“Negotiation Positioning Strategy How To Absolutely Increase A Negotiator’s Skills” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Good negotiation positioning is the difference between planning and being whimsical about your plans.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“Negotiation Positioning Strategy

How To Absolutely Increase A Negotiator’s Skills”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

You might have thought, why are they rehashing past occurrences. Then, the why became apparent when you recognized the other team had employed its negotiation positioning strategy. So, how did the team do it, and why?  

You may be familiar with the phrase, “a good offense is a strong defense.” The other negotiation team opened the way it did to place the other negotiators in a defensive posture. And in so doing, the opposition had to defend a perspective that would make them less likely to advance their negotiation points.  

The following will highlight the importance of having a negotiation positioning strategy and how to assail your opponent’s position. It will also address why and how to create and implement your plan while isolating it from attack.  

Importance of Positioning Strategy

In every negotiation, positioning determines the flow and probability of a successful outcome. That is the importance of having a positioning strategy, and the following are thoughts to ponder.

Why Create This Strategy

As stated, how you start a negotiation determines its flow. That begins with how the opposing negotiators view you and your position. And that happens before entering your discussions.

Thus, it would help to create a strategy that addresses potential pitfalls that might befall you to maximize how you are perceived. And, it would be beneficial to develop a negotiation position strategy that creates snares for your opposition. You can use that to impede their progress.


The information conveyed in your messaging plays a vital role in positioning yourself before a negotiation. It helps shape your persona and the perspective your counterpart has of you. Another critical aspect of a good negotiation positioning strategy is understanding your message’s impact on those you wish to sway in the negotiation.

Lead Negotiation Opponent

Question: Is it better to lead or be led in a negotiation? Answer: It depends.

During a negotiation, sometimes it will behoove you to let the other negotiator lead the talks – you will gather greater insight about what he wants and the plans he has to obtain them. And one way to test how he might lead is to create a positioning strategy that indicates when to relinquish control. Control is a matter of perception. And if it serves you to allow your opponent to think he has control, grant him his beliefs.


Have you seen negotiators escalate a situation and wondered why no one did anything to prevent it? Before a negotiation, you can use your negotiation position strategy to create and deflate escalations.

You can do that by suggesting what will be acceptable and then breaking your suggestions. Doing that during a negotiation would cause situations to escalate. Then, after churning those waters, allow the pressure to seep from the talks – de-escalation. In so doing, you will be controlling the negotiation’s mood, flow, and pace. And that is how you would reap the benefits from a negotiation positioning strategy.

Negotiation Positioning Strategy Creation Process

You are preparing for a negotiation. So, what are some of the other components to consider? The following are suggestions to generate thoughts about creating a negotiation positioning strategy. They are not in any particular order of importance. Ask yourself:

    1. What are some of your concerns?
    2. How might you address those concerns?
    3. Who might you seek to influence amongst those at the negotiation table?
    4. And what consideration should you allow for those not there but who have a stake in the outcome?
    5. When will you alter your demeanor during the negotiation, and why?
    6. How might you use your negotiation positioning strategy to modify your persona?
    7. If you are negotiating against a team of negotiators, who do you need to influence the most?
    8. How might other team members respond per how you position yourself? Consider the opposing negotiators and those on your team when pondering this question.
    9. What might be missing that you should include in your plan?
    10. How might your plan be used to enhance and advance your negotiation efforts?

Those are but a few questions to ponder when creating your negotiation positioning strategy. Remember, you construct it to place yourself in the best position from which to negotiate. So, give it and the creation process great thought.


Lucy always says she’ll hold the football for Charlie Brown to kick it through the uprights. And then, as Charlie Brown approaches the ball to kick it, she moves the ball. So, what does that have to do with a negotiation positioning strategy – everything!

A good negotiation positioning strategy will help increase your negotiation position and enhance your persona to align your efforts with the negotiation outcome you seek. You will be less prone to unexpected occurrences. And that is the importance of it.

Thus, to use a negotiation positioning strategy more effectively, make sure it places you in a good position, one where you are less likely to defend yourself. To multiply the effect, have it situate your negotiation counterpart in a defensive state – one where they have to support their position continuously. That will keep them on the defense.

If you achieve that goal, your negotiation opponent will have less chance to assail your position. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating! 

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