Deal or no deal: The art of effective negotiation

Entrepreneurs are often surprised by how much they must negotiate – with their staff, suppliers, customers and investors, among others. Negotiating frequently and on the fly can be overwhelming. But the truth is, from the time a child turns two and learns the word “no”, we begin to learn to negotiate. Effective negotiation is a key part of achieving successful outcomes in all our relationships, whether personal or business.

As part of last week’s CIBC presents Entrepreneurship 101, Michael Erdle, Managing Partner of Deeth Williams Walls LLP, presented  Negotiation for Fun and Profit: A Practical Guide. As a seasoned mediator and arbitrator, he drew upon his vast experience to offer some tips for effective negotiation:

  • Preparation: Know the difference between what you really “need” and what you “want” and between the best and the worst alternative for your side: in between these lies your room to negotiate.
  • Information: Be aware of what the other party needs and wants and what they are negotiating for and why.
  • Separate the people from the problem in your negotiations: Be soft on the people, but hard on the problem.
  • Respect important long-term relationships: Turn win-lose situations into win-win situations by focusing on both parties’ underlying interests (and not just winning from your side).
  • Communication is critical: What you say is not as important as how you say it (tone and body language).
  • Be assertive and empathetic: Don’t be afraid to let the other party know you understand or recognize their position (understanding is not the same as offering up concessions or compromises).
  • The “perfect deal”: Don’t fall into the common trap of making no deal believing that the perfect deal is just around the corner. You could end up with nothing.

For more of Michael’s tips on effective negotiation, view his slides or video below.

Downloads and Resources

Weren’t able to attend the class? Need some notes or want to look something up? Click below for all of the goodies from the lecture. Watch the video and the slide presentation below.

CIBC presents Entrepreneurship 101 2009/10 – Week 7 – Negotiations from MaRS Discovery District on Vimeo.
Negotiation for Fun and Profit: A Practical Guide
View more documents from Cathy Bogaart.