Book Giveaway: The Swordless Samurai by Tim Clark

by Brett & Kate McKay on September 15, 2008 · 132 comments

in Blog

Yesterday, Tim Clark wrote a fantastic guest post on the 8 Virtues of the Samurai. In the post, Tim discussed the history of Hideyoshi, a peasant who rose through the ranks of the samurai and became the supreme ruler in Japan during the 16th century. Unlike his contemporaries, Hideyoshi sought to overcome his adversaries peaceably, through negotiation and alliance building rather than through brute force. Lacking physical strength and fighting skills, he naturally chose to rely on wits rather than weapons, on strategy over swords. Hyedoshi became the swordless samurai. In his latest book, The Swordless Samurai: Leadership Wisdom of Japan’s Sixteenth-Century Legend—Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tim shows readers the leadership lessons Hideyoshi left behind. While the wisdom of Hideyoshi is nearly 500 years old, it’s just as applicable today.

We’re giving away three copies of Tim’s latest book, The Swordless Samurai, to a three lucky Art of Manliness readers. Want to know how you can win? Read on.

How to Enter

One of the main themes in The Swordless Samurai is using negotiation instead of brute force to get what you want. Negotiating with the goal of arriving at a win-win conclusion is a difficult task. So we want to hear your tips and advice on how to gain influence in business and in life through negotiation and persuasion. Have a technique you’d like to share? What’s your philosophy in approaching a negotiation? Have an experience you’d like to share where you were able to use persuasion to arrive at a win/win resolution? Leave a comment sharing your best advice and experiences and you’ll be entered to win.

Deadline to enter is Monday, September 22 at 10PM Central Standard Time.

We’ll randomly select three comments and give the book to those three lucky individuals.

We’re looking forward to reading your tips!

{ 132 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chad September 15, 2008 at 8:44 pm

It’s important to know that you can walk away from any negotiation. It’s not something you “win.”

Not a great piece of info, but I sure would like the book!

2 Dani September 15, 2008 at 8:45 pm

I read something recently about a wonderful ‘tactic’ that generates cooperation and promotes helpful action from others – kindness. Sincere and consistent kindness coupled with consistent honesty does wonders for eliciting help, instilling trust, and inciting a willingness to go the extra mile.

The key to this ‘tactic’ is that it is done not for benefit, but out of pure character.

3 Michael September 15, 2008 at 8:53 pm

My best negotiation tip: LISTEN. You can’t negotiate if you don’t know what the other person is saying.

4 Trevor Carpenter September 15, 2008 at 9:06 pm

As a corrections officer, I’m faced with the task of de-escalating situations on a regular basis. Often times, a situation could easily graduate to physical force, if I chose to allow it. Knowing that there are times when that is necessary, making a strong effort to gain compliance, without physical force, can be rewarding.

With that said, I have found that great success can be achieved when I clearly talk at a level that is much calmer and quieter than my “opponent”. This forces him/her to calm themselves, to simply be able to understand what I am saying. Being a bit quieter can also force them to talk quieter, so they don’t miss something.

This goes along with being a good listener, but sometimes manipulating your “opponent” can have not only a good dividend, but both end up winning.

5 Matthew September 15, 2008 at 9:10 pm

My best advice is to assume that the other party feels the way they do for a reason. It’s very easy to adopt the attitude that “they’re being irrational”, but that gets you nowhere. If you can figure out why the other party feels the way they do by listening and looking at things from their perspective, it’s much easier to arrive at a mutually agreeable outcome.

6 Paul September 15, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Never shave drunk.

7 Cyberia September 15, 2008 at 9:21 pm

When it comes to negotiations the one thing I am most happy about is the personal communications and public speaking classes I have taken.

They taught me methods to deal with a variety of situations whether it be one on one such as with a co-worker or more often before a board trying to convince a group to accept a new advertising scheme.

The best single advice I would give would be to never lose your cool but at the same time make sure they know you are the one running the conversation. In my experience whenever I have lost control of the tempo of a conversation I have inevitably ended up coming out short of what I had intended.

other than that just try to give as much as you can while still meeting your goals.

8 Christopher Canova September 15, 2008 at 9:33 pm

I like to wear red. I’ve read in Scientific American, that teams that wear red often perform better. They tested the testosterone levels of red-clad players and it seemed to be a marked increase from other colors. I believe that actions like negotiation, interviews, even combat (if camouflage isn’t a concern) can benefit from higher levels of confidence and “manliness”. I used to only have a certain number of colors in my wardrobe but I have since implemented more red in it. I have tested it at interviews and I think it makes a difference for me. So there you have it.

9 Ankit September 15, 2008 at 9:43 pm

I like to go into negotiations w/ a bare minimum I need from the meeting. If I don’t get the minimum, I leave the table.

10 Spenser September 15, 2008 at 9:45 pm

Negotiation is not about winning, but making sure that your desires are protected while being willing to give a little in the name of getting the ‘big picture’ taken care of.

i.e., getting a promotion, getting the best price out of services, etc.

11 Shamelle September 15, 2008 at 10:02 pm

There are times when all of us need to get other people to see things slightly differently, or to get them to do something we need them to do.
The best influencers have good interpersonal and communication skills and an ability to get other people to want to give their support. The best negotiators are subtle, fair and know what to give away, when to make demands and how to compensate when there are difficulties.

12 Zaeem Arshad September 15, 2008 at 10:17 pm

Negotiation, not confrontation will get you a long way not only in your daily life but on the corporate ladder as well. On the other hand though, negotiation should not totally replace aggressive attitudes imho.

