The Negotiation Society
THE EXCLUSIVE MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI OF THE GAP PARTNERSHIP
PLAYING THE MARKET
Stories from the souk
The role of roles
Our man in Asia
SELLING VS NEGOTIATING
The difference revealed
THE TOP TABLE
Our experts analyze the negotiation
styles of political leaders around the
world and what we can learn from them
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
the Top Table
Analysis of the negotiation
style and strategy of some
of the world’s most highprofile
The importance of roles
and responsibilities in a
negotiation, even when
A highly skilled negotiator
gets more than he bargained
for in a Moroccan souk.
Negotiation guru Alistair
White returns to answer
alumni queries, including
how to handle it when
things get emotional.
Our man in Asia talks about
the restless pace of change
in the region, and why he’s
excited for the future.
Teasing apart the distinction
between these two most
critical of commercial skills.
WELCOME FROM STEVE
Welcome back, or for our new alumni members
a warm welcome to this, our second edition of
The Negotiation Society. The home of staying in
touch with all things relevant to the art and science
of your negotiations.
Following the success of our first edition, here at
The Gap Partnership we have set our sights on no
less than the world! Well, to be specific, world leaders
and their fascinating and differing negotiation styles.
We complement our front page story with subjects
as broad as negotiating with our kids to negotiating
in souks. I’m confident there’s something here to
keep everyone entertained and most
Is your job to sell or to negotiate or both? For
that matter what’s the difference? Read on. Every
moment of every negotiation matters because
nothing happens by accident in negotiation and with
so much value in the balance is it any wonder that
the contributors to this second edition have so much
to share from their own experiences?
I hope you enjoy the read and look forward to
the feedback via The Negotiation Society group
on LinkedIn or feel free to email us at
alumni@thegappartnership with your views.
CEO, The Gap Partnership
Simon Dent Anna Monusova Emma Dutton
Simon started professional life
as a lawyer, and then became
a sports agent representing
Premiership footballers, Olympic
gold medalists, Rugby World Cup
winners and even a Hollywood
movie star. In 2016 he co-founded
Dark Horses, a sports marketing
agency, and now works with brands
like Nissan, DHL, Under Armour
and Southampton FC.
Raised in Russia, Anna
moved to Paris to attend the
prestigious Ecole Normale
Supérieure. She joined Danone
and became global sourcing
lead for an ingredients portfolio,
developing procurement strategies
and leading change management
projects. In 2015 she joined The
Gap Partnership and now works
on multilingual projects with
clients across Europe.
Emma’s military career saw her
negotiating with the Taliban
in life-and-death scenarios, for
which she received an MBE.
An expert in influence,
Emma now leads an elite
team who work with businesses
to improve their performance
and profitability. She has a
passion for film and is a partner
in a boutique media company.
Martina Hui Chris Atkins Mike Kamins
With a background in market
research, Martina has a deep
understanding of consumer
analytics, allowing her to
translate data into insights and
for her clients. Since joining
The Gap Partnership in
2017, Martina has brought
her experience to bear in
negotiation capability with
clients throughout Asia.
Chris honed his management
skills at Coca-Cola, Courage
Beer and HP Bulmer. His
global career has delivered
a track record of profitgenerating
turnaround plans and
restructuring. Chris heads up
Global Consulting at The Gap
Partnership, and is a passionate
believer in the transformative
power of negotiation.
A keen student of negotiation,
Mike holds a BS in Conflict
Analysis Dispute Resolution,
and an MS in Negotiations
and Conflict Management.
He also has extensive commercial
experience in client management
strategy, supporting businesses
in multiple sectors to achieve
rapid ROI. Mike is now head
of The Gap Partnership’s UK
& MEAN practice.
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
EMMA SERVED FIVE TOURS OF AFGHANISTAN IN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE,
LEADING TEAMS TO COLLECT LIFE-SAVING INFORMATION. SHE NOW HEADS
UP THE APPLIED INFLUENCE GROUP AND HELPS INDIVIDUALS AND
BUSINESSES IMPROVE PERFORMANCE AND PROFITABILITY.
How did you end up working in
I was sponsored at University by the
RAF, and after graduation I began my
first tour in a tactical communications
unit. I served one tour of Afghanistan
in 2009 looking after the navigation
aids on Camp Bastion airfield, and
absolutely loved it! When I returned,
I wanted a role which would allow me
to make a more direct contribution,
which led me to Specialist Debriefing.
I completed another four tours of
Afghanistan in this role.
What was the most satisfying part
of your role?
Seeing my efforts make a tangible
impact on the battlespace. From the
recovery of IEDs (improvised explosive
devices), to gaining an important piece
of information about a senior insurgent
that meant we could prevent an
attack…it was very humbling.
And the most challenging?
Dealing with the fact that the highstakes
results were extremely difficult
to achieve! And knowing what failure
could mean. It was challenging having
to influence our way into collecting
life-saving information from the
Taliban, but so too having to influence
our way through a highly charged
political environment with multiple
‘dotted lines’ pulling on us, delivering
our information to some of the world’s
most demanding customers. I realized
that we were using the same influence
skills with the politicians as we were
with Taliban fighters and smugglers.
How important was the skill of
Incredibly important. We used the
fundamental principles every day. Most
of our work occurred at 9 – 12 o’clock
on the Clockface; it was complex,
relationship-based negotiation with
multiple stakeholders in an everchanging
landscape. There was the odd
hard bargain though, looking back on it!
How important are negotiation skills
to the art of influence?
Negotiation is one application of the
ability to influence. Influence is the
ability to effect change in another
person or organization in a mutually
beneficial way. Negotiation has many
more required skills than the ability to
influence, and influence has many more
applications than negotiation.
What has been your greatest
Possibly convincing my 4-year-old
nephew to hand over the control to the
novelty Christmas doorbell on Boxing
day. It was a tedious hour before that!
Any negotiation disasters?
Plenty! But I’ve learned something
from each. When we started our
business and began negotiating
commercially, we were approaching it
from our exclusively military reference
points. We had a huge amount of
knowledge, skill and experience,
but never before had we taken
responsibility for a P&L, commercially
negotiated with a client, or had to
worry about the intricate “watch-outs”
in a supplier’s contract. But you
What’s the most important lesson that
you’ve learned as a negotiator?
As above, learn quickly! Not just
about yourself, or individuals you’re
negotiating with to get inside their
head, but learn about other perspectives
on the skill itself. Don’t ever just see
negotiation as what you do inside
your business and within your role,
constantly develop yourself and look for
new methodologies and interpretations
in unfamiliar places.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever
Have conviction in your judgments and
unconscious response; if it feels wrong,
it usually is.
Children make natural negotiators, unhindered by a sense of fairness and
in possession of some very effective tactics. We asked TGP’ers and alumni
to tell us their stories of when a small person out-negotiated them.
“My 9-year-old has the simple tactic of devaluing the
thing you are negotiating on. It is amazing how quickly
he no longer cares about his Xbox!”
“I have always said for years that it is impossible to
negotiate with children, perhaps because of one particular
experience with my daughter. She threw something on the
floor which smashed into pieces. I asked her why she did it,
and her response was ‘It wasn’t me…!’. How can you possibly
negotiate with someone who is so unencumbered by the
normal values of society?”
“My 8-year-old daughter will always open extreme and will
ask for three or four cookies when I offer her one, knowing
full well that she will then settle for two. She also trades
concessions very well in trying to negotiate an ice cream
for eating her vegetables – even the ones she likes to eat.
And then when we have a deal on an amount of vegetables
to be eaten, she will try to reopen the negotiations and
negotiate a smaller quantity of vegetables. It’s
almost like she’s read the tactics list we feature
in our negotiation notebooks.”
“My children use conditionality instinctively,
although quite often they get the ‘If you…,
then I’ the wrong way round. For example,
they’ll turn off their tablets if I let them stay
up late; or they’ll eat their broccoli if we let
them have an ice cream after dinner.”
“My son Billy once said, ‘OK Daddy,
here’s the deal. I only watch five
minutes more TV and you read
me a story’. Of course, I’d be
happy to read him a story
anyway – but I was
impressed with his
use of conditional
“My nephew went with his dad to get the family car serviced,
and they were waiting in the coffee area of the BMW
showroom. As a bored 9-year-old he went off to look at the
shiny cars. The salesman came over to him and my nephew
decided to negotiate for the new 4 Series Convertible.
The salesman was so impressed that he played along, and
as they shook hands on a deal at half the asking price the
salesman told him to come back when he was 18 to pick up
his car and see if he wanted a job. He then gave him a BMW
cap and backpack. It’s amazing what you can get if you are
just cheeky enough to ask!”
“My 6-year-old daughter is a master in competitive
negotiations, expertly trading concessions with me: ‘If you
take away my iPad, I will take away your phone’; ‘if you give
me the last ice cream, then I will be nice to my brother’.”
