“What Are The Top Five Things To Know When Negotiating” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“To lack knowledge when negotiating is to forgo potential opportunities.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (click to Tweet)

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“What Are The Top Five Things To Know When Negotiating”

People do not realize they are always negotiating.

I wish I had a crystal ball. Why was the question her friend asked? Because then I would know the top five things to know when negotiating. I feel a little out of my depth with my upcoming negotiation. And it is vital for the advancement of my career.

That was a synopsis of a conversation between two associates. And one of them was struggling over what to do while considering an upcoming negotiation. So, what do you think?

There are five generic considerations to be aware of when negotiating. They are not in order of importance. Keep them in mind because they are essential to your negotiation efforts.

1. Know with whom you are negotiating.

Meaning, understand why the other negotiator is negotiating with you versus someone else. Know what they seek from the negotiation and what they may do if the two of you cannot agree on a deal. You should also plan for what you will do if you cannot reach an amicable outcome.

Having that degree of insight and understanding about your perspective and that of your counterpart will allow you to become more flexible during the negotiation. It should also serve to reduce tensions that might otherwise flare up inside you. An inner emotional flare-up would be detrimental to your negotiation efforts.

2. What style of negotiator will be your opposite?

Will the other negotiator use a go-along-to-get-along style of negotiating? Or, will they take a more aggressive position – win/lose? The latter perspective concludes that the only way for them to triumph is for you to lose.

To be successful when negotiating, you must be adaptive to the style of negotiator that opposes you. That means you may have to become more forceful or more docile based on the other negotiator’s style. And, you will have to balance the point of being too strong or mild depending on the type of negotiator with whom you are negotiating. Your success or failure will hang in the balance.

3. What body language gestures might you expect your negotiation opposite to project during the negotiation?

The gestures conveyed via a negotiator’s body language can reveal hidden emotional feelings they possess about an action they engage in. And that insight can give you better insight into their thoughts than the words.

When assessing a negotiator’s body language, observe how they align their movements with their words. For example, if a negotiator stated that he was open to accepting an offer while turning his hands downward, that gesture may indicate that he’s not as open as his words profess him to be. The same may be true if he leans backward after making that statement. In that case, his body language is saying – I want to put distance between myself and my words.

While one gesture does not definitively define one’s thoughts, a cluster of actions gives more meaning to what you see. Suffice it to say, be alert for hidden body language signals. There is invaluable information in them.  

4. Who might influence the negotiation that’s not at the table?

Always consider the question of who might not be at the negotiation table. And think about how much influence that entity may have on the person’s actions with whom you are negotiating? Third parties have derailed negotiations.

When you are negotiating, ask your counterpart who she needs to include in the talks. If she says no one, address the question from another point. You might say, so, you have the authority to sign off on the deal, correct? Then, observe how she responds per the body language she emits. If she doesn’t appear convincing, probe deeper.

It would help if you geared your efforts to uncovering any hidden forces that are not at the negotiating table. Be mindful that you are also attempting to discern how that may influence your counterpart’s actions.  

5. When you reach an agreed-upon outcome for the negotiation, what might you do to assure that your counterpart abides by it?

The end of a negotiation can be a time for celebration. But it would be best if you did not become too gleeful. The reason being, the end of talks is the most suitable time for a savvy negotiator to attempt to get a little more from the deal. He might say, you know, if you could do x, y, z, that would help me sell this deal to my boss. To avert this, lock up every aspect of the agreement as each section is covered.


6. Ask yourself when you might display reflection.

At times, negotiators do not know how to respond to a question. In some situations, they may spout thoughts that rush past their mind for fear of being slow to respond. The view they possess in that case is, I must react quickly, less I appear inept, or worse, I send the message that I am uninformed.

In reality, and in some situations, a good negotiator knows she can project the appearance of authority by not offering knee-jerk responses. Plus, by taking the time to reflect on a query, you can reduce the risk of treading into negotiation situations that might be fraught with perils. In addition, when the opposing negotiator is time-constrained, your reflectiveness on an offer can expose him to heightened levels of stress. That can lead to insights about hidden thoughts and plans he has about how he will proceed.


When you negotiate, there are points to consider about what will occur when you are negotiating. To address those points more clearly, use the questions and suggestions that I have presented. They will serve as the gateway to you negotiating better. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://c-suitenetwork.com/radio/shows/greg-williams-the-master-negotiator-and-body-language-expert-podcast/

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Negotiation Insight,” click here https://themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/blog

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