The Concept of Strategic Negotiation

In our fast-paced world where “everything is a negotiation”, the old paradigm of “he who shouts the loudest” will most certainly lead to abject failure and disappointment.

Strategic negotiation is the art of thinking holistically about a negotiation. It is a skill that can be acquired and requires you to move beyond mere “haggling” or “horse-trading”, which is, unfortunately, a very common phenomenon, to a more mature way of thinking holistically about the negotiation process.

Historically, in an isolated world, he who shouted the loudest, or was the most aggressive and intimidating, often won the negotiation. We have all come across these bullies, haven’t we?          

Well, there is good news. By taking a strategic approach to any negotiation, you will not only be able to maintain focus on your objectives but also master your own emotions (negotiations are often inherently nerve-racking) and enable you to maintain the moral high ground.

The negotiation process taught during the Adventure Institute’s Introduction to Negotiations Course, will enable you to adopt a conceptual approach to any negotiation by considering a number of tactical considerations to support you in achieving your end goal, these include:   

  • Approach a negotiation in the same way a chess master would approach a world championship chess tournament. Have a clear objective in mind and be willing to walk away if you can’t achieve those objectives.
  • Establish a mutually beneficial relationship with your counterparty and get to know the person behind the façade. Understand the personality profiles of people around the table and what drives them, what are their objectives?
  • Maintain focus and work methodically to implement your strategy. Don’t be derailed by secondary considerations (rabbit holes).
  • Don’t be fazed or intimidated by aggressive or inappropriate behaviour. Learn how to deal with difficult people.   
  • Articulate your desired outcomes clearly at the onset and then listen, listen, listen.
  • Keep your ego under wraps – it will be tested!
  • Don’t over promise and under deliver.
  • Demonstrate confidence, even though you may be paddling like a duck underwater.
  • Remember the 5 P’s – prior preparation prevents poor performance. 

Strategic negotiators are cool, calm and collected. They have a good sense of humour and will diffuse tense situations. 

Author avatar
Mike Nel

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