“In Russia kids get two gifts for Christmas – one from
Santa Claus (or rather its local version Ded Moroz),
and one from their parents. My sister let my
mom believe that she still believed in Santa
Claus until she was 11. It’s a great example
of getting inside the other party’s head and
making low cost/high value trades. She
figured out that my mom loved the idea that
her little girl was still little, and she was
getting two gifts. Win-win!”
“My 5-year-old daughter’s answer to
my explanation about why she must
do something and what she can
get in return ‘If you…, then we’
was always a direct and firm ‘no’.
Then after only one or two moves
from my side she was ready to
accept it, feeling that she had
got something on top of the
original offer (satisfaction).
She is now 7 and has
become even more
a cry (flinch) to my
initial offer to make me
concede more quickly.”
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
N E G O T I A T I N G A T
THE TOP TABLE
How do the most powerful people on the planet negotiate,
and what can we learn from them? Steve Gates, CEO of
The Gap Partnership, introduces our special report.
The skill of effective negotiation is not only
critical to commercial contracts, partnership
agreements and problem solving but also
to how nations trade, manage conflicts and
promote their economies. It has always been of
great fascination to me how our political leaders
with their different personalities, backgrounds and
negotiation styles, shape the world that we live in.
Of course there are some obvious differences
between political and commercial negotiations.
Political negotiators are more likely to be
driven by their values and ideologies than those
negotiating in the business world. The result of
a political negotiation could have an impact as
significant as whether the negotiator is selected
for or retains their political office. Yet there is
something fundamental that negotiators from the
worlds of politics and business have in common
– a desire to reach the best possible outcome for
themselves that is also acceptable to the other side.
We asked TGP consultants from around the
world to set politics aside and assess the negotiation
style and strategy of just a few of the personalities
who are currently influencing world events.
ILLUSTRATIONS: STANLEY CHOW
BY THOMAS STRACK
Angela Merkel – crowned “The
World’s Most Powerful Woman”
by Forbes Magazine for the seventh
consecutive year – has enjoyed a
meteoric rise to the top. Within 18
months from her first political steps
she was running her own ministry,
and subsequently became leader of
the Christian Democratic Union
Party (CDU), and then the first
female German Chancellor.
Circumstance endowed Merkel
with many vote-winning credentials
that the CDU needed – she was female,
Protestant, East German and crucially
had no ”Stasi” associations. But it was
her shrewdness and negotiation skill
in one critical meeting that sealed
her political future. Taking place at a
CDU convention the evening before
German reunification, she spotted
an opportunity to have an audience
with Chancellor Kohl. Three months
later she was sworn in as the Federal
Minister for Women and Youth.
Merkel later admitted the result
of this meeting with Kohl – and
the negotiation it surely contained
– exceeded her expectations. But
it’s possible to deduce some likely
principles from her approach that can
be applied in the commercial world:
1. Understand the perceived balance
of power you hold. Find out how the
other party views you. You may have
more power than you think!
2. Use time and/or circumstances to
your advantage to obtain more power.
For example, if you (in Procurement)
know one of your suppliers has just
lost a huge contract, you may be able
to source from them under better
conditions than was previously possible.
Equally, if you (in Sales) know your
customer has run out of stock and
desperately needs your product, you
may be able to sell at better conditions
than was previously possible.
3. Don’t automatically credit a
higher-ranking colleague with more
power than they have. Your boss may
need you much more than you think
(even if only to shine themselves).
4. Build relationships of trust
with key decision makers to find out
about underlying interests, priorities,
opportunities and possible (new)
5. Seek to maximize the value of the
agreement, rather than aim for what
you want. If you already have a defined
objective in mind, you might achieve
it – but miss out on additional value
that the other party may have been
willing to give to you if you had been
BY IVAN JANKOVIC AND ALEX STEFAN
Prime Minister Trudeau is a
charismatic leader, whose youth,
pleasant demeanor and looks are
regularly commented on by the world’s
press. But what kind of negotiator is
he? As a Canadian, it should be no
surprise that he prefers negotiating
collaboratively. He feels at home in
situations with high levels of trust,
where both parties are able to reach
agreement and grow mutual value.
However, while some believe he can
be too “fair”, he has shown leadership
and authority in tougher negotiations,
often using silence and his right not
to answer questions to his advantage.
In the ongoing North America
Free Trade renegotiations, which the
US presidential election campaign
placed firmly on the agenda, Trudeau
has prepared Canada well. He has
demonstrated an understanding
of negotiation strategy and the
importance of planning, using the Law
of Satisfaction by premeditatedly losing
ground on certain issues in order
to deliver satisfaction to the other
party and gain advantage elsewhere.
Of course, he is not negotiating
alone, and Trudeau clearly understands
that a negotiation team is only as strong
as the individuals within it. He has
assembled a commercially experienced
team led by Foreign Affairs Minister
Chrystia Freeland, alongside chief
negotiators from the Trans-Pacific
Partnership and the EU-Canada
Comprehensive Economic and Trade
Agreement. In short, these are Canada’s
best trained professional negotiators
within the public policy arena.
Coolheadedness is a trait that all
skilled negotiators possess. Trudeau’s
has been tested by Donald Trump’s
claim that America has a trade deficit
with Canada. Despite the provocation,
he has remained silent and forbidden
both cabinet ministers and senior
officials from responding. Instead
he appeals to the common sense
of his counterparts, pointing out
the consequences of not getting to
a deal, and remaining steadfast in
Trudeau’s preparation, team,
and resoluteness on key issues for
Canada will be the driving forces
behind securing a good and mutually
satisfactory trade deal for all parties
involved. Only time will tell exactly
how successful he will be.
BY PYOTR SVIRIDOV
In March Putin secured a fourth
term in office in a landslide victory
in the Russian presidential elections.
It should come as no surprise that
this most experienced of world
leaders is an expert in negotiation
strategy with a vast repertoire of tactics
at his disposal. Here is just a selection
of the methods he uses to gain control
and secure his objectives.
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
The waiting game
Putin’s tardiness is legendary. He was
the only world leader who was late to
meet the Queen. That was by a mere
14 minutes; the Pope had to wait for
50 minutes and the Prime Minister of
Japan for over an hour. If deliberate,
this tactic can be used to instill anxiety
and a loss of control in a counterparty,
leaving them weakened before the
negotiation has started.
The fear factor
Angela Merkel may have wished Putin
had kept her waiting, when in a now
infamous incident he allowed his large
black Labrador to stroll into the room
where they were meeting – knowing
she was terrified of dogs. The resulting
TV footage shows the German
Chancellor looking nervous as the dog
prowls around her, while Putin sprawls
on his chair, surveying the scene with
an amused expression.
There is no doubt that Putin can
“play nice”. Possessed of great personal
charm, he can be humble, courteous,
and entertaining company. But at
the same time he talks tough on the
issues. The effect on his counterparty
is discombobulating, and can lead to
concessions being given away
Talk about your number
There is one opposition leader whose
name Putin refuses to say, even when
asked a direct question about him.
At The Gap Partnership we teach
the importance of talking about your
number, not theirs. This is a very
personal application of that principle.
Eye to eye
Putin looks up and to the right when
speaking. Research has shown that
looking upwards to your left can be
associated with lying, and looking up
to the right with telling the truth – so
always looking up and to the right will
confuse anyone who is trying to decode
your body language.
As any student of negotiation will
recognize, Putin’s tactics are, quite
literally, “by the book”. It’s reputed
that even Donald Trump refrained
from using his famous steel-like grip
handshake on him, as if he knew it
would be no match.
BY TIM GREEN
heresa May’s negotiation capability
T has come under intense scrutiny
as the move towards the final terms
of Brexit draw closer. How successful
that deal will be is hard to predict, not
least because she has little international
negotiation experience. While on paper
that may not seem ideal, ironically it
could play to her advantage, since her
27 counterparties will not have much
to go on to build a picture of her.
Some commentators suggest May has
abundant qualities that will benefit
Britain at the Brexit negotiation table;
her critics are able to put together a
counterargument just as easily. But
what objective evidence is there that
gives an indication of how she
May’s style as a politician was
dogged determination and an unshowy
focus on simply getting the job done.
Perhaps this less than headlinegrabbing
modus operandi explains
the fascination the media have with
her more extrovert taste in shoes. But
media coverage notwithstanding, David
Cameron was quoted as saying she was
the person he least liked negotiating
with because of this persistence and
Indeed, according to her former
Chief of Staff, Andrew Griffiths,
May recognized early on that being in
government requires an unrelenting
attention to detail, meticulous
preparation and planning, and plain
old fashioned graft. These are all traits
that any successful negotiator will
recognize. But there is a downside; her
critics suggest that May’s obsession
with understanding all of the detail can
hamper her decision making. When the
clock is ticking on a negotiation, the
ability to be decisive is crucial.
