7 Habits of Highly Effective… Negotiators

7 Habits of Highly Effective… Negotiators

As Stephen R. Covey’s groundbreaking business book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People approaches its 30th birthday, I still find it to be more relevant than ever, particularly with regard to becoming a more effective negotiator. Rediscover this classic – or get to know it for the first time – when preparing for your next negotiation. Here, my take on the seven habits from a negotiator’s perspective: Be proactive. This habit acknowledges that we are all responsible for our own actions. You need

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Preparation in Negotiation

Preparation in Negotiation

“Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow,” or even “why put off to tomorrow what you can put off to the day after tomorrow,” go some oft-quoted and well-loved maxims about procrastination. I’ve pulled as many all-nighters as the next guy, but when it comes to negotiation, it’s preparation – not procrastination – that’s your friend. Preparation is key to effective negotiating and is the number one factor that will give you a competitive edge. Here, the

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Don’t Be Afraid to Have a Plan B in Negotiation

Don’t Be Afraid to Have a Plan B in Negotiation

There are many myths in negotiation.  Among them: effective negotiators are born, not made.  Experience is all you need to be a good negotiator.  The strong negotiator never exhibits empathy.  And perhaps the most stubborn myth?  That having a Plan B makes you weak and gives you an easy out, preventing you from ever achieving your Plan A. In their iconic bestseller Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In, Roger Fisher and William Ury coined the term “BATNA” – or

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Tea and Empathy: Don’t Confuse Empathy with Sympathy in Negotiation

Tea and Empathy: Don’t Confuse Empathy with Sympathy in Negotiation

The Chinese general and military strategist Sun Tzu famously wrote that the “supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”  Using empathy at the negotiation table is the modern-day embodiment of this strategy. A fundamental human need is to feel accepted, validated, and understood by others.  This reality means that negotiation strategy is really a lesson in psychology.  To get from Point A to Point B, the skilled negotiator must exploit psychological principles – and this means

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Negotiating Marine Corps Style

Negotiating Marine Corps Style

It’s always a source of pride and amazement for me how applicable the lessons I learned in the Marine Corps are to so many aspects of civilian life.   Indeed, many of the eleven Marine Corps leadership principles lend themselves perfectly to preparing for and engaging in a negotiation, another one of my favorite subjects.  Before combat, Marines diligently prepare and train. The same type of persistent preparation is needed for a successful negotiation.  Here are a few leadership principles from

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Negotiating Tips for the President

Negotiating Tips for the President

Donald Trump holds himself out as a master negotiator and “dealmaker,” frustrated by the gridlock of Washington politics. Boy, did he pass up a great opportunity to demonstrate these so-called skills with his insistence that Betsy DeVos become the next Secretary of Education.  The same can be said for Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer – another high-powered politician from whom you’d expect superb negotiating skills – who also missed a major opportunity to strike a win-win compromise. The uproar and

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Listen Up! Six Effective Listening Techniques to Improve Your Negotiation Success

Listen Up! Six Effective Listening Techniques to Improve Your Negotiation Success

I’m not known for keeping my thoughts to myself.  In fact, many of you pay me to advocate and negotiate on your behalf. But while I may not be the quiet type, I believe that those who know me would still describe me as an excellent listener – and those skills have served me well in my negotiations in business and in life. I firmly believe that all the preparation in the world won’t do you any good in a

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5 Negotiation Mistakes You May Not Know You’re Making

5 Negotiation Mistakes You May Not Know You’re Making

Don’t be your own worst enemy in a negotiation. There are plenty of things to be mindful of at the negotiating table – wondering if you’re sabotaging your own efforts shouldn’t be one of them.  If you recognize yourself in any of the following negotiation behaviors, try taking a step back to reassess your approach. Mistake #1: Underestimating your own strengths If you head into a negotiation doubting your position and your ability to convey it, it will become a

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Exclusive Negotiation Periods: Friend or Foe?

Exclusive Negotiation Periods: Friend or Foe?

During an exclusive negotiation period (also referred to as a “lockout term” or even a “no-talk period”), parties agree not to enter into negotiations with any third parties with respect to the subject at hand.  For example, companies exploring an acquisition commonly insist upon such agreements so they can do their due diligence and decide whether to move forward with the deal without having to worry about another suitor swooping in and poaching the target.  So are exclusivity periods a

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5 Negotiation Habits to Break

5 Negotiation Habits to Break

Habits are notoriously hard to break.  It’s human nature to settle into comfortable patterns of behavior and continue doing things as we’ve always done them.  Our approach to negotiation, whether in our personal and professional lives, is no different.  The hard bargainers come roaring into every negotiation trying to be bigger and brasher than everyone else, regardless of the issue or the stakes.  The avoiders routinely give away the store in their desire to get in and get out.  Most

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