RETORIKA - Tatjana Zidar Gale s.p.

Negotiations I

(Become an principled negotiator)



Negotiations are surely among the most frequent activities in which we engage. People have different wishes, needs, demands and your job is to persuade the other side to do what you want. Are you good at it? No all people are. We often fail to hear or understand what the other side wants or considers important, it is very easy to misjudge their interests and expectations. The dialogue becomes a battle of wills (a contest to prove who is stronger), and the interlocutors turn into our opponents firmly defending their points of view. The result may well become even worse than before negotiations.

What you need is know-how, skills and strategies to help you find efficiently a solution that will satisfy both (or even all) sides involved.



  • Collecting essential information before negotiations (information about the subject and people involved)
  • Building a basis for negotiations: defining your basic points, knowing the other side’s position, and being familiar with circumstances that can affect the outcome
  • Analysing how both sides understand the subject of negotiations (perceptions, fears, concessions, second thoughts, opposition, interests, priorities, etc.)
  • Choosing location (place and time)


  • Presentation of negotiators followed by an informal introduction
  • Approving the agenda and verifying participants’ authorisations
  • Analysing current situation and desired outcomes (goal-oriented action rather than reaction; looking forward, not back)
  • Introductory strategies (introductory approach, asking questions, situation analysis, etc.)
  • The breakthrough strategy
  • (research: presenting interests and proposals; checking and weighing options: situation/conflict reversal, building a golden bridge; forming conclusion and agreeing on further activities – implementing conclusions)
  • Granting concessions: Yes or no?
  • Concluding negotiations (a win-win outcome)


  • Positional bargaining v. principled negotiations
  • Looking at the subject of negotiations from three perceptual positions:
  • your perception, the other side’s perception, and neutral or an objective third party’s perception (unbiased observer)
  • Basic communication tools for successful negotiations:
  • questioning, reflexion and paraphrasing, self-statement, facts and outside perception


  • Distinguish the problem from the person.
  • Do not assume that the other side is the problem.
  • Do not criticise the other side.
  • Do not be misled by subjective conclusions which might be wrong.
  • Focus on interests, not positions.
  • Identify common interests.
  • Consider and accept individual interests.
  • Find multiple solutions.
  • Prove your point on the basis of objective standards.

GOALS – Benefits for participants

  • You will learn to prepare for negotiations.
  • You will learn how to successfully start and steer negotiations toward the desired goal.
  • You will be able to understand interests of the other side and present your own interests (by analysing subjective criteria), and you will learn how design objective criteria.
  • You will learn to recognise when the time is right for a common solution.
  • You will be able to find a common solution, or settle for the best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) if the original solution proves impossible.
  • You will develop communication skills which will help you to achieve desired results while maintaining, or even improving, relations with the other side.  

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