A quiet character, May presents
as calm and authoritative, seemingly
highly unlikely to succumb to an
emotional outburst. In the inevitably
heated atmosphere of the multi-party
negotiation that will be Brexit,
this would serve her well. But her
reserve can project as icy and cold,
and may make it hard for her to
leverage personal relationships or use
charm to influence others at the table.
It will be fascinating to watch the
Brexit negotiations play out to their
conclusion, with Theresa May at the
helm. However it unfolds, it seems
likely that her reputation as a
negotiator will be firmly sealed in
one direction or another.
BY CHRIS WEBBER
Donald Trump is not a man about
whom people have no opinion.
Love him or loathe him, it is hard to
ignore him simply because he is one
of the most powerful men on earth.
But if you were to negotiate against
him, how would you get inside his
head and understand the man
behind the persona?
The first step is to ignore rhetoric
and opinion and gather facts.
The 13-year-old Trump was sent to
military boarding school after being
caught traveling into Manhattan
He studied real estate at university.
He vowed to be bigger and better than
one of his inspirations, property developer
He became a TV personality, appearing in
He is a prolific “tweeter”, using the
medium to communicate his thoughts
and opinions around the world.
In considering these facts, what
conclusions could his counterparty draw?
He is independent and maverick.
External recognition of his achievements
is important to him. He enjoys the
limelight and is a master at overcoming
He is competitive.
He uses preconditioning. His statements
and tweets are indicators of intent, ahead
of any action. They prepare counterparties
for what is to come and pave the way for
his desired outcome.
A negotiation in which he has
shown some of these traits is the
North America Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA), a deal between Canada,
the US and Mexico. Trump’s stated
priority to protect the US economy
at the expense of all others, and his
threats to cancel the agreement and
close US borders to Mexico, has left
some in no doubt that he could walk
away from NAFTA – even if from a
macroeconomic perspective this may
be viewed as illogical.
Whatever your opinion of
Donald Trump, he should not be
underestimated as a negotiator. His
qualities of pride, competitiveness
and independence, and his ability to
control the media message and leverage
power (both real and perceived), give
him a perceived position of strength.
As perception in negotiation is reality,
any counterparty of Trump’s must
understand his traits and how they
may play out by thoroughly planning,
preparing and “getting inside his head”.
That is, if they want to give themselves
a chance of securing a good deal.
BY CYRIL FONTAINE
Emmanuel Macron’s position as
France’s youngest ever elected
President, coupled with the speed
with which he rose to power, is
remarkable. How has he achieved
such success? Three negotiation
tactics have contributed.
Identify opportunities presented through
time and circumstance
In the 2013 hit movie, “Now You See
Me”, an FBI agent and an Interpol
Detective hunt a team of illusionists
who pull off bank heists during their
shows. Perhaps film-goers were drawn
to the subject matter of magic and
one of its principles, “misdirection”,
in which the attention of an audience
is focused on one thing in order to
distract its attention from another.
Macron has benefited from
misdirection. Dominique Strauss-
Kahn’s arrest in New York before the
French elections, and the series of
scandals revealed against Macron’s
rival François Fillon at a similarly
politically sensitive time, both served to
“misdirect” public attention unfavorably
to the two main political parties. These
events represented a power shift to
Macron which he duly maximized,
quietly building momentum for his
The art of preparation and
Before Macron launched his
campaign, he built a support base
in two environments – business
and government. As an investment
banker he was responsible for a
multibillion dollar deal between
Nestlé and Pfizer that gained him
some rich and influential friends.
Upon moving into politics he served
as Deputy Secretary General in
François Hollande’s government,
and was then appointed Minister of
Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs.
Both careers gave Macron a legion of
allies. In negotiation, especially when
collaborative, relationships are key.
Phrases that progress
At The Gap Partnership we have two
phrases which appear contradictory,
but actually complement each other:
“The more you say, the more you give
away”, and “Words that caress, phrases
that progress”. Talking too much
may hamper a negotiator, but verbal
dexterity can reap powerful results.
Macron has cleverly demonstrated this.
He is adept at gaining broad support
by stating two conflicting things at the
same time, so appealing to both camps.
One of Macron’s favorite phrases, “et en
même temps” (“while” or “meanwhile”),
enables him to segue from one
opposing philosophy to another in
the same sentence. Et voilà! – the
opposing factions both agree with
what he’s saying.
BY IVAN HUNG
The leader of North Korea’s secretive
regime, Kim Jong-un, is perhaps
not a believer in the saying, “Don’t
judge a book by its cover”. He appears
to care deeply about his image, which
suggests that he understands the power
of appearance, and the associations that
go with that – something the skilled
negotiator should also be aware of. In
Jong-un’s case, this has meant a new
hairstyle, a hat, considerable weight
gain, and rumoured plastic surgery.
Korea-watchers say he is modeling
himself on his grandfather, Kim Il-sung,
who ruled between 1945 and 1994 and is
unassailable in North Korea.
Such tactics could be compared to
the concept of “putting your negotiation
jacket on” – deliberately assuming
a persona for your negotiation that
may not be reflective of your own
personality, but will achieve the best
possible outcome. And at the very least,
it is highly appropriate that you give
thought to your appearance to ensure
it sends the message you want it to – if
you are in a formal meeting, wear the
appropriate attire unless there is an
advantage in not doing so.
Of course it’s also actions that matter
in negotiation. Kim has shown skill in
managing expectations. In 2017, CNN
reported that North Korea conducted
multiple missile tests, executed
“criminals” in school yards, and that
Kim had assassinated his half brother,
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
It had been a tumultuous and,
to the rest of the world, disquieting
year. Then on January 1st 2018, Kim
Jong-un reminded the world that he
has “a button” on his desk. With the
Winter Olympics in South Korea
just weeks away, the situation was
delicate. Kim finally announced his
intention to participate in the Games.
His declaration was enthusiastically
welcomed by the administration of
Seoul, whose expectations had been
suppressed to rock bottom levels. Kim
had delivered maximum satisfaction
to them by opening extreme (a year of
reported aggression) and then moving
from that opening position (confirmed
attendance at the Games).
There is plenty of evidence that
the Supreme Leader is a man who
deliberately and expertly calculates the
effect of everything he does. Something
that a skilled negotiator should also do.
BY ANGELA BARBAZENI
Jacinda Ardern was sworn in as Prime
Minster of New Zealand in October
2017. It followed weeks of intense
negotiations with the Green and NZ
First parties. It may have come as a
surprise to the world, and to some
extent Ardern herself, but in fact her
rockstar-like popularity and youth has
already drawn comparisons to those
other likable liberal leaders Trudeau
Her critics dismiss her as more
personality than policies, but it
could be argued that she has deftly
used elements of her personality to
gain power at the negotiating table.
Described as having an “uncultivated
charm”, her down to earth nature and
straightforward approach to politics
is becoming synonymous with her
success. And while her empathy
undoubtedly won her votes, it may
also have enabled her to get inside
her counterparts’ heads during the
Indeed, Ardern’s winning over
of NZ First leader Winston Peters
appears to be due to her focus on
shared ground, such as rejecting foreign
investment and a renegotiation of trade
deals, rather than differences on social
issues. Reportedly she brought Peters’
favorite cookies to their negotiations, a
canny touch designed to smooth talks
with the cantankerous elder statesman.
Openness is another Ardern trait.
She spoke about both her desire to
have a family and her anxiety about
achieving the elusive work-life balance.
While some see this as weakness,
it has also helped to build trust and
disarm critics. Combine this openness
with the steeliness of purpose that she
exhibited when forced to respond to
repeated questions about her plans for
parenthood – “It is totally unacceptable
in 2017 to say that women should
have to answer that question in the
workplace” – and you have a
Inevitably “Jacindamania” will fade,
and only time will tell how successful
Ardern will be in office. What is not in
doubt will be her need to draw on her
considerable negotiation expertise.
BY CAMPBELL GRAHAM
If a phrase could epitomize Cyril
Ramaphosa, it would be “the
negotiator”. His charm and charisma,
ruthless eye for his opponents’
weaknesses, and expertise in the art
of “letting them have his way”, have
underpinned his success in both
political and business life. Yet he also
cuts a determinedly low-key figure,
the very definition of a man who
makes himself hard to obtain.
His negotiation prowess has been
demonstrated over decades with a
line-up of achievements – a key figure
in the struggle to dismantle apartheid;
the creator of a business empire and
personal fortune; President of the
African National Congress (ANC).
Then in February 2018, Ramaphosa
fulfilled his long-held ambition
and took office as the President
of South Africa.
