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Three tips to becoming a powerful negotiator in everyday life

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Negotiations were something I wanted to dive into deeper as I felt I was deficient in this area. Evidence of this cumulated in me leaving a long-term relationship with absolutely nothing. Losing the money, houses and comfortable lifestyle and security I was used to was a hard pill to swallow. However, nothing compared to the heart-wrenching inability to provide for my five children and having to decide to leave them with their father, who kept all the security for himself. My life suddenly had very little purpose, and I would need to build myself from the ground up.

I made my first visit to Marrakesh about five years ago, and to me, it was a real challenge to assert myself in bargaining situations. I had so many uncomfortable interactions that I resorted to pretending I had some sort of impairment to avoid anyone approaching me! My travel companion at the time found this pretty funny as he relished the interaction of buying a leather poof.

As we escaped the intensely hot, uncomfortable atmosphere. He turned to me and said with a smile on his face, “don’t take it so seriously it’s just a game; they love it if you engage and even happier if you buy something” I realised who he was being and how he saw this skill had completely changed his method of communication.

Negotiation is part of every aspect of our lives, but we only think about it when we have to buy a house, come to the end of a relationship, or when we negotiate in a business context. My revelation of realising I do not understand the impact of negotiation communication set me on a path to learn as much as I could and even study to become a Transactional Analyst.

Are you ready to become a super negotiator? Here are my top 3 tips to become a super negotiator:

1. Nothing is more important than your own inner peace.

Starting from a place of acceptance, the thing you want, whether it’s an item, experience or a new house. When you understand the universal law, what is intended for you will always be yours.

Now, this may feel like a new age bypass but negotiating from a place of abundance rather than desperation sets an excellent foundation to build. Putting in the work beforehand to ensure you’re feeling confident about who you are being and knowing if this doesn’t work out, there is something much better coming to you.

2. Build Rapport and ask the right questions - seek to understand the other.

Listen like a therapist and use techniques like mirroring, paraphrasing and summarising. Tactical Empathy, as described by master negotiator Chris Voss allows you to find the win, win solution or realise who you are engaging with in an in-depth way to inform you of the next step.

How and what questions are your tools for information excavation? These questions move the other to a more active place useful if the negotiation starts to stagnate.

3. Silence and time - when you feel like things aren’t going your way

Use the powerful skill of silence to evoke momentum in your favour. Be ready to walk away and use your time; let the person know you’ll be back at a certain time. Honour your word and let the other know you have full integrity. One’s own perception of value will make negotiation something you will learn to enjoy.

Want to learn more? Here are my three favourite books that can help you raise your negotiation game:

1. Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

Chris Voss was an FBI negotiator, dealing with high-octane situations with bank robbers and terrorists. In his book, he breaks down negotiation techniques into understandable methods which can be applied to all life situations. An enjoyable read with some captivating examples of real-life situations.

2. Influence, the psychology of persuasion by Robert Cialdini

An oldie but one of the best books on negotiation to understand the drives and motivations behind our instincts. How others can gain power over you and what you can do to get that power back. An updated and expanded version is now available, which makes this relevant today as a super useful and easy read.

3. Getting More by Stuart Diamond

Stuart Diamond is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and entrepreneur who brings in this comprehensive approach incorporating and exploring different facets of the skill of negotiation. His focus on style and the value of relationships was appealing to a more holistic sensibility.

I wish you the greatest success in your future negotiations.

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