8 Tips for Practical Negotiations



  • You won't get anything that you don't ask for, so it doesn’t hurt to try
  • Be optimistic yet realistic when setting goals for your negotiation
  • Whenever you ask for something, think beyond the monetary value of the deal

As a senior lecturer and the assistant chair of the management department at the McCombs School of Business, Doug Dierking knows the value of negotiation skills. At a Texas Exes alumni event in June, he outlined tips for mastering everyday negotiations that take place in business settings and beyond. Here are the top eight takeaways from Dierking's lecture:

1) It doesn't hurt to ask. Whether it's in a business meeting or asking for an extra cookie from your favorite lunch spot, you won't get anything that you don't ask for.

2) Set specific goals. Don't go into your first deal thinking you'll make millions — but also don't underestimate yourself. The key is to be optimistic yet realistic when setting goals.

3) Establish a relationship. Everyone should feel comfortable before any type of business meeting begins. Start with small talk and get to know the people you're negotiating with on a more personal level. Building a relationship establishes trust, which can sometimes be even more valuable than the deal itself.

4) Negotiate more than just the price. Think beyond the monetary value of the deal. For example, what benefits are they offering? Is there a signing bonus? Don't let a number dictate the entire deal.

5) Be prepared. Show up for the meeting knowing everything you possibly can about the deal. Being prepared establishes a level of professionalism, which will allow for a better negotiation.

6) Ask questions. Even if you think you might already know the answer, ask the question anyway. This will make everything in the deal crystal clear for both sides.

7) Framing is key. Frame the negotiation so that it's beneficial for both parties. Be sure to speak in a way that they'll appreciate and understand.

8) Don't go on a power trip. Using threats and aggressive language is never a good idea. If you aren't seeing eye-to-eye on something, simply take a short break and rehash the issue at a later time.

— By Madison Hamilton

A version of this article originally appeared on McCombs Today.


Faculty in this Article

Doug Dierking

Assistant Department Chair, Senior Lecturer of Management McCombs School of Business

Doug Dierking is the assistant chair of the management department at McCombs. His work focuses on the measurement, change, and management of...

About The Author

TXE Staff

Staff, Texas Enterprise

The Texas Enterprise staff covers a broad swath of disciplines and interests. Writers, researchers, technicians and artists all contribute to the...

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