His reputation for being a wily
dealmaker was forged in the 80s when
he fought for improved wages and
conditions for miners. Astutely, he
focused on getting benefits for both
the workers and the mining industry.
This pragmatism was accompanied
by toughness and an understanding of
how the balance of power can be tilted
with a simple maneuvre. Above all,
he showed “conscious competence” –
capable of displaying immense charm
or controlled anger, as appropriate.
These skills caught the eye of
Nelson Mandela, who identified
Ramaphosa as “one of the ablest of the
new generation of leadership”. Making
him lead negotiator for the ANC in
talks over the end of apartheid paid off
handsomely when he got the minority
National Party government to agree
to fair elections for a democratic state
governed by a progressive constitution,
in effect authoring their own demise.
He achieved this with the same clinical
precision as from his union days,
showing relentless persuasiveness,
pragmatism, and a mastery of tactics
“The negotiator”, if it were his
moniker, is one well-earned. Cyril
Ramaphosa is a man who recognizes
and demonstrates mastery of this most
critical of political and commercial
skills. South Africa has a leader who
can negotiate. TNS
The Negotiation Society: What did you do before
becoming a negotiation consultant?
Martina: My background is in market research,
specializing in the FMCG and Retail sectors. I led and
managed qualitative and quantitative research projects
on a variety of brands and products – everything from
washing powder to orange juice and cars. My research
was used to define brand proposition, stress test
marketing strategy, agree pricing frameworks and
set commercial targets.
TNS: How has that helped your understanding
Martina: Well, the very first thing we did at the start of
any research project was a deep dive into understanding
our client and the business problem or issue that they
had asked us to help solve. What we were doing was
“getting inside their head” – a concept that I now refer
to on a daily basis as I advise and support businesses
and individuals with their negotiations.
TNS: Any tricks of the trade for how to “get inside the
other party’s head” before a negotiation?
Martina: It’s not rocket science, but it does require a
systematic and strategic approach, and enough time to
do it properly. Whether it’s a market research project
or you are preparing for a negotiation, you should
be looking at four things: the company, individuals,
market trends, and the end user. A good starting place
will always be the annual report and other published
information to get a handle on how the business is
doing. Although this seems obvious it’s amazing how
many people don’t bother looking at this! But it’s
publicly available information that anyone can access,
and can provide valuable insight into how the business
is performing, what challenges they are facing, and
what their outlook on the future is.
It’s also well worth investing the time talking to
people – and listening! This helps to build up a detailed
picture of what’s driving both the individuals, and
the business issues. Another benefit is that you start
to speak their language. This creates the perception
of common ground and paves the way for more
collaborative working, something that will help in any
high-level commercial project. At the end of the day
it’s people you’re working with and for.
Tricks of my Trade
In the first of a new series we ask a TGP consultant to tell us
a way in which their commercial experience has influenced
the way they think about negotiation. Martina Hui from the
Hong Kong office is first in the hot seat.
TNS: What if you can’t talk to someone?
Martina: A simple tip is to look at their LinkedIn
profiles – obvious I know, but again it’s surprising how
many people either don’t bother doing this, or have
only a quick look. But you can get so much useful
information from it – not just an idea of who they are
through their personal profiles and experience and
backgrounds, but also what makes them tick – look at
who’s in their networks, whether they’ve recommended
anyone, or been recommended, which groups they
are following, what activity they’ve liked. You can
also check out whether they are a member of
The Negotiation Society, which indicates a high
level of negotiation expertise – good news for any
TNS: Any favorite other external sources
Martina: Yes. The World Happiness Report is a
survey that ranks 156 countries on various measures,
to get an overall happiness score. This can help brands
assess things like how much consumers in different
countries are likely to spend (the happier they
are the more the wallet comes out!), whether
they will support more varieties, what colors
appeal the most, etc. And if you’re in a
category like travel or outdoor ice cream,
you can expect higher consumption in
a happier year. It’s a fascinating way of
linking global trends of emotion with the
resulting consumer behavior.
TNS: Can you ever have too
Martina: Maybe. Negotiation is about
power, and power is about information.
But it has to be relevant. You need
to select and filter it and use the
relevant bits. As part of this,
carefully choose what you are
going to share in order to
build trust – and equally,
what you are not if that
is to your advantage.
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
Mike Kamins considered himself a pretty skillful
negotiator. But a visit to a Moroccan souk with his
wife showed how emotion can derail even the most
embedded of negotiation principles.
Let me tell you about my wife. She’s
more intelligent than I am – brighter,
more creative and imaginative. She’s
also more thoughtful and caring, more
well-rounded and polished. She has
a knack for finding the beauty in people. (And
homewares). I mean, you marry up in life, right?
But I fancy myself a decent negotiator, and if
forced to pick between the two of us, I’d venture
that I might stand a bit taller in the world of
commercial negotiation. Bear all of this in mind as
I now relay for you a story.
My wife and I moved to the UK from America
on 1st March 2017. Among the many exciting
opportunities this continental shift allowed,
nothing was more thrilling than the ability to travel
outside the fifty states to faraway, magical places.
Fast forward to February 2018, and the best
laid plans... Apart from work trips to a few places
in the UK, Sarah and I had only taken one real
trip together since moving to London. That
was to Paris – not so far and not so away, albeit
magical. For all the allure of its stylish bars and
warm baguettes, having been a few times prior,
we yearned to go somewhere new. Somewhere
with mystique and panache, somewhere rife
with excitement and perhaps just a bit of danger.
Somewhere with...a kiddie pool. (Yep, I
have a nearly 3-year-old, my right hand man.
If you’re thinking, “why bring him?”, then that
conversation is for another day). We chose the
wonders of Marrakesh.
It wasn’t lost on us that Morocco has become
a bit of a tourist destination, but for this lessthan-world-traveled
American family, exploring
Africa seemed pretty damn
exciting, not to mention a great
shopping opportunity. As longtime
design mavens (well, in
any case, Architectural Digest
subscribers), Sarah and I had
longed for a real Moroccan
carpet that was not mass
produced and retailed
by the likes of Pottery
Barn. Not only did this
destination cover exotic
and magical, it was also a
consumer savvy selection.
With the picturesque Atlas Mountains
as our background, we embarked on our adventure
where we were soon to learn that food tastes fresher
than at my local Whole Foods, riding a camel is
commonplace for some but thrilling for others
(me), cabbies chatter in English until bartering the
fare, and negotiating for everything from carpets to
trinkets in souks was each day’s mission. All in all,
this seemed a perfect trip.
On our third day, we decided our son deserved a
holiday of his own (read: a morning in kids club at
the hotel), and off we went, two naïve Americans,
seeking out the joys and challenges of the souk.
We prepped – oh man, did we prep. Sarah and I
had discussed on the flight over that we sometimes
make decisions emotionally, and that our impending
carpet purchasing opportunity should be strategic.
“Negotiation should not be driven by emotion,”
I advised Sarah wisely, adding that a successful
negotiator can “read the other party’s body language
and adjust accordingly, shifting the other party’s
behavior to our benefit.” My wife nodded,
Mike and Sarah
into the souk
a good deal.
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
How to haggle
in the souk
confirmed that she understood, and
was ready to see me in action. To say I
was supremely confident would be an
overstatement. But equally, to say I was
eager would be a supreme understatement.
Having been warned of the men with the monkeys on
their shoulders, relentlessly seeking out dirham for picture
opportunities, I gave Sarah a firm and final warning as we
stepped out of the cab: “There’s no need to be your normal
lovely, polite, engaging self. Although we’ll be pleasant, we
(you) can be firm with these folks and say ‘no’.”
We made it at least ten feet. Sarah grasped the first
outstretched hand positioned her way, sweetly saying, “Good
morning!” The uncomfortable sensation was immediate. An
animal we had only ever experienced from the other side of
a cage was now sitting on her shoulder. Many hundreds of
dirham later and a beautiful picture or two, we made our way
into the winding alleys of the inner souk, minus the monkey.
Rarely do things in life meet or exceed expectations.
“Although we’ll be pleasant,
we (you) can be firm with
these folks and say ‘no’...
In this case, the souk was exactly as imagined, and even
more thrilling. We wended our way through the vast sea
of vendors, each saying their prices could be less than
usual for us because we were “the first customer of the day,
which is good luck!” We smiled knowingly at each other.
What marvelous good fortune, huh? Who knew that of the
hundreds of locals and tourists meandering through, we
were the first people purchasing anything, at any kiosk,
from any vendor?
We had an agenda, a plan – and a potty-training kid at
kids club that we needed to get back to relatively quickly – so
we hurriedly went deeper into the winding stalls, seeking out
the carpet that would bring happiness (and style) to our lives,
and our home.
As is often the case, things happened in an instant.
A man befriended us and we were led hand-in-hand
through countless purveyors of distinct weaves and blends.