13 Harrison McLeod September 15, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Every day I get clients who have a vision for their business. My partner and I know what works, we know what doesn’t. The client only knows what they want. I find the best negotiations are when both parties leave the table feeling like they each received a benefit from the deal. It’s about finding that middle ground.

14 Martin S September 16, 2008 at 12:04 am

I find the best way to convince someone of an idea is to convince them that they thought of it.

15 Adrian September 16, 2008 at 12:42 am

In negotiations I usually try to persuade by rational means. Enumerating reasons and benefits of my proposal. I think it’s important never to attack on a personal level as that often leads to aggression. Moreover one should never respond to such attacks on the same level, it’s much better to ignore them.

I agree with my foreposters in that you should never forget that saying nothing or leaving is a viable tactic. At least until all parties could regain their calm.

16 Cary September 16, 2008 at 12:54 am

I think the key to good negotiation is to make sure it doesn’t get personal. You’ll lose focus and your ability to negotiate.

17 Adam September 16, 2008 at 1:35 am

1. Be confident;
2. Stay calm;
3. Avoid being flustered and stay focused.

18 Kostov September 16, 2008 at 3:05 am

There are many good practices to follow in negotiation and I see some of them listed here by fellow blog readers. To me, the most important advice is: Focus on interests, not positions.

Many times in negotiations, conflicting positions are based on interests which can be accommodated in some other way. For example, two countries desiring security engage in an arms race. Each one builds more weapons, which threaten the security of the other and force weapons build-up in response – it’s a vicious circle. Instead, these countries can agree on mutual inspections and control of their arsenals, informing each other for military exercises, installing monitoring and early warning systems, and even controlled destruction of weapons. Once they decide that the desire for safety of each country will be respected, it’s a matter of procedure and technology to reach a mutually agreeable solution.

Focusing on interests, not positions is not just a theoretical notion – it happened in reality during arms reduction negotiations between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. This principle is taught in negotiation courses in universities – that’s how I learned it. I used it in personal relationships and in business negotiations. A trivial example: I am a computer professional and once a client wanted quick access to me, while I was building his e-commerce web site. His solution was that I should work from his company’s office. I offered him another solution, with an on-line phone and video link between my office and his, and we both saved ourselves some expenses.

Of course, a mutually agreeable solution is not always possible. If someone is sticking to their position instead of their interest, it means their interest is not what they declare it to be. Try to find out what is going on and act accordingly. One more thing: try not to get personal. Step into the shoes of the opponents, see their choices trough their eyes. Ask them to see your options from your point of view. Separate people from the problem, insist on some objective criteria. If you can achieve this, you are half-way done.

19 Elizabeth M. September 16, 2008 at 3:19 am

Respect the people you’re negotiating with and they will respect you back. People want to feel valued and listened to so pay attention to the opposition’s point of view and recognize it while still making your own points.

20 danielo September 16, 2008 at 3:23 am

This is as much a struggle against my innate tendencies as anything else, but I try — really really hard — to listen, and listen, and listen some more, and repeat everything the other person says until I am absolutely positive I understand what they’re getting at. That forces me to temporarily set aside my own agenda, which I find difficult, but ultimately helpful.

21 Keng September 16, 2008 at 4:04 am

The best way I’ve found is to find out what the other person wants. Sometimes it physical sometimes not. Sometimes they just want to be validated as a human. Seek out the qualities in them that they admire and acknowledge them.

For instance, when you get shafted by a company, sometimes it’s not your money you want back, sometimes it’s just that you want them to admit that they were wrong and should have treated you better.

22 James III September 16, 2008 at 4:12 am

Speaking as a young academic, the best way to influence people toward one’s own line of thought, in my experience, is to with a cool head find common ground. After that you can explore why there is a difference in perspective.

Speaking as a teacher so far it seems; people are most able to be influenced when they think their opinion is invincible. Slightly less mailable are they when they think it is unlikely that they could be changed, and ironically when others realize that they are easily influenced, it seems that they are less likely to be so. (This is a major principle of marketing, in that most people do not see themselves as affected by advertisements.)

23 Scott September 16, 2008 at 4:12 am

Assumptions are killers. When you go into a negotiation assuming you know what the other person wants, you both frustrate them and risk giving away more than you really have to.

24 Charlie September 16, 2008 at 4:16 am

Oh, man, count me in!

My chief negotiating tactic has been to identify exactly what’s wanted by both parties and articulate that as soon as possible in the process. If exactly what’s wanted is unknown, it needs to be discovered and quickly. It may be that neither party can give the other what he wants. If that’s the case, the negotiations should cease and free up both parties to pursue other options.

25 Adam September 16, 2008 at 4:35 am

To “gain influence in business and in life through … persuasion”, I usually plant the seed of an idea a week before I’m ready to discuss it. It’s amazing how – a week later – people will think something is their own idea and move forward with it, if you just give them the right encouragement!

26 Justin September 16, 2008 at 4:45 am

There’s a book entitled “How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk”, and while it deals with dealing with kids, the title illuminates the two key pieces to any negotiation: talk in a way that the person with whom you are negotiating will listen, and listen to what the person is saying. Good communication is key, otherwise you end up talking past each other, which will never lead to a conclusion.

27 Joel September 16, 2008 at 4:47 am

I have found that the best way to persuade or influence someone is to identify the fundamentals of their position and relate that to yours. in this way, you show them that your position is not contrary to theirs; it’s complimentary.

Works wonders.

