The Fine Art of Negotiation



Negotiation is a pretty big topic. And there is plenty of material out there, including workshops and online courses, to help you go deep into how to negotiate effectively. As I’ve said before, we all want to succeed. So when it comes to negotiation, I wanted to focus on this one aspect:

How do I negotiate from a strong position without seeming overbearing or aggressive?  

It can be difficult to find that balance at first, but with practice, strong negotiation skills are a valuable tool to have in your professional toolbox.

This week, I’m sharing five articles to help you up your negotiation game, find the win-win, and come out looking strong.

1. Three tips on how to negotiate.

Derek Halpern is an expert marketer and entrepreneur who has found success with his online programs, vlogs and rich media content. The foundation for his material comes from his understanding of human psychology, which he weaves throughout his instructional material. This link to one of his YouTube vlog posts relates to three simple tips to negotiate better. It’s only five minutes but it’s very interesting. He talks about a study where three groups were instructed to negotiate the sale of a gas station. The study goes into the differences between using empathy and perspective as tools for negotiation. He then goes on to talk about two more negotiation scenarios, using real-life examples throughout.

2. Emotion and the art of negotiation.

This is a great article by Harvard Business Review that discusses what happens when emotion becomes volatile. Let me start out by saying that in completing a few certifications for the University of Chicago, I have been through similar negotiation scenarios outlined in this article. We’re given a situation and told to negotiate, and we’re given instructions that the other person does not know. The scenario outlined in this article, however, goes further in that it brings emotion into play, specifically anger. And as the article states, “Bringing anger to a negotiation is like throwing a bomb into the process.” The article further discusses how to deal with anxiety and how to manage your counterpart’s emotions.

3. Common salary negotiation mistakes.

There is plenty of advice out there when it comes to negotiating your salary, either for a promotion or a new position. This article from Inc. gives a great perspective about what it means to be a “hard” negotiator. Sometimes, we are focused so much on making sure we get what we feel we deserve, that we forget there’s someone else on the other side of the table. The article talks about how being a hard negotiator could backfire on your best intentions. Focus more on creating a strong relationship, and you’ll have created a pathway to negotiate better for the long-term.

4. How to speak up for yourself. 

This is a TED talk by Adam Galinsky. Adam is a social psychologist known for his research on leadership, power, negotiations, decision-making, diversity, and ethics. There is a specific moment in his talk where he echos what Derek Halpern has also emphasized, “When we take someone’s perspective, it allows us to be ambitious and assertive, but still be likable.” He also discusses what it means to be humble when seeking advice and to have strong allies on your side. His book, Friend & Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both is also an excellent read.

5. Negotiation strategies for reasonable people.

What have we learned so far? Understanding the other person’s perspective is an important negotiation tool. Managing anger and emotion will help you control the negotiation outcome. And positioning yourself as a hard negotiator could have negative consequences for the long-term. So how do we put these tools into practice? For this, I’m recommending some books that put these concepts into easy frameworks. This will allow you to develop your skills, practice in everyday situations, and prepare to engage in the big conversations with confidence. I prepared a list of great leadership books a few years ago, but the ones that stand out for negotiation include Bargaining for AdvantageInfluence by Robert Cialdini, and Getting to Yes. Two of the books come from the negotiation programs at Harvard and Wharton. There is some rich material here.


Christina Holloway is an executive coach and business coach. She helps executives and entrepreneurs grow their companies faster, create results-driven teams, and increase profitability. She has been featured in ForbesThe Huffington PostAddicted2Success and Fast Company. If you’re interested in working with Christina, take a look at her strategy sessions and contact her to get started.

Christina Holloway