We fast-stepped by vibrant reds, greens, and blues through
a door that felt much too small to enter, deep into a shop
that felt much too large to ever exit. Ceilings and staircases
beautifully crafted, rich with the skilled designs of a master
Thuya manipulator, surrounded the most fantastic array of
carpets we’d ever seen. In truth, there must have been thousands.
As mint tea was offered, not accepted, yet poured and
sipped, Sarah and I were taken on a shopping, or rather, a
spending experience like none other. After what felt like
close to an hour (twelve minutes or so), we found the size,
style, and look we (she) wanted.
Now it was my turn. The stage light shone down on
me, and my job as “Chief Negotiator” began. Armed with
an M.Sc. in Negotiations, a career of successful outcomes,
and six years working for TGP, I was ready.
The music started, and the dance begun.
“$600“, said the man with the engaging smile.
“No thanks”, I said, careful not to mention the number so
as not to give it credibility. “Listen friend, we’ve only just
arrived at the souk, so we’ll go take a look at other vendors
and come back.” Clearly he had heard this line (and every
other line) before. He now exchanged engaging for a bit of
mischievous, and the smile signaled our move from ‘waltz’ to
‘swing’. Back and forth we swayed, two professionals at work,
trading tactics and techniques as we continued along the
price narrative. As we steered towards $300, I thought we
were finally getting somewhere. Cue our demise.
It wasn’t her fault. In truth it was no one’s fault. It creeps
up on you, and before you know it, that sneaky fella named
emotion jumps out. “That sounds fair. We could put it on
credit!”, came innocently from Sarah’s lips. Let’s be clear, I
was also thinking it.
Quicker than a blink, he had us. Perceived power swung
across the negotiation Clockface, and my talent took a
backseat to my bemusement. My skilled friend moved away
from the 60-40 split of attention he had with us and went
90-10 hard. Sarah was now the object of his affection. One
carpet became “a deal” at two, and $300 now became his
“best and final”. As if there ever is, or was, such a thing.
I’ll save you the outcome in order to protect my ego and
marriage, but do know one thing. You may arm yourself with
impeccable skill, immense learning, and professional tools
and tactics in negotiation. However, none of them holds a
candle to the raw human emotion you feel when negotiating
for something that your loved one (and you) desperately
wants. Whether or not I got that price under $300 is not the
lesson here. The lesson here is we bought an authentic, Beni
Ourain carpet from Morocco, and damn if it doesn’t make
Sarah smile. Me too, of course.
Whether the juice was worth the squeeze? Well, I sure
think so. I’d have paid so much more for the smile. TNS
THE MORE YOU SAY, THE MORE YOU GIVE AWAY
The number one watch-out in negotiation is talking too much. When
faced with an uncomfortable situation like silence, people have the
tendency to fill the gap. The rug seller doesn’t need to know that you’ve
already imagined where the rug will go in your house, or that you might
have space on a credit card for the purchase. Sharing information of this
nature diminishes your strength within the situation, making it harder
to stand firm on price.
If the intention is to negotiate, why open with the exact amount of
money you will pay or accept? Instead open lower than the expected
cost. When you do this, three things happen. Firstly, you shift the
expectations of the seller, i.e. you may alter their initial thoughts – in
a downward direction – about how much you will be prepared to pay.
Second, you do so to give a bit of it away. Yes, you heard right! You’ll
be able to show concessions in price (albeit in a planned way) in order
to invoke the Law of Reciprocity. Third, you are testing the assumption
of the seller’s breakpoint. Your ability to gauge their behavioral reaction
can, and often does, allow for you to maximize more of the deal.
(Although bear in mind the average souk-stall owner in Morocco
is a master of the flinch!).
GET YOUR NUMBER DOWN FIRST
Often, allowing the other party to speak their number first is considered
good negotiating, and this might be appropriate at times. People reason
that this allows them to play off of the initial proposal and therefore
determine their move plan. However, if you allow the stall owner
to go first, you have inadvertently allowed them to gain ‘home field
advantage’, and risk having your initial proposal altered based on their
perceived expectations. Try putting your number on the table first and
then watch for the behavioral cues that determine if they are able to
meet your position. Skilled negotiators lead, they rarely follow.
Make your initial proposal and prepare for a counter proposal. When
it comes, try not moving off of your price, instead utilize silence. Then
reiterate your position and allow for silence to again take over. After
some time has passed, begrudgingly (and with a set plan) begin to move
in ever decreasing amounts. Anchoring your position can lead to more
advantageous deals, as well as removing the generosity that significant
and numerous moves shows within a hard bargaining situation. Always
remember, people value things that are hard to obtain. Make them work
for it. In Morocco, that’s all part of the fun!
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
Whether you’re fielding a large negotiation team, or handling it all yourself,
understanding and implementing the different roles required will help you
deliver a great result. Kelly Harborne explains why.
INSTRUCTION MANUAL FOR A
WINNING NEGOTIATION LINEUP
Imagine your favorite team sport – soccer, netball, hockey...
whatever gets you excited – in which the players are not
assigned a position. No shooters or center forwards; no
defense, midfield or wingers. Even, and quite possibly
the most disastrously, no goalkeepers. Or if you’re not such a
sports fan, picture instead a management team with no CEO,
CFO, CMO…and so on. I’m fairly certain the results would
be chaotic. And although it’s stretching credibility to imagine
such scenarios in the first place, I will never cease to be
amazed at how often in the commercial world a negotiation
team will fail to assign each other specific roles. It is just as
remiss and with the same potential for a suboptimal result.
On our workshops there is a pivotal moment in which
group roles are explained, assigned and practiced in case
study role plays. And things start to fall into place. If you are
one of our alumni you will recall that there are four critical
roles in a negotiating team: Leader, Spokesperson, Figures
Person and Observer.
The Leader is the manager and decision maker.
The Spokesperson is the communicator and
first line of contact.
The Figures Person is the commercial engine room,
manging the numbers.
The Observer is the team’s eyes and ears, getting
inside their head.
That’s all well and good if you have a team of four
people or more, but the reality for most people is that they
frequently negotiate alone or in teams of two people. So I’m
going to focus on the four roles and consider two things – the
activities of each role, and how we combine these activities
when negotiating solo or with a single colleague.
Let’s go back to first principles for a moment and
understand why, as negotiators, we need a separation of
activities. The simple fact is that humans are not very good at
multitasking. While we can combine basic or well-practiced
tasks that use unrelated mental and physical resources – for
example listening to the news on the radio while driving –
once you add in any degree of complexity, things start to get
messy. The additional demands on the brain can result in
interference with performance on one or more of the tasks.
To put this in a negotiation context, if you’re trying to record
proposals and work out what the numbers mean, you will
find it challenging to observe the body language of your
counterparty at the same time. (It’s worth noting at this point
that it’s estimated that around 2.5% of the population are
“supertaskers” who are better than the norm at multitasking,
but to put it politely the chances are you’re not one of them).
The four negotiation roles can be categorized into these
activities: Thinking, Talking, Calculating, and Watching
and Listening. Essentially, whether in a team or especially
if you are alone, you should only be engaged in one of the
Thinking, Talking or Calculating activities at any one time
– although it’s certainly true that it is very difficult to watch
and listen at the same time as you are calculating.
The reason for this is one of quality control. I can only
think about a decision I need to make if I am sure I have
completed my calculations correctly. I can only communicate
clearly if I am sure I have reached the right decision. I can
only watch and listen once I can see the reaction to my
communication. And I can only recalculate effectively if I
have some form of reaction or response on which to base my
recalculation. Contrary to some Hollywood-style portrayals
of commercial negotiations, a really professionally conducted
negotiation is a deliberate, even laborious process – not the
most compelling spectator sport, unless you are a bit of a
negotiation obsessive like I am.
When we negotiate alone it is still a recommended mental
discipline to consciously be aware of which activity we are
presently performing and to focus on that activity until we
have completed it and can move on to the next activity
in the sequence.
The simple fact is that
humans are not very good
So, when I am negotiating alone, I will first assume the
role of Leader. I will introduce myself in tone and language
which are consistent with the climate I want to create and
make a short Statement of Purpose outlining what I want to
achieve from the discussion. I will then consciously switch
into a Spokesperson role and make a pre-prepared proposal
or ask a question. As I do this, I have my head up with my
eyes scanning those opposite and my ears pricked, watching
and listening for a reaction as an Observer. At some stage, I
will get a counterproposal, at which point I will give a brief
response as Spokesperson before reverting to my Figures role
to evaluate the commercial impact of their offer, before again
slipping once more into Leader role to decide whether this is
acceptable or whether I should formulate a further proposal,
starting the cycle of activity again.
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
• Aside from making the decisions and creating the required
climate the Leader’s job is to manage the team.