28 JS September 16, 2008 at 4:56 am

I find that by giving the perception of concessions goes along way towards an amicable deal. For instance, say you are offering your services at a price of $115 but the client would like $65, obviously this will never work. However, you do know that you could easily go to $100 which is the rate with which you normally charge everyone else but you fight hard for the $115 declaring it the “lowball price”.
Before the client decides to walk you do some calculations and arrive at $100 thereby giving the perception that the client has “won” the negotiation and bargained hard for a lower rate so will feel good about the deal. You feel good as well because this new “lowball” rate of $100 still falls well within a healthy profit margin. Everyone’s happy :-)

29 Clint September 16, 2008 at 5:17 am

It sounds obvious, but simply taking into account that everyone – in any negotiation – wants something out of it.

So rather than get the better deal, try and make it so both parties are happy.

For example,

I once needed to buy a bed, on the cheap for a guestroom. The lady I was buying it off needed the space, and I needed the bed. I got my cheap bed, she got space and 15 quid in her back pocket.

I got the price down not by just “threatening to lose the sale”, but by pointing out that it wasn’t just money she was getting but space.

Not sure how helpful that was, but there is a moral to it.


30 Manic September 16, 2008 at 5:41 am

I tend to prefer the quiet psychological manipulation. After completing my degree in psychology I found that rather than learning anything from the lecturers, I learnt alot more in how to observe, manipulate and change what I want in my own way…without being overt about it.

Sly manipulation can work so long as you are prepared to take some sacrifice yourself and be extremely patient.

Recently I found that a person I once worked with took to being competitive with me, trying to be better than me at all costs. This often meant that people would question why I would put up with this guy. But by being sly, I was able to get this guy to bare his bones and eventually epically fail in his task, because I was ultimately right. And now that I don’t associate with this guy, I get communication that this guy is worried about me. I’m fine.

Sun Tzu stated that keeping your enemies closer works if you are able to make the other person feel like they are winning but all the while you are gathering evidence and setting them up for and even bigger fall than they know.

31 Jake Mayer September 16, 2008 at 6:00 am

Sell the benefits not the features.

Negotiate how your proposal will benefit the other, not yourself. No one cares how you fare!

32 Su September 16, 2008 at 6:19 am

Oftentimes negotiations take place in a reiterative context… sort of like a game theory prisoner’s dilemma set.

This means that you have an incentive in seeing your counter-party happy and vice-versa because if you have him/her over a barrel and you really screw them they would likely exact an even costlier revenge (even to their own detriment) over future transactions.

33 Craig September 16, 2008 at 6:19 am

I tend to make the other person feel as if they came up with the decision on their own. When you present the inferior options and explain why the better solution is the best path, the other person should naturally come to your same conclusion. While they feel they just came up with a great idea on their own, you have controlled the entire decision.

34 pn September 16, 2008 at 6:19 am

Looks like a nice book to check out, thanks!

35 N September 16, 2008 at 6:52 am

I’m really bad at negotiations but I recently met a friend in whom I’ve identified a lot traits that worked well. Here they are.

0. Start out by laying out the fundamentals. What do you both want, what you agree on, what’s the intended result of the discussion and what you’re negotiating for. This will expose grey areas and can be used to guide the discussion. Also, if there are more than 2 people involved, the one who keeps the whole thing on track automatically gets a ‘leader’ position which can be used to his advantage when necessary.

1. Never openly contradict the other person. Always sugar coat it by saying something like “That’s a good idea. Here’s another method of getting it done. What do you think?”

2. Never *ever* interrupt the other person. No matter how nonsensical or pointless what they’re saying might be. No matter how quickly you can cut to the chase, let them speak their minds completely.

3. Compliment liberally. Don’t make it flattery but if they say something that’s correct, make sure you let them know that you received it and that you appreciate it.

4. Ask questions (not all necessary) to make the other person feel as though you are listening to what they’re saying and that you’re interested. Don’t wave off their arguments and beat them with yours.

5. Be prepared with a few things that you can give up at the outset and pitch them. Give them up when judicious so that the other person feels as though you’re not being stubborn.

6. Never *ever* get emotional about the discussion and become a whiner. If the other person starts to do so, remind them that such displays are unnecessary. That automatically puts you in a position of power.

7. Stay focussed. Don’t ramble. This is often helped by deciding privately or with the antagonist that you *have* to conclude in a fixed amount of time. Don’t spend excessive amounts of time debating small points.

8. Be considerate. I mean genuinely. If the other person says that they’re not willing to compromise for a valid reason, acknowledge it and see if you can accommodate it. Let them know that you’re trying to seeing the importance of the point to them.

9. Don’t be too blunt. “Your idea is too stupid to take seriously” might be factually accurate but it won’t help the discussion. The reason the other guy pitched it to you is because he believes in it for some reason. Apply gradual pressure. Slow and easy. No sudden jerks or statements. They unsettle people (sometimes even you).

10. The overall result of these points is that you get a certain considerate warm fuzzy aura around you. When necessary, a sharp breaking of a rule (eg. An interruption violating point 2 above) will become super powerful. It’s like the Samurai flashing his blade for an instant. Don’t overdo it and let the awe the other person has of you disappear.

I’m trying to incorporate these into my own discussions at work. It’s a little hard but it *does* help.

Excellent post yesterday BTW. I really connected to it.

36 Jason September 16, 2008 at 6:56 am

If anyone has seen the “Last Samurai” these codes of conduct definitely applied. How strange that basic morals, virtues, and characteristics of manliness transcend throughout time and cultures.

37 Zorro September 16, 2008 at 6:56 am

The importance of listening has already been mentioned. The path to succesfull negotiation relies on the ability to (a) put yourself in the other guys shoes, and (b) work out what his goals/aims are from the negotiation. Obviously listening is key to both of these points.

Once you’ve worked out what the other guy is after it should be childs play to work out a compromise position that is better for both parties.

