Merriam-Webster defines negotiation as a formal discussion between people who are trying to reach an agreement. So how do you negotiate an agreement that’s favorable to both parties involved? Going through the six stages of negotiation will help to create a positive outcome. They are preparation, discussion, clarification of goals, negotiating towards a win-win outcome, agreement and implementation of a course of action. Here’s how it’s done.


First, you need to prepare. You need to know what you’re looking to accomplish and what a successful outcome looks like. You also need to know who you’re negotiating with and what a successful outcome looks for them. Doing your homework on the parties involved, their personalities, their attitudes, the company, the industry and the issues being addressed is imperative. Dress appropriately for the situation. Determining the time and location is also important. Will it be on yours, theirs or neutral ground? Will it be on the phone or in person? Is there a defined timeframe? Pick a time, location and means of communication that works for both parties and will facilitate an agreement.


During the discussion stage, both sides will present their side as they see it. Each side should have an equal opportunity to present their case. Interpersonal skills are important such as questioning, listening and clarifying. This should be done in a polite and respectful manner. Negotiate with integrity. Don’t compromise your values. You should also be assertive without being rude. It’s helpful to keep the discussion positive. It’s also good to build rapport. Better relationships bring about better outcomes. Humor also helps. Taking good notes is helpful to record all points that might need further clarification.

Out of the discussion, goals, interests and viewpoints need to be clarified. It’s helpful to prioritize these. Through this process common ground can be identified and established. This will also help to minimize misunderstandings.


Once goals are clarified, a win-win outcome can be determined where both sides feel they’ve gained something of value and their views have been taken into consideration. This is the goal of negotiation. Make the first offer to frame the negotiations. Get a counteroffer before making another offer and negotiating against yourself. Alternative strategies and compromises should be considered to achieve greater benefit for both parties. Creative problem solving and flexible thinking is key in effective negotiations.


Once an understanding of both parties viewpoints and interests are considered, an agreement can be achieved. Keeping an open mind is important to achieve an acceptable solution. The agreement needs to be made perfectly clear to know what’s been decided. If an acceptable agreement to both parties cannot be reached, both parties need to be able to walk away on good terms.


From the agreement, a course of action needs to be implemented to carry through on the decision. This action should be taken immediately to insure that the decision is finalized in a written agreement signed by both parties. There’s no agreement until the deal is closed. Usually, this is when the check has cleared.


Now you know the process of the successful stages of negotiation. Good luck in all of your future negotiations. I look foward to hopefully negotiating with you in the future.







Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?