“Use Good Stories How To With More Emotion To Win Negotiations” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Good stories evoke emotions. And controlling emotions helps win negotiations.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“Use Good Stories – How To With More

Emotion To Win Negotiations”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Whenever negotiators negotiate, they want to win the negotiation. And one way to accomplish a winning negotiation is with stories. But not just any story – one needs good stories.

As you tell your stories, you must use them strategically during negotiations. Plus, they have to be viable; they need to tug on your counterpart’s emotions.

The following insights will allow you to improve your negotiation efforts by using stories. It will also enhance your capabilities to improve your storytelling abilities. 

Importance Of Stories In Negotiations

Stories can infuse the imagination with wonderment. And in so doing, it can paint an outcome that suggests the conclusion sought is achievable. Thus, a negotiator does not have to use words to do so. Instead, he can imply the result through the story.

Plus, a good story can alter the emotional state of those involved in the negotiation. But, a good story told at the wrong time in your negotiation can hurt the talks. That is why you need to know the characteristics of a good story and when to use it during negotiations.

Good Stories Can Reposition Your Negotiation Position

You can use stories to justify why you are modifying your position. You can also use story accounts to emotionally touch the other negotiator in an attempt to have him alter his position too. By using good stories in that manner, stories that align emotionally with your counterpart, you enhance the viability of your reason to modify your negotiation position and the flow of the discussions.  

What Makes A Story Good

A good story appeals to one’s emotions by evoking reflections of past or future occurrences. Thus, good stories can produce happy or dreadful thoughts for negotiation purposes. Therefore, what a story does depends on your intended purpose of it.

Characteristics Of A Good Story

To make a story good, you should have an explicit purpose for using it, present it at a time to deliver maximum impact, and convey a specific meaning.


You are in the midst of a heated negotiation. Then, you say, Mary had a little lamb. And as she walked with the lamb, she felt all was well. Wait! What – is most likely what you are thinking. The other negotiator would think the same thing.

When the question about Mary and the lamb’s relevance arises, you can say, unlike Mary, I feel this negotiation is going nowhere. That gives purpose to the story.

When you tell a story, it needs to be pertinent to the discussion – if it is not, it can distract from the negotiation. But even if that is your intent, the story serves its purpose – to be a distraction. If it is not, the story has no value.

So, there will be times when it will behoove you to tie a story to your negotiation discussion and highlight its meaning and purpose. It may also be beneficial to allow the other negotiator to decipher the story’s meaning. Either way, to win negotiations, have a specific purpose for the stories you tell.


Timing is everything in a negotiation. Accordingly, you must time the delivery of your stories to maximize their effectiveness. To do that:

1. Consider how a story will have its most significant impact on your proceedings.

2. Understand your story’s purpose per what you are attempting to achieve.

3. Consider how your story will enhance or detract from your position and that of the opposing negotiator.

4. Assess what might occur, per how the negotiation may shift after you have told the story.

5. Determine how you will control the negotiation narrative after telling your story.

In every situation, you must consider the timing of your stories per their impact and the altering makeup they will have on your negotiation efforts. And all of that should be considered as you plan for the negotiation in which you will become involved.


A good story used in negotiations must be compelling to the other negotiator. He should see himself or his purpose for the negotiation within it. Good stories should also evoke emotions in him – good or bad. Thus, you must have a meaning to your accounts that tie directly to the actions you wish him to adopt.

Never neglect the opportunity to convey the meaning of your stories if the opposing negotiator does not comprehend their intent. Because if your opposition does not understand the story’s purpose, the emotions you seek to evoke will not occur. Thus, the meaning of the story will become meaningless.

When And How To Use Stories In Negotiations

1. You can use a good story to shift the mindset about a particular perspective.

2. As stated about using a good story, do so when timing allows you to maximize its usage.

3. Use stories to change the pace of the negotiation.

4. Stories can set up the next stage of negotiations.

5. You can also use stories to address impasses in a negotiation.  


Okay. Now you know the value of stories in negotiations. So, when it comes to good stories, be mindful of their effect on one’s emotions and how they affect negotiations. Be aware of the stories you tell yourself, too.  Because good stories impact a negotiator’s mind, and thus they help shape the actions a negotiator will engage.

Yes. To win negotiations, you must have good stories, stories that pull at the emotion of your counterpart. Accordingly, once you begin using good stories skillfully in your talks, your wins will increase. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating! 

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