38 Success Professor September 16, 2008 at 7:11 am

Oftentimes people don’t even start negotiations because they are afraid to ask. You need to be willing to ask for what you want. I learned this skill from my wife. My wife is an expert at asking for discounts and deals. She is especially good at doing this at hotels and with airlines. She has been able to get us discounts and upgrades. When we are on road trips, we seldom book hotels ahead of time. Instead we get to the city we are going to stay at, go in and negotiate. Usually we are able to get a good discount, because by that time they know how empty they will be for that night.

39 Adrian September 16, 2008 at 7:12 am

Make eye contact.
Speak firmly, but gently.
Concede a little where you can while still working towards your goal.
Breathe deep and remain calm.
Do not back down.
Be willing to walk away.

40 Jack September 16, 2008 at 7:51 am

When I’m working with someone, I’ve found that emphasizing what they would get out of helping me is the best way to get what I want out of them.

Appeal to their self interest, not to your ideals.

41 Aaron September 16, 2008 at 7:53 am

I’d say the best is to be committed but not attached. If you won’t die without it be ready to let it go. Be available to win on your terms but don’t risk harming a relationship because you’re stubborn.

42 Ryan September 16, 2008 at 7:53 am

When in negotiations (to include such instances as job interviews and project bidding), don’t simply tell the other side what you have, but figure out what they truely want. Then tell them that what you have is what you have is exactly that and more. (a very very basic example being custom tailoring a resume for the poistion to which you are applying.)

Also, never take “no” as an answer.

43 Kent September 16, 2008 at 8:09 am

Never take anything personally. In any negotiation it is easy to get emotionally invested, and then you lose your ability to evaluate the proceedings. Remember that it always becomes obvious to the other party that you are agitated, and if they are smart, they can use that against you. So stay calm, and work to get the other party to stay calm too. While you could use their weaknesses against them, it is much better to come to an agreement that is mutually beneficial, as you very often will need to negotiate with the other party at some later date.

44 Adam September 16, 2008 at 8:19 am

When it comes to negotiating / persuasion it is important for the other party to see you as a leader. Most people don’t want to go out on a limb and make a decision on their own, instead they look for social validation. Here’s a simple trick I’ve been using with great success lately, it’s a trick I’ve actually put together through the inspiration of George Bush and my own personal dating adventures. Ready…?

Very early on in a relationship I like to ‘bind’ a person to me by giving them a nickname. This does two things. First, it builds instant rapport. Second, it shows the other person you’re a confident leader.

The first day on a new job, I like ending a conversation with a superior who’s outlining their expectations for me with a simple “You got it, Chief”, or some such canned response. On a first date, I will start referring to her by either her first initial or something cute and casual such as ‘Chica’ during the first 15-30 minutes.

I know it sounds simple, but it’s a small social cue triggered at a time when the other is trying to evaluate your social worth. I’ve that the people I use this “trick” on I seem to have a higher perceived social value with and therefore have an easier time “getting my way” later on down the line.

Sure there’s a lot more involved in building up these relationships, but this is a handy trick to pull out of your pocket.

45 Hunter Nuttall September 16, 2008 at 8:33 am

The golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated. How would you like someone to act if they were negotiating with you? You’d want them to ask questions to understand your concerns, and be straight with you. So do it!

46 Greg September 16, 2008 at 8:41 am

Ask and know.

Ask the other party what they are wanting from the negotiation. That way you can make a proper assessment.
Know what you are wanting and willing to give to the negotiation to get to the desired goal.
Try not to take the process of the negotiation personally, let go of the ego. Remember deep breaths.
Good luck.

47 Daniel September 16, 2008 at 8:41 am

Always be on the same page as the person. Never try to out-think, outsmart, or exceed them in cleverness. If for some reason you do catch yourself doing this, then bring them up to speed. It’s a sign of respect for where the other person is coming from.

Negotiation very opposing to manipulation and instead should leave both parties satisfied and respected.

48 James Chartrand - Men with Pens September 16, 2008 at 8:43 am

Offer something first. When you want to receive, you need to give and be the first person to do so, which puts the other person in the position of flat out refusing to negotiate, an uncomfortable one that touches personal values, or having to give something back. The minute you have that ‘give’ coming back to you, the games have begun.

49 Adrian September 16, 2008 at 8:53 am

Negotiation is one of the biggest part of my jobs as an attorney. I think the most important thing about negotiation is being clear about what both side REALLY want, not just what they are asking for. I remember in one of my negotiation classes we had to do an exercise where both sides were asking for all of the finite amount of eggs in the problem and both had compelling reasons for wanting them all. The trick/point of the exercise is that once you truly got to the heart of what the sides wanted, one side only needed the shells, on side only needed the yolks. There was a complete win/win situation available, you just have to get to the heart of what each side wants.

50 Jermil September 16, 2008 at 9:03 am

My favorite negotiation tactic is from the book “You Can Negotiate Anything” by Herb Cohen.

One of the many great points he makes in the book is to be aware of the other person’s deadlines. He gives a story similar to the following:

If today is Monday and they need to come to a conclusion by Friday at 5pm, he suggests showing them around the town and taking them to plays and museums (if they’re not from the area). Keep them busy and keep their mind off of the task at hand. Then, as you’re driving them to the airport at the end of the week, start discussing the details of the negotiation. They’ll have no choice but to give in more than they were prepared because they’re time is almost up and they have to go back with something.

It’s a bit dirty but I think it’s an interesting way to get what you want!


51 Rod September 16, 2008 at 9:03 am

“I may have a gun in the holster but I don’t have to draw it and shoe ‘em each time. They know it’s there and showing ‘em only decreases the effectivenes of the threat”.

52 Rod September 16, 2008 at 9:04 am

“I may have a gun in the holster but I don’t have to draw it and show ‘em each time. They know it’s there and showing ‘em only decreases the effectivenes of the threat”.

