Do you have a good negotiation skills? Think Again.

What is Negotiation?

It is a combination of Art & Science, a process wherein the disputes or differences are settled avoiding any legal hassles or arguments.

A good manager needs to be an accomplished Negotiator while dealing with his team members, interdepartmental heads, or his senior leadership.

Negotiation works on the principles of fairness, seeking mutual benefit, and maintaining a relationship are the keys to a successful negotiation outcome.

My article will narrate my learnings from the book “never split the difference” by author Chris Voss and is inspired by the Netflix web series “The Money heist” as it has some of the best negotiation scenes between authorities and banks robbers who took hostages in a bank robbery.

Effective Negotiation techniques

1)Using open-ended calibrated questions

It is one of the most potent tools in any negotiation process.

The questions to which the other side can respond but do not have specific or fixed answers.

It buys you time to think and strategize and at the same time gives the opposing party an illusion that they are in control of the talks.

2) Negotiation’s technique can be effectively used in the corporate world wherein acquisition and mergers are the rules of the game.

3) Don’t aim for “Yes” as an answer. Negotiation starts with “No”.

One of the basic tenets of any negotiation is to separate the person & his emotions from the problem.

Don’t focus on what the other side is asking, instead focus on their interests (why they are asking for it).


Work mutually for a win-win solution.

Establish mutually agreed-upon standards for evaluating those possible solutions.

  • Emotions and emotional intelligence would have to be central to effective negotiation, and things to be overcome.
  • Negotiation starts with the premise that people want to be understood and accepted.
  • Listening skill is the cheapest and the most effective tool.
  • By listening, a negotiator displays empathy and a sincere desire to better understand what the other side is experiencing.
  • Ask calibrated questions that start with ‘how’ or ‘what’. for example- How would you like me to proceed, what is it that brought us into this situation, How can we solve this standoff, etc.

Read why 70% of family-run businesses close as they enter the second generation, click here.

Life is negotiation

The majority of the interactions we have at work or at home are negotiations that boil down to the expression of a simple, animalistic urge: “I Want”.

Negotiation in its simplest form is nothing but effective communication.

Always establish your identity by giving your first name and designation to showcase you are responsible for taking this negotiation process forward and establishing rapport with the opponent.

Negotiation – asking the right thing.

Negotiation does not mean demeaning anyone or bowing down to someone’s asks instead it is simply playing the emotional game.

In this world, you get what you ask for, you just have to ask it correctly.


Negotiation – Be a mirror

One of the best qualities of a negotiator is that he makes the opponent talk, talk, and talk more about what they want.

Listening to their emotions and the “why” is the most crucial.

Voice modulation

The most powerful tool in any communication is your voice.

When we radiate warmth, understanding, acceptance, the conversations just seem to flow.

Smile at someone and they smile back as a reflex action. Understanding this trick is the core to successful negotiations.

Listen to the late-night FM channel and see how the RJ talks over the radio, with his calming voice that soothes you and takes away all the tensions. Practice talking in a calming tone when you are dealing with any negotiation process.


Mirroring – a negotiation technique

It is also our natural instinct when we imitate others to calm them down and establish some kind of connection or trust.

Salesman uses this technique effectively while making their sales pitch.

Neutralize the negative and reinforce the positive

People’s emotions have two levels –“the presenting” behavior wherein you can see and hear.

Beneath, the “underlying” feeling is what motivates that behavior.

Imagine an old grandfather, who is cranky at the dinner table, but his underlying emotion is that he is fighting with the feeling of loneliness.

If you address the underlying feeling, you would have comforted the old man and won his trust.

The same rationale works in any kind of negotiation process.

 Practice Empathy

The beauty of empathy is that it doesn’t demand that you agree with the other person’s ideas but by acknowledging the other person’s situation, you immediately convey that you are listening.

And once your opponent knows that you are listening, they may tell you something which you can use.


How to make a person respond to your emails and not ignore you?

You have been following up with some client prospect of yours and there is no acknowledgment nor any response from their end.

The best trick is to provoke a ‘No’ with this one-sentence email.

“Have you given up on this project?”

This question demands the other party to define their position and explain it to you.

There is a high probability of getting your client to say ‘yes’ to your offer.


To learn about the concept of Trend-Jacking, click here.


Negotiation skill demands Practice, Practice, and Practice.

When the pressure is on, you don’t rise to the occasion, you fall to your highest level of preparation.

So be consistent in practicing this skill set.

Personally speaking, I love the below video wherein the analyze the negotiation process in the web series “Money Heist”.

Watch it and you will love it.

YouTube video


I sincerely hope these tips will make you a better negotiator and will help you to brush up on your negotiation skills.


References: Book ‘Never split the difference’ by Chris Voss, former FBI negotiator, and ‘Money Heist on Netflix.


About the author:

Ritesh Mohan is a passionate retail professional with over 22 years in the Retail sector, handling some of the biggest brands in the beauty, fashion, and fragrances retail & FMCG sector.

He has been instrumental in the growth of some of the regional brands as well in the Middle East region.

Ritesh specializes in Retail management, Product development, and Brand Management, Retail Operations, Sales Management, and Franchising & Business Management.

He strongly believes in empowering business owners with his wisdom & experience of around two decades in the industry.

Ritesh can also be followed on Instagram as @mohanritesh & on Youtube as @riteshmohan

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