realize I was taught to think for myself. I’m sure our fathers in the After Life are having a chuckle at this conversation by the daughters. 🙂

  8. Robin Strohmaier says:

    Hi Vatsala,

    What a wonderful tribute to your father. I love learning the story behind the story. Your father sounds like a wonderful man and great example that impacted your entire life.

    This is excellent advice for negotiating to win. It is so nice to hear that your father’s influence inspired this. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Robin. Like many of us, our parents are known to the world for their vocational modalities or as being someone’s parent but their real contribution is in shaping the characters and lessons they teach us that hold us in good stead later on in life.

  9. Tamara MacDuff says:

    Hi Vatsala,
    These are great tips and some are things I use when I mentor small business owners. We even talk with small business owners who we mentor so they know how to enter negotiations and how to create win win situations with whomever they are negotiating with – a client, a partner or a bank, etc.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thanks Tamara. Knowing how to conduct successful win-win negotiations is an important skill for small business owners who don’t have the resources or bandwidths of bigger companies.

  10. Great tips on negotiation! When negotiating pay, I was always taught to start high in order to get paid what you think you deserve. This is a great area to offer coaching as Oftentimes most of us sell ourselves short and struggle to recognize our worth.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thanks Sharise. I can see the reason for being taught to start high to get paid the right amount but that always made me feel that I was becoming a commodity rather than a living person. My tactic was to know the number that I wanted and confirm the pay bandwidth for the position from other sources and tell the other side that I trusted them to pay me what they knew I was worth. The result was always a pay package that exceeded the amount I thought they would pay based on the adverts and initial talks. 🙂

  11. Great tips on negotiation! This is a great area to offer coaching as Oftentimes most of us sell ourselves short and struggle to recognize our worth.

  12. Suzie Cheel says:

    Brilliant tips on negotiating. Love this thank you fro your stories – beautiful xx

  13. Anita Kaiser says:

    I love this personal story at the beginning…..your father certainly taught some great skills since no words can convey the story better than the actual experience. Bringing something to the table that the other person hasn’t even thought of is a great tip.
    I haven’t done much negotiation in my life outside of parenting and that I think has certainly taught me to think of things differently.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thanks Anita. I believe parents who can get their children to do something are ace negotiators! I often find myself in the role of a negotiator when trying to get my pet Miss Coco to eat her medicines. Negotiation is an art and skill that is useful even outside the corporate world. 🙂

  14. Karmic Ally, your father was a wise man indeed, and you prove the case with your wisdom. Thanks for reminding us about the importance of negotiations and finding common ground.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thanks Kathleen. Actually both my parents have been great negotiators when it came to their children doing their bidding. 🙂 Finding a common ground helps us to avoid conflict too.

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