53 rengal September 16, 2008 at 9:22 am

Negotiating in the modern work is rarely a one-on-one, face-to-face, kind of thing. Often time, a person is negotiating with a faceless bureaucracy. My dad showed me once how putting many requests on the “table” is useful, and the way to do it is to make the one you need the most seem the most reasonable. They can’t deny you everything in good (business) conscience, so give them things they can discard and still fee good about meeting your requests. This way, the power play is met, and you still end up getting what you wanted in a situation where no party can actually “win”.

54 Gary O'Neal September 16, 2008 at 9:40 am

Give the other person “the benefit of the doubt” that is, attempt to view their actions from the perspective of noble intentions rather than bad intentions. We often come into a situation with our minds already made up about the reasons why someone did something. We attribute negative intentions to their actions. What would change if instead we thought of noble reasons for their actions?

55 matt September 16, 2008 at 9:51 am

- Think outside the box, and invite the other party to do so as well. Often it helps to reveal a way in which the two parties, in at least some ways, want the same things.
- Empathy. Take a step back and put yourself in the other party’s shoes.

56 BuBBA September 16, 2008 at 9:53 am

Best advice for negotiation, simple, anticipate the arguments of the other side. Do your research and listen to the arguements and information that the other side is giving you. Then use that to form your arguements. Additionally, compromise on irrelevent points, and use that to get your opponent to compromise on points that are truely important to you.

57 Bryan September 16, 2008 at 10:15 am

Knowledge is key! As a Union President who negotiated several contracts it was most important to know a) what you want b) why you want it c) the companies reasons NOT to give it to you and d) options for the company TO give it you. With knowledge comes power and the more knowledge you have on the situation and the more options you can cover the more the other side’s ONLY option comes down to I JUST DON’T WANT TO. And you can only argue that for so long until it sound silly to even you…

58 M. Karkari September 16, 2008 at 10:22 am

My humble advice on negotiating a meaningfully successful conclusion is the fruit of years of experience in business, marriage, and life.

It has been of value to me to research and understand, ideally ahead of negotiations, what the real goals or desires are of each concerned party, behind the stated goals, and seek to bargain a manageable meeting-point which satisfies all parties. A good negotiation process should leave each party feeling they earned a solid, favourable outcome, and that nobody was burned. Approaching negotiations with a desire to impose one’s will upon another is foolish, and will not result in a positive amenable outcome, rather, it is best to seek a meaningful point of agreement, or accept a failure of negotiations, and seek agreement elsewhere or with other parties. Offering something initially not on the negotiating table can be an astute means of obtaining a valued compromise, and can serve to lead to unexpected areas of new opportunity to establish deeper relationships and more successful future negotiations.

Patience, strong communications skills, a flexible position and subtle understanding of the dynamics at play will make for a solid, successful negotiator. Good Luck!


59 Ron Green September 16, 2008 at 10:29 am

You must know the person you are negotiating with. The more you know about the person the more successful you will be at creating a win-win situation.

60 bob September 16, 2008 at 12:43 pm

when negotiating and it comes to making an offer always offer less than your prepared to pay and let the other person haggle the price with you so they think that they are getting more out of you. it works the other way too if your selling something ask for more than what you really want for the product and let the other person haggle the price down. you come away with what you want and the other person thinks that they have got what they want too its a win win situation for all

61 Tara September 16, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Thank you -insightful – I highly recommend a book called the “Ideals of the Samurai” – a compilation of letters written up to 700 years ago by samurai to their families on the day before they knew they were going to die – rules for their sons and family to live by – moral codes – rules for life – how to eat , to wash , to pick concubines , How to choose and treat your servants – rules for mothers , and children – inspiring reading – very useful for today’s society – find your inner strength and peace- it is wonderful and amazing how knowledge of one’s own imminent death has the ability to sharpen the mind and clear the senses. – removing the ego leaving only the self

Ideals of the Samurai translation by Scott wilson

“A compilation of writings of many famous samurai covering centuries of the Japanese feudal period. Most of the writings were written to be left to family and clan members as a guide in conduct and behavior. This book offers a deep insight into how the samurai thought and lived their lives, and what they held to be important. The authors of these writings range in time period from the 12th to the 17th century. Their teaching and admonitions have value for those of us who hold the warrior ideal in modern society. Softcover, 144 page”

62 Bob Iger September 16, 2008 at 1:16 pm

Showing the other party that you listen to what they say is something that garners great respect and automatically gives you a headstart in negotiations. You’d be surprised how many people get this wrong.

63 Old-Timey Mike September 16, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Recently, I had to negotiate my way out of my job and into another. Leaving my old employer needed to be a careful dance while winning my best offer with the new employer. The one thing both had in common was my body was completely dedicated: my heart was pounding, my muscles were a bit tight, and my mind was focused to an uncomfortable place.

In retrospect, it was exactly what was needed. My timing and focus in both situations were only enhanced by my physical state.

If my body didn’t respond to my emotions/reasoning, I knew I was not dedicated to my actions, i.e. I was not in the moment. I think in negotiation, you need to be prepared, but ready to maneuver, to be flexible. Not a push-over, exactly the opposite. Like you are standing on a fault line, as your opponent tries to shake the ground around you.

Negotiation requires your dedication to your desired outcome, while your surroundings change in unpredictable ways.

64 Jeremy September 16, 2008 at 2:50 pm

Know what battles can be won, so as to not waste on fruitless endeavors.

65 blast47 September 16, 2008 at 3:00 pm

I think two things help greatly with negotiation:
1) Being able to listen to the other party. Not just hearing them, but giving them the attention to listen to what they have to say.
2) Even if emotionally invested, do not lose control. Be it vocal tone, language, or mannerism.

