The art of professional negotiation. - Upnify
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 How to negotiate effectively

Negotiate like a pro

Upnify Editorial  Team Por Upnify Editorial Team

Sales | 17 de julio, 2023

We all negotiate in certain situations. Here are 3 keys to effective negotiation.

Separating people from the problem

In the methodology developed by Harvard University to conduct constructive and successful negotiations, the first point is to separate (differentiate, not confuse) the people from the problem.

Try not to confuse one with the other. You will know how to negotiate any issue, no matter how hot it may be. This is without harming or damaging the quality of your relationship with people. Before starting the negotiation, take control of your nerves and emotions and remember that the relationship at stake is significant.

So, let's not offend, let's be respectful and if we are both aware of that, we can solve really serious problems without damaging the relationship.


Differentiate between Interests VS Positions

If the negotiation focuses on positions, i.e.: I am the boss, I am the father, I always want to be right, it is not a negotiation, but an imposition.

Before we can know how to negotiate, we must first take stock of our common interests. 

The things that both parties seek in this negotiation, the things that unite us, the common ground we have. And finally, we must also identify the diverging interests, sometimes complementary and sometimes not, that will be resolved in this negotiation.



Even in the most difficult of negotiations, common interests bring a sense of perspective to the resolution reached. For both sides, this facilitates realizing that what unites us outweighs what divides us, or sometimes even outweighs it.


Create mutually beneficial options

We have to invent, create, be idealistic, and look for ways to create mutually beneficial options. If we enter into a negotiation with only win-win options, we fall into the traditional win/lose negotiation style: I win 10 and the other wins 0. I walk away happy, lose the relationship, and never do business with the other person again.

This is not what professional negotiation is about. It should be mutually beneficial; both parties should feel that - looking at the long-term perspective - there is a mutual benefit.

So how can we create mutually beneficial options? For example, brainstorming, using Edward de Bono's methodology called "the six hats of constructive thinking". Using expert opinions from outsiders who also look for the benefit of both negotiating parties.


Relying on external objective criteria

When we are negotiating or trying to reach agreements or resolve conflicts, a very helpful recommendation - which also stems from Harvard University's negotiation methodology - is:

Use objective criteria, i.e., don't just rely on liking something. If you prepare the negotiation with external criteria, such as market data, what the laws say about it, surveys, indicators, and jurisprudence, this context allows you to take subjectivity out of the negotiation and give firmness to your arguments.

So, in this context, we do not have to succumb to pressure. If we have objective elements, the pressure will be less and negotiation principles will be applied greater.


In short, if all I want to do is run over the other person in the negotiation, there will be no future in the relationship and no future in the business. 5+5 equals 10, 5 for him, 5 for me, and the negotiation scores a 10 out of 10.


4 keys to body language in negotiations


Symmetry or mirroring each other's movements is one of the most effective ways to create rapport. For example, if you are sitting talking to another person and your interlocutor is facing directly towards you, but your chair is turned 45 degrees away from them, symmetry is not fulfilled. The same applies to the angle of your head when listening to them. If you turn your chair and assume an open, slightly forward-leaning posture, you will show attention and interest in what is being said.



Some executives use height to demonstrate dominance and power (they usually use a higher chair than their visitors), but this is incorrect during a balancing conversation, where you would want to be on the same level as your interlocutor to demonstrate empathy.

If someone has an unhealthy habit of coming into your office and sitting down to talk (perhaps when you need to concentrate), the most effective way to end the conversation is to stand up yourself (or put your feet up on the table).



Depending on whether you have slouching or slumped shoulders, or whether you stand straight with relaxed shoulders, you can change from stressed/crowded to relaxed/confident in a split second. What image do you want to project?


4. Open versus closed attitudes

When you want to show that you are listening to another person, keep your arms uncrossed; locking them across your chest will tell the other person that you have thoughts and opinions and are not interested in considering theirs, or even paying attention to them.

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