• Direct your Figures colleague on the kind of analysis you need
or the kind of proposal you want formulated.
• Instruct your Spokesperson on the line of questioning you want
them to pursue. Use your Spokesperson as a shield – if you, as
ultimate decision-maker, engage in direct dialogue with the
counterparty, you run the risk of being put under pressure which
is not where a decision-maker wants to be. Political leaders will often
send a spokesperson to make significant announcements because a
spokesperson can legitimately refuse to answer journalists’ questions
on the grounds of empowerment.
• Whenever you know that your Spokesperson is about to make a
significant, or potentially deal-closing proposal, tell your Observer
to be on their toes and watch the reaction.
• It is not inappropriate for a Leader to make interventions but
employ The Law of Scarcity and be selective. If you have been
sitting for half an hour without saying anything and then you speak,
your words carry more weight by invoking The Law of Authority.
• If you adjourn or take a time-out, tell your counterparty what aspect
of the deal you want them to focus on during the recess and what
you expect to hear upon resumption in terms of a proposal.
THE FIGURES PERSON
• Have a few ready reckoners to hand – know
the gross profit impact of an extra 100,000
units of volume.
• Create proposals that automatically generate
value through “cause and effect” – “For every
additional 50,000 units we buy, we automatically
receive an additional 1% discount”.
• Create proposals that give options. This
generates satisfaction because it affords the
other side the chance to choose. They then
think they are in charge but they are choosing
from my menu.
• Identify key variables which need to be
progressed in the early stages – you can
mop up some of the detail later.
• Make sure you don’t trade away all the lowcost,
high-value opportunities early on. The
temptation is to make rapid progress but
every negotiation has an endgame and it is
important to retain some leverage to get the
deal over the line.
• Trust your colleagues. You may not understand the proposal your
leader is giving you but they have had the time to think, the access
to the numbers and the support of their Figures person. Don’t
undermine the proposal with an incredulous glance at your colleagues.
• Build trust in early exchanges by offering up information.
Make it obvious that you are taking them into your confidence.
This creates a greater willingness for them to reciprocate and
disclose information in return.
• You can create subconscious empathy by “mirroring” the tonality,
pace, volume and nonverbal communication of your counterparty.
People empathize with others who are like them so study your
counterparty’s style and adapt your behavior accordingly.
• Table “sample” proposals in early exchanges – along the lines of, “So,
if we came back to you with a proposal seeking a longer contract in
return for improved pricing, is that something you would listen to?”
That gives you a clear steer on the proposal you need to work on and
reduces potential resistance since they know what is coming.
• Don’t sacrifice clarity for climate – if a message needs to be
communicated, make sure it lands, even if they won’t like it.
Climate is about trust, integrity and credibility, not treading on
eggshells. You can always repair any climate damage.
• Learn to read upside down.
• Make sure you sit in a position where you can
easily scan all the faces opposite without having
to shift in your seat.
• When a multivariable proposal is made, listen to
which variable they comment on first. There is
usually a reason for that.
• Don’t watch their Spokesperson, everyone else
is looking at them. Watch the Leader and the
Figures guy – they know where the deal stands,
the Spokesperson doesn’t.
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
IF I WERE A
By Chris Atkins
CNO DAY ONE | To do
Thorough review of all
and their practices
It might be easier to look around the
business and assess which departments
are not involved in negotiation in one
form or another. There are, however, the
obvious ones: Sales, Procurement, Supply
Chain, Employee Relations, IT, Marketing
and Facilities Management. How do they
negotiate? What is their annual negotiation
timetable and planning process? I would
want to understand not just where the
biggest savings could be derived, but also
where are the quick wins? It’s likely that
Procurement will have well-established
processes, but FM, IT and Marketing may
be less disciplined in their approach,
despite the huge budgets involved.
Redefine negotiation processes
Next, I’d want to develop a common
framework for negotiation. It’s a truism that
negotiation is the same process whether you
are a buyer or a seller; two sides of the same
coin. So, how much can we standardize,
which would ease reporting, reduce
complexity and embed a common language?
Create an organizational
structure for success
If I worked on the principle of a negotiationled
structure, I would organize those
negotiation-heavy departments in a
different way, with different reporting
structures and oversight.
Install governance process and
I would want to make sure that negotiations
of similar value were treated alike and
recently wrote an article for The Negotiation Society
online, suggesting that the time was right to appoint
a Chief Negotiating Officer. While I had thought I
was on to something, the reaction to the article was really
encouraging – not only did it create a great deal of debate
and positive comment, there were even a number of applicants!
This led me to consider what it would be like turning up
for work on day one at a large multinational organization as
their newly-appointed CNO. What are the “Things To Do”
that I would write on my iPad? I’m sure that there are
many more sub-tasks and refinements along the road,
but I’m confident that, if all of these ‘to-dos’ were actioned
effectively, we’d have a strong chance of success.
Now, where did I put those CVs?
that a clear escalation and communication
procedure was in place, based on certain
parameters. This would ensure that
all stakeholders were supporting the
negotiations and providing sound guidance.
Create a common organizational
Tools need to be just that – an aid to greater
success. So developing a toolkit that aids the
planning and thinking in negotiation will ease
pressure on the doing. It will also bring the
benefits of easier reporting and provide
a “corporate memory” of past negotiations.
It would be vital that, if we were going to
integrate a negotiation culture, we should
ensure that the skills and behaviors of
negotiation were understood at every level
– top to bottom. There is no point in training
junior team members if their manager doesn’t
get it and destroys their learning. There is
no point in training your CPO if the CEO
has the final word and can overturn great
Understand the payback
opportunities from the investment
Of course, there would be a payback
expectation. Many of the items further up
the list will require investment and will cause
disruption while being implemented; it has
to be worthwhile.
The business case for negotiation
improvement is easier than some, as the ROI
is directly measurable. But, defining the
ROI measure and all of the components that
drive ongoing success takes greater effort.
I’d want to start on that immediately.
Simon Dent has worked with some of the
world’s top sporting talent, negotiating high
value deals on their behalf. Here he reflects
on his own personal negotiation style and
what tactics have served him well.
Negotiation is a huge part of the
job when managing talent.
In fact, it plays such a key role
in what you do that it almost
becomes unconscious, to the
point that you don’t realize you
are doing it. Even so, one of my firm
beliefs about negotiation is that you
should always make a conscious effort
to avoid damaging relationships.
Life is too short, and you never know
when you’ll be needing them again.
With that in mind, below are
the five negotiation principles
that I can personally vouch for
to achieve success.
1 2 3 4 5
MAKE IT MUTUALLY
The key to negotiation is not to
merely make the other party do what
you want them to do. The aim is to
persuade them to want to do what
you want them to do, so they feel like
they are getting the best deal. Locking
horns and tearing each other to shreds
aggressively is of no benefit to anybody
in the long term. It will impact future
business between the parties and in
extreme cases, burn a bridge.
I recall a negotiation that took
place when a client was leaving a
Premier League football club. The
player in question had two years left
on his contract, but wasn’t getting first
team football and wanted to leave.
Contractually he was still owed £2m
in salary. This situation had to be
managed carefully as the player wanted
the salary owed, but he also wanted to
leave. The club saw the situation as an
opportunity to save some money.
A meeting was held with the
club’s Managing Director, First Team
Manager, and player. We asked the club
to make the first offer. It was 75% of
the salary due. Quite quickly 80% of
the owed salary was agreed on. I had
agreed beforehand with the player
that he would accept 65% of the salary
owed, so this was already more value
than we had anticipated achieving. The
club’s opening offer suggests that they
had a maximum figure (or breakpoint)
in mind of more than 80%. So in terms
of expectations and relationships, this
was mutually beneficial to all involved
and everyone won. (Although, perhaps I
can say that my client won a little more).
1 2 3 4 5
FACE TO FACE IS
I strongly believe that negotiation is
a lot easier done in person. This is
especially hard in the age of email and
global transactions, and while some
people prefer this engagement, for me
nonverbal communication is key.
Some have estimated that 60% of all
human communication is nonverbal.
It can reinforce what is already
being said, and reveal what isn’t. It’s
especially important when dealing with
counterparties who speak a different
language to you. If you’re not face-toface,
you are not doing yourself justice.
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
DON’T MAKE THE
Whether you are buying or selling,
my advice is to never make the first
offer. The other party may offer a price
that is a much better deal than the
one you initially had in mind. Also,
whenever you have made your offer,
do not volunteer another unless and
until the other party has responded.
Expect negotiations to be a back-andforth
process. Stand firm until you
have a response and remain confident
throughout. This is something that I
live by daily. Not just when I was an
agent but also now in my day-to-day
role running a creative agency.