66 Shaun September 16, 2008 at 4:06 pm

Start negotiations optimistically. It’s always easy to negotiate down to a worse position, but much harder to negotiate upwards to a better one.

67 Scott September 16, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Negotiating is really nothing more than an exercise in power. The greater your power, the more you can dictate the terms of the negotiations. How you use that power, or how you approach someone with greater power, will determine how well your negotiations go.

I like Sun Tzu’s Art of War for this, actually. The nuts and bolts of learning how to use power are pretty well spelled out there (provided you get a good translation, anyway). The moral issues of when and why to use it, though, is another story entirely.

68 majeci September 16, 2008 at 5:09 pm

Give an inch, only if you think you will get a foot in return. Sounds a little ‘proverb-ey’ but basically don’t let the other party have anything they want until you get something you value more.

69 KevinA. September 16, 2008 at 5:09 pm

Best piece of advice is to do your best to “walk in someone’s shoes” and to always give the “benefit of the doubt”. Too often in negotiating we try to steamroll our opposition or crush their spirits. In the end, they may follow, but you haven’t won their full trust or support.

70 Paul Witte September 16, 2008 at 5:14 pm

I’ve heard it said, “A gentle tongue can break a bone.”

71 Aaron September 16, 2008 at 5:26 pm

I always like being the dumbest guy in the room.

I draw a dot on a piece of paper.
“This is what I know about “doodads.”
Then I draw a large circle around the dot.
“This is how much I need to know about “doodadsâ€? or the wallet walks out with me.”

I f they talk over my head I interrupt and compliment.

“You seem like a smart guy. I bet you have an IQ over a hundred. See, my IQ is twenty or thirty at best. There is no way I can come up to your level of intelligence, so I need you to come down to mine. Let’s bring it down to a level I can understand or the wallet walks out with me.”

I f they try to dominate conversion/ negotiation again, I walk.

72 Aikiced September 16, 2008 at 5:40 pm

(sorry for the sentence structure, I can read english but I’m having a hard time formulating proper sentences) I guess the best way to clear a negociation with a win-win solution is to stay at a certain emotional distance, ie.: Your wife wants to get a new camper and you prefer camping with a tent. First of all you have desires but so does every other human being, why not consider the fact that she would like some luxury, go on and argue with the common points you can find between the camper and the tent. I guess what I’m trying to say is compromising is the best way to negociate.

And never forget, be a gentlemen and you’ll have everybody’s benediction.

73 Rod Homor September 16, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Dang, a lot of people want the book, LOL.. 72 comments so far. Well, here is my two bits:

Before entering negotiations, imagine you and the party you are meeting with getting up from the table smiling, shaking hands, and everybody getting what they want in the end. Imagine the best possible outcome first…. then, you will know what you want to create in your meeting, and will be more relaxed. (some people think negotiation is a battle, a boxing match, to see who will come out on top. You can, however, decided to create win-win…)

74 Jason September 16, 2008 at 6:42 pm

Communicate! Look them in the eye.

75 Victor September 16, 2008 at 7:37 pm

Depending on the situation negotiations can be fruitful or they can lead to exposure of ones intentions.

I hate to negotiate if I know my time is only going to be short and I am just seeking a small and painless opportunity, so I would suggest to anyone to think about they are going to get into if they fail to conceal their true intentions better.

PS: I don’t condone concealing all the time, as is the case there is always an exception.

76 Yura September 16, 2008 at 8:05 pm

One of the main problems in negotiations is to point out flaws in the argument and convince the opponent in a more efficient approach. To solveit, you need to to follow the Socrates way of handling discussions.

First, you identify the incorrect idea of your opponent.
Second, you ask a question about the idea that the opponent will agree to and that contains the main flaw. You don’t tell the opponent what is right or wrong, you simply ask questions.
Thirdly, you compare the affirmative statement to another similar situation, where it’ll be obvious that the proposed solution is unnatural and won’t work, and ask the opponent, whether it is incorrect to follow the solution in the similar situation.
If the incorrectness of the idea is obvious in your similar situation, he’ll agree.
Then you simply say that if he acts one way in a similar situation, then he should act the same in the discussed situation.

As for business negotiations, it is pretty simple:
- you need to focus on the benefits to your opponent
- you need to know the opponent to learn the benefits, what he can and can not do
- you should be ready to find ways to provide more value to the opponent by keeping your ground, if possible
- if some of your points are ungrounded and unfair, you need to agree and reach an agreement that wouldbe mutually beneficial

Sorry, didn’t read the 78 comments above, but if something is the same as above, then it probably is right :)

77 Andy September 17, 2008 at 1:04 am

When going into a negotiation know exactly what are the things that you can compromise on and what are the things that are absolute must haves. With any negotiation both parties must be able to compromise with some things and knowing what you are and are not prepared to budge on is a big help.

78 Maeghan September 17, 2008 at 3:35 am

I’m really not a fan of confrontation, and I’ve been told I’m a good listener. My advice would be to listen, but not be a pushover. It’s better to communicate and get a win-win solution than to appease the other and end up being the loser.

79 Steve Shipe September 17, 2008 at 4:32 am

I agree with some of the comments here about listening but I have additional criteria. Listening not only can be difficult for some people but can elict emotions in a negative way. Either on one extreme by lulling the listener into comfort, or the other extreme by taking words to offense. The key is to listen with intent. Try to read between the lines and understand what it is that the other party may truely desire. It may be that your goals are the same but by approaching them in a certain light would seem more desireable to the other party. Listening is an active topic which should be done with scrutiny to expose the other party’s desires, thought processes, and even sometime weaknesses.