AS A TACTIC
This can be especially hard when a
player’s livelihood is at stake. It’s a
different situation when negotiating
on behalf of a company. Advising a
professional footballer to sit tight and
let the club make the first move is one
of the hardest things I’ve had to do.
Using silence in response is equally
key. You should never respond too
quickly to an offer. Pause and suspense
in negotiations convey that you’re not
desperate to close a deal and that you
have other options available. Silence
can force a surprising amount of
pressure on the other party as well.
This is a great tactic and has often
worked in my favor especially on
transfer deadline day. The clock is
ticking. Staying cool during that
time can have huge benefits.
I never want to let negotiations become
too tense. Always feel free to smile and
inject humor into the conversation.
Lightening up the mood can relax
the person you’re dealing with, while
conveying your strength at negotiating.
I believe that negotiation is one
of the most enjoyable parts of any
commercial role. To succeed in it,
you need to use tactics that you can
implement as and when you need
them. For me, it’s an ongoing learning
journey with a set of skills that I’m
continually looking to improve.
In the words of the great Lionel
Messi, “My ambition is always to
get better and better”.
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
Hain MacKay-Cruise, TGP’s Head of Asia, is a man on a mission to embrace the fast
pace of innovation in the region. Alistair White sat down with him to find out more.
Hain Edward MacKay-Cruise is unique. No,
seriously, he is. To the best of our knowledge
he is the only person in the world called Hain
Edward MacKay-Cruise. Before our interview
I searched the internet and, slightly to my annoyance, could
not find anyone, anywhere who has the same name. His first
name comes from a historical family association with the
Hain Shipping Line which was bought by P&O Shipping
in 1917. He was even christened on board a Hain Line
ship. The MacKay part of his name can be traced back
to the MacKay clan which
originates around Inverness
in Scotland. “Cruise” is
an Anglo-Norman name,
“Asia’s different. It is
multi-ethnic in the same
way that Europe is but
much, much more dynamic.
originally from France,
which spread to England
after the Norman invasion
of 1066. I could find
nothing of note about his
middle name of Edward,
other than it was the name
of his great-grandfather, but
I suppose you cannot win
Interestingly, there is
a record of a Cruise family who emigrated from England
to Australia in 1855. That is only interesting because Hain
himself was born in Australia and still carries an Australian
passport. The nomadic traditions of his forebears continued
to be a feature of his upbringing and he spent parts of his
childhood and youth living in Singapore, Dubai and Paris.
He spent ten years as an officer in the Australian
Army before embarking on a twenty-year career,
initially in consultancy (EY and Cap Gemini), then in
telecommunications incorporating periods of residence in
Australia, then Singapore, Japan, the United Arab Emirates,
and back to Singapore before finally joining The Gap
Partnership in Hong Kong in 2013 as Regional Head of our
Asia Pacific business.
Why am I telling you all this? His ancestral history of
migration, his personal history of relocation, his career
history of moving from the military to big-ticket consultancy
to telecommunications to The Gap Partnership goes some
way to explaining Hain’s personal quality that surfaces
throughout much of our conversation. Restlessness. He
wants to call it drive, I playfully suggest impatience, but
eventually we settle on restlessness. A constant desire to
explore new horizons, the curiosity of the explorer, the
itchy feet of the pioneer.
“I just want to get stuff done”, he says at one point in our
conversation. (That’s not quite true, he actually uses another
word beginning with “s” to
describe what he wants to
get done but I’ll spare our
more delicate readers.)
And nowhere does this
restless drive to achieve
shine through more
brightly than when he
talks about the potential
in Asia for businesses.
“Asia’s different”, he
proclaims. “It is multi-ethnic
in the same way that Europe
is but much, much more
dynamic. People in Europe
and America still think of Asia as a developing region,
even third-world. But China, in particular, is an incredibly
sophisticated nation. Of the top ten most expensive cities in
the world, five are in Asia – Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo,
Shanghai and Seoul.”
Hain is also at pains to stress how some Asian countries
are ahead of many Western countries in terms of their
development, fueled by what he calls “the leapfrog factor”.
“Lots of Asian countries have bypassed, or leapfrogged,
whole cycles of development. People in Europe still use
Skype, for example, but most Asians have adopted more
sophisticated means of communications, especially instant
messaging apps like WeChat or Line, because they never had
the legacy of outdated systems like Skype in the first place.
The same is true of landlines. Cell phone uptake quickly
replaced the use of landlines in Asia, and in some
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
cases even before landlines had
established themselves in newer cities
like Shenzhen. Hence most young
Asians have never bothered acquiring
a landline in the first place – they just
went straight to cell phones. I have
lived in Asia for the last seven years
and I have never had a landline.”
“The explosion of technology
in Asia is phenomenal. It far
outstrips the influence of modern
telecommunications technology in
Europe and North America.
That, coupled with the fact that the
average age of the population in Asian
countries is significantly lower than in
Europe and the US, means that the
influence of the millennial generation
is much, much greater. They are going
to be demanding new ways of learning,
delivered by technology. I am not
saying that the old classroom-based
way of learning, as in our Complete
Skilled Negotiator workshop is going
to become redundant in Asia – there
is still a place for that – but, if we are
to service the Asian market effectively,
we need to develop alternative,
complementary ways of delivering
learning. That might be digitally
enabled, it might be modular in nature
rather than taking people out of the
workplace for three days at a time, I
don’t know…but I do know that the
traditional models that have worked in
the West for the last two or three decades
will not necessarily work in Asia.”
So where is this innovation going
to come from, I ask? Is it incumbent
upon Western companies to design
and invent solutions to service evolving
Asian needs? “I don’t think so,” replies
Hain. “I think it is much more likely
that Asian markets, with their unrivaled
technological expertise and consumer
awareness of technology, will begin
to originate their own solutions. In
so many sectors I think we will start
to see the flow of innovation and
adoption change from West-to-East to
Hain is already shifting my
perception of the Asian market and
business culture and I find myself
reassessing my established view of Asia
– China in particular – as a region with
a deep sense of tradition and history,
somewhat closed to the West in an
attempt to preserve their identity in the
face of increased exposure to Western
products, Western media, Western
values. I confess as much to Hain.
“Don’t get me wrong, mate,” – he
might not have lived in Australia for
the last twenty years but he still has the
breezy “g’day” informality of a typical
Outbacker – “I am only talking about
products and technology here. The way
business is done between companies
and individuals is still very traditional
and rooted in conventional Asian
culture. The old adage that people buy
people is truer than ever in Asia. The
Chinese have a word, ‘Guangxi’ which
is difficult to translate but it means
‘network’ or ‘relationships’. It means not
just the people you know but also how
other people know and regard you.
It is about how you develop and protect
those relationships and contacts. For
example, I know a lot of people in
China and other people often ask
me to introduce them to one of my
connections. I am always really careful
about that because I know that if my
connection doesn’t like or respect the
person I am introducing, it will reflect
badly on me and my ‘Guangxi’ will
suffer as a result. There are different
words in different countries but the
concept of ‘Guangxi’ is universal
Hain has been the Regional Head
of The Gap Partnership’s Asia Pacific
division for the last four years and has
built on solid foundations to record
year-on-year growth rates of over
30% in each successive year. How
optimistic is he about the future?
“I am wildly optimistic about
what we can achieve here. We haven’t
even begun to scratch the scratch on
the surface of the surface. Just think
about this – if I consider just our top
five potential markets – China, India,
Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam –
that is 42% of the world’s population!
The potential is unlimited. There are
a couple of things we have to get right
to tap into that potential – I already
talked about technology and alternative
ways of delivering learning, but we
also have to factor in the consideration
that salaries here have not yet reached
Western levels so the readiness to invest
in the development of individuals is
not as great as in the West. Having
said that, there is a huge pool of young,
Western-educated talent returning
to their home countries, so that will
change in the coming years.”
“At the minute, we are a Western
company with an Asian subsidiary. To
be really successful, we need to become
an Asian company with a European
parent. That means, for example, that,
in the near future, we will have to set up
a company in mainland China, headed
up by a mainland Chinese person with
mainland Chinese consultants and staff.
The same will be true in other parts of
Asia when the time comes. I see it as
“One of my commanding
officers wrote in my
performance review that
I was ‘an outstanding
officer in the field but
a nightmare in the
barracks’. I suppose
I have always been a
natural rebel, always
wanting to challenge
my job to lead that transition.”
He has been talking animatedly for
about twenty minutes now, enthusing
about the potential of Asia and the
need for innovation. I decide to redirect
the conversation and ask him about his
military experience. Hain’s eyes narrow
and I sense a distinct reluctance. Does
he not want to talk about it? Is he not
allowed to talk about it? I rephrase the
question: given that he sees his role as
one of leadership, how much has his
military experience influenced his
style of leadership? He pauses before
“If you’re asking me whether I’d do it
again, the answer is yes, in a heartbeat.