80 Mike September 17, 2008 at 4:34 am

I have seen people pick up Sun Tzu’s “The Art of Warâ€? and take things literally. This post ( speaks to the mental side of engaging your adversaries and not having to resort to less than desireable ethics or principles.

81 Ricky Jones September 17, 2008 at 5:02 am

I believe you must have a win-win situation. You don’t need to win you both need to win.


82 Brian September 17, 2008 at 5:15 am

I approach every meeting, every negotiation, with the mindset of “win-win”.

To acheive this, I prepare myself with an example or two of what the other guy stands to gain from the deal. People like to know that they are coming out of the deal with something, even if it is a regulatory matter and they are up against a wall.

This fosters an atmosphere of voluntary compliance and an illusion of choice. And everyone walks away from the table satisfied.

83 Roomba September 17, 2008 at 5:19 am

From my previous job, I learned that you can turn a demanding situation around for your benefit. Many times, the boss would change his mind or become enamored with a new risky and profitable pathway. However, resources would be put to the limit and other important work would not be completed. I saw that you could say “If I do X for you, Y will not get completed. Are you OK with that?” By saying that, it shows my willingness to change and be flexible. It also establishes a record and makes the boss accountable for orders they hand down. Last, it gives him something to weigh against the new idea. At the very least, he now understands the ramifications of taking on new ventures. I have seen this in action. Many times it is an uphill battle and I was expected to do both. I felt better about responding that way rather than just nodding and taking orders on blind faith.

84 Bob Moran September 17, 2008 at 6:20 am

For me, success in life starts with:

Go Slowly
Stay Present

After that, I try to remember one of many excellent Fripp-isms:

The only thing we contribute is the quality of our work.

85 Xin September 17, 2008 at 6:23 am

You have to understand where other people are coming from, get into their shoes. Then use that insight to see what they want, and what they will take/give up. Then smile and low ball it. Make them work you up.

86 Valerie September 17, 2008 at 7:43 am

One of the most unused negotiating tactics is giving an offer they MUST refuse. This opens the door to communication and gets the parties to meet at the best medium for each.

87 Kyle Wiley September 17, 2008 at 7:47 am

Personally, I think there are several things to consider in coming to a compromise:

1. Always know what you are willing to concede and those things that you hold firm in your heart. There are always things to be conceded in a “discussion,” but many times in the world that we live in, people don’t have those definites, tending to lean more towards relativity. Know what you will not concede.

2. Think about the other’s view on the topic. What are points that you can see they would probably be willing to give in on? What are the definite strongholds for that person?

3. What is the closes point to an agreement you can come to giving up those concessions, and are you humble enough to give up more than the other in order to assure that your definites are not affected?

That’s usually how I look at the mental side of a conflict. Whether it be over someone parking in front of my driveway, where to eat tonight, or what to do with my personal time (not very much of this, so it’s interesting to see the conflict that occurs inside!).

88 David C. September 17, 2008 at 8:22 am

I believe it’s important to understand the limits of negotiation. Some people will only by satisfied by an outcome that is beyond your power or completely unsatisfactory to you. Being able to walk away from the negotiation table is a crucial trait for any negotiator faced with this situation.

If you can’t bring yourself to walk away from a bad negotiation, you’re no longer negotiating; you’re being manipulated.

89 Reid September 17, 2008 at 8:41 am

When it comes to negotiation, it always helps me to remember “It is amazing what can be accomplished if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Let someone else take the credit for good ideas or better compromise, if it moves the negotiation forward. It works for me every time. I always try to keep in mind that I want what I want, and it doesn’t always include the credit.

90 JT September 17, 2008 at 9:33 am

The two rules that my grandfather taught me:

1. When you can’t make people submit to your will, herd them.

2. Always give a cornered dog a way out

91 Doug September 17, 2008 at 1:29 pm

I’ve been lucky enough to learn negotiation from a few very experienced gentlemen — here are a few basics for success:

Respect – negotiation involves give and take, and both sides need to feel they are being heard and treated as full human beings. A respectful approach and asking each party for their position (and then listening – see next point) sets the right tone to start.

Listen – listen carefully, warmly, openly and then consider deeply. Many negotiations are more about face than about the details. The knowledge that they are being listened to will make people more agreeable.

Identify each party’s goals — again, this may be as simple as realizing that what one party really wants is respect — the goal of a party will be expressed as a specific issue, but there is usually an underlying perceived injustice, and the canny negotiator will search for that.

Work for both sides – a negotiator, even if employed by one side, needs to show that they are honestly working to help everyone. The best solution is always where everyone feels like they won. If you can give each side what they want in a greater or lesser degree and with perceived fairness, you will have an enduring agreement.

Work towards building understanding – Harmony between people comes with understanding and knowledge about them. Disputes tend to go black-and-white very quickly, and we always dehumanize those with whom we have problems — it helps us to hate them. Building understanding between two parties will smooth the way in future negotiations… real understanding may allow the negotiation phase to be bypassed in future.

Bonne chance!

92 Hasnain Syed September 17, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Part of a compromise is looking to how both parties can win. Sometimes that means that you do not get exactly what you’re looking for. This is where both parties need to be reminded of the positive side-effects of this transaction. This can include: adding an ally to your cause, not losing time, resources, energy and stress over a conflict, etc. In the end, conclusions that are reached where both (or multiple) parties are part of the decision-making process last longer and stand on a stronger foundation.

93 Brian ESS September 17, 2008 at 5:45 pm

A win-win negotiation ought to be of consummate value to both warriors.

The value of the posted comment (for this thread on ) ought to be considered; elsewise, posting only one’s own name would qualify one and consequently, posting one’s own name say two hundred times more than the the total number of other postings would raise one’s chances considerably.
A prize that is randomly selected offers no incentive to share one’s “best advice and experiences” thus encouraging the previous.
Being a competition (book give-away that must be won), one expects to be pitted against fellow warriors for the amusement of the shogun and so a win-win between competitors is impossible. In fact, a win-lose between shogun and warriors is the expected outcome as shogun loses nothing more considerable than three books while the warriors give away their tricks and techniques which may one day be well used against themselves!
Being a competition, one does not expect shogun to declare the flag bearer playing weiqi in the corner to be the victor.

Here is pugilism: a final and powerful killing blow is always reserved by the master as a self protection so that he may come to rest upon his deathbed in peace whence he would teach this blow to his most beloved disciple. That disciple would practice the killing blow only once by dispatching his master.
Here is meta pugilism: give extravagantly of your mercy, then wait on the battlefield for your sworn enemy’s reply… you may well meet your forefathers and their gods here or your enemy’s reply will leave the crows hungry.
Give extravagantly of your mercy, then wait at the boardroom table for your competitor’s reply… and keep in mind that no agreement has yet been made, and let him cry foul to the wind for no agreement has yet been made, and allow him time to understand your mercy for no agreement has yet been made.

A win-win negotiation is not about getting and giving, nor can the giving be demanded – give extravagantly towards the relationship and even if the table sours, your enemy will return again and again. First to test your honour, second to bask in your glory and third to touch the hem of your cloak that he too may be honourable.
Let him who seeks, understand this wisdom…

A win-win negotiation ought to be of consummate value to your enemy.

94 steven ko September 17, 2008 at 5:48 pm

manipulation and trickery is important in the real world to get things done with words. like president speeches how they use other words to make it sound better for the people when there really trying to say something worse

95 Pete Babcock September 17, 2008 at 7:05 pm

Start with the other person. Try to understand what their pain points or goals are. Too often, someone is asking for what they think they need or want and not what they really need. Understanding your “enemy” will either allow you insight on how to defeat them or more often then not allow you to see them as someone other than an enemy.
Second, focus on yourself. Why do you want what you want. Is there another option. How can you make a case that your goal will also satisfy their need?
I have salvaged many a “bad” scenario by understanding how to fix someone else’s problems and still achieve a victory for myself.

96 Jeff M. September 17, 2008 at 8:12 pm

Their concerns are just as legitimate as your concerns. The more you relate to them, understand them, and utilize them; the easier the negotiation. Enjoy your time.

97 David September 17, 2008 at 9:06 pm

“Always be aware”

A piece of advice my Sensei always tells us. As a martial artist it’s important. You must always know your place, be aware, wherever you are; the mood of the people, your mood, etc. In so doing, you know when to avoid a fight before the fight has even started.

The same applies in the board room while making a deal. By knowing your place, you know if to press on with a deal and how likely you are to succeed. If done right, you will never loose.

98 Greg A. September 17, 2008 at 9:18 pm

When negotiating raises and promotions never put something out on the table without following being 100% willing to follow through.

If going else where will get you a promotion you want but you’d rather stay home don’t apply for the job and put it on the table at your current one unless you are willing to pick it all up and leave. You’ll only hurt yourself if you go back on it.

99 Joel C. September 18, 2008 at 8:09 am

The world needs more servants who willingly put the common good of others above their own needs, wants, and desires. Servants should not always deny themselves and automatically give up what they want in a negotiation, but seek to have their actions fulfill the greatest need of their negotiation partner. If everyone had the character of a servant in the act of negotiation, then both parties will be satisfied at the conclusion of a negotiation, because everyone will be finding ways to fulfill the needs of the other person.

100 Keith B September 18, 2008 at 9:06 am

I have found that during negotiation the way to a win-win outcome is to understand what the opposite party truly hopes to gain in the process. It is an incredible surprise to most people that the “enemy” actually doesn’t want what you want, they have needs and outcomes that generally differ from yours. Be creative in meeting their needs. It’s not always about what you can get but rather what can you give that doesn’t hurt you in the long run.

There is lots of talk about compromise yet if you truly enter a negotiation with the thought of learning what the other party really needs from the process compromise is often not needed as the two differing worldviews will coexist if one party is willing to listen and learn what the other party needs.

For example, a scenario that most can identify with…buying a car. Often we approach this negotiation with a very negative thought process of , “man the salesperson is going to swindle me for everything I have…” This sets up a perceived conflict before the conflict actually exists.

If one approaches the negotiation with the mindset that you want to buy a car a fair price and the salesperson is just making a living (or needs to sell for a fair price) The negotiation will proceed in a friendly manner.

I just bought a car, I now count among my friends the salesperson who sold me that car. When the Salesperson made his first trip from the sales manager’s office my approach was one of. “Josh…I’ve done some research on this car and the prevailing market price appears to be $XXXXX.” “Now I know you have to feed your family and well so do I. So here is my offer….This is the bottom line that I can do. Go see your manager and please explain that this is my bottom line offer.” If you need something more, maybe you paid too much for the car at wholesale, maybe I’d be willing to work off the difference. You need computer work done, or lot work done I have experience doing both…

Long story short…I got the car for 10% less than my initial offer, and all I had to do was a bit of maintenance on their computer systems…they really needed this work done and had never thought to roll that into a car deal until I brought it up. They got their computers up and running and I got a better than market price on my car.

Remember be creative in meeting the needs of your negotiating party. Listen, When you hear the person refer to something see of you can make offers that to you may sound ridiculous but meet the needs of the opposite party. Remember often times they are seemingly unrelated to topic of negotiation…

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