The military taught me about problemsolving.
I’d be in charge of a small team
and we would have an objective. My
job was to deconstruct the various tasks
we needed to achieve that objective,
assess the risks and build an operational
plan to hit the objective. One of the
things I learned in the military about
leadership was to surround myself with
people who were better than me and
subtly influence them to achieve their
potential. I have taken that insight into
my current job. I have a fabulous team of
people in our Asia Pacific team and I am
super confident in their ability.”
One word strikes me as not very
Hain-like. Subtly? I ask him about it.
Is he a democrat or an autocrat? The
response is instant – “A democrat”.
The reconsideration that follows is
equally immediate. “Maybe not. Look,
you cannot run a military operation,
or a business, entirely as a democracy.
I need to create the environment for
others to be successful. So maybe I am
a benevolent autocrat.”
Is there anything else from his
military career that he has taken
into his business life? “One of my
commanding officers wrote in my
performance review that I was ‘an
outstanding officer in the field but a
nightmare in the barracks’. I suppose
I have always been a natural rebel,
always wanting to challenge established
wisdom. I am constantly asking myself
and others if there isn’t a better way
to do things.” There’s that
A final question: would Steve
Gates (our CEO) describe you as “an
outstanding manager in the region but
a nightmare in the boardroom?”
The eyes narrow again, just a bit
more this time. “I dunno mate, you’d
better ask him.”
Maybe I will. But for now I’d put my
money on the answer being yes. TNS
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
J U D G E
Head of Benelux, The Gap Partnership
APRIL 6 TH & 7 TH
As I boarded my plane to San Francisco, I was curious
to discover how The Negotiation Challenge would measure
and compare to my day job of working with professional
negotiation teams. It did not disappoint!
Judging the competition was fascinating. How would the
negotiation style exhibited by the Chinese team differ from
that of team Mexico or Iceland? Each round was judged
differently. At 4 o’clock points were rewarded solely on the
deal agreed, whereas at 10 or 11 o’clock more weight was
attributed to negotiation behaviors and value creation.
What stood out was the teams’ eagerness to learn, and keep
learning. They sought feedback after each round, and applied
that learning in their next negotiation. The competition
element was essential to the learning.
It created pressure and time constraints,
gave them a sense of something at stake,
and made them behave differently.
In short, it brought the teams as close to a real
negotiation as possible in a simulated environment.
My advice for next year’s competitors? Bring together
a team that understands and can recognize different types
of negotiations, who can both hard bargain but also create
mutual value. And for anyone looking for any practical
assistance next year…I know of a coach who would be
delighted to clear his diary and head out to The Negotiation
Challenge 2019 in Kyoto!
The Negotiation Challenge
In April 2018, eighteen teams and their coaches from
the world’s leading graduate law and business schools
traveled to San Francisco, USA to take part in the
eleventh annual Negotiation Challenge competition.
The Negotiation Challenge (TNC) is an international
competition founded in 2007 by Dr. Professor Remigiusz
Smolinski and Dr Peter Kesting, two of the foremost
negotiation academics. It brings together the world’s best and
brightest graduate student negotiators to negotiate through a
series of real life and often highly complex business scenarios.
Participating teams of three compete in four qualification
rounds. The first, an online negotiation, takes place before
the teams arrive at the host location. Thereafter they travel
through three subsequent rounds, each testing a wide variety
of negotiation skills and scenarios. After the conclusion of
the fourth round, points are added up and the two leading
teams advance to a live final to negotiate a collaborative deal
in front of the other contestants as well as an international
jury comprising of TGP business leaders, lawyers and
The competition provides a unique opportunity for
teams to not only hone their class-taught negotiation skills,
but to do so in a highly pressurized and time-sensitive
environment often opposite counterparties from vastly
different backgrounds and cultures. The result is a heady mix
of intense competition and an intoxicating enthusiasm for
the science and indeed art of negotiation, resulting in lifelong
friendships forged through a mutual love of the subject.
The Gap Partnership is excited to announce that
we are running our first negotiation competition
for professionals in September 2018. We are busy
signing up teams of three from businesses around Europe
to take part in The Negotiators 2018. For more information
please contact your TGP consultant. TNS
F O U N D E R
and Founder of The
We started The Negotiation Challenge as a platform for
graduate students and over time it has become like a world
championship in negotiation. Every year we bring together
eighteen teams from leading universities across Europe, Asia
and North and South America. It’s a fantastic opportunity for
the students. They mix with professionals taking the same skill
really seriously as part of their careers, and are exposed to some
of the best thinking internationally about negotiation.
During the competition it’s important that the negotiation
scenarios are as realistic as possible. To successfully master the
challenge, the students must apply the appropriate methods
from the whole spectrum of their negotiation skills in the right
situations – or in other words demonstrate what we call their
“negotiation intelligence”. Next to formal negotiation skills,
the judges also evaluate the participants’ communication
skills such as active listening, convincing argumentation,
communication within the team, their contribution to
understanding the interests of the other party and identifying
issues, as well as their ability to create and claim value.
The competition is truly a global one. Each year we move
continents and bring together a cohort of future leaders to
experience each other’s culture. To learn from each other’s
individual styles of negotiation. To develop an understanding
as to how to work collaboratively when often there seems little
at face value that they share in common. In an ever-political
world, fraught with tension between nations and businesses,
bringing our future leaders together can only serve to be a
C O A C H
Director of Legal
The Negotiation Challenge is a terrific educational
experience. It provides our graduate-level law and business
students with opportunities to develop negotiating skills
in an international setting, which are invaluable to their
We select our team through an internal negotiation
competition at our University. Each team must have at least
one law student and one business student. Twenty teams
participate and the winning team earns the opportunity to
apply to The Negotiation Challenge. A special feature of The
Negotiation Challenge is its interdisciplinary and realistic
focus, including both legal and business issues, so we try to
send teams with expertise and experience in both areas.
In order to prepare our team for The Negotiation
Challenge, we observe and critique practice negotiations
– individually and as a team – and teach negotiation
techniques to them. This mooting process allows team
members to strengthen their communication skills within the
team and with opposing teams.
During the intense four-day competition, I witness
students’ growth as negotiators and international citizens.
Engaging in multiple negotiations with teams from across
the globe, and receiving detailed feedback from experienced
professional judges, students strengthen negotiating
skills, develop increased confidence and network with
international colleagues from legal and business disciplines.
The most valuable and lasting lessons about negotiation
derive from experience. As an educator who values
experiential learning, I love seeing students develop essential
skills in an exciting, international setting. The Negotiation
Challenge offers wonderful opportunities for experiential
learning, which is why I am thrilled to be a part of it.
I N N E R
LLM & MBA Student,
I entered The Negotiation Challenge for two reasons.
First, I wanted to develop my negotiation skills in the
international arena among top students from around the
world. Secondly, I believe in the competition’s purpose – to
create better negotiators for smarter agreements to make
our world a more peaceful place.
I really enjoyed the diversity of the competitors, the
variety of the simulations, and the unique aspects of the
event locations. I also enjoyed socializing, networking,
and learning from my peers as we communicated and
collaborated to solve problems. To prepare, my team
focused on skill-building and unity. Our practices
involved a variety of simulations and strategies to
develop our negotiation toolkits and synergize the unique
strengths of our team members. Adaptability and trust in
each other were the keys to our success.
The final was fantastic. Win or lose, I was very
grateful to represent my university in the final and
to negotiate on the main stage before the competition
coordinators, university educators, and my scholastic
peers. It was a special experience that I will treasure
forever. At the start I was unsure but optimistic. I tried
to maintain a positive approach with each step of the
competition. We trusted our training and believed in
ourselves. Our faith in our abilities and each other carried
us through to victory.
The competition was fantastic. Each round revealed
new challenges, as well as new doubts and concerns over
our performance. It was difficult to gauge our standing
among the other competitors, but we rallied to overcome
each obstacle as it arrived. I would wholeheartedly
recommend the experience to any team of negotiators
whether student or professional!
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
Negotiation expert Alistair White returns
to answer questions from our alumni.
Ever heard a phrase in a meeting and couldn’t be sure
what it meant? Refresh your knowledge with our business
lingo guide and be baffled no more.
An auction in which the auctioneer
begins with a high asking price, and
lowers it until a participant accepts the
price, or it reaches a predetermined
a troy ounce
[ey troi ouns]
A unit of measurement for weighing
precious metals. Dating back to the
Middle Ages, its name comes from
Troyes in France. One troy ounce is
equal to 31.21 grams, according to
the UK Royal Mint.
Abbreviation Negotiation Zone of
The range or area in which an
agreement is satisfactory to both
parties involved in the negotiation
process. Can also be referred to as
the “Contracting Zone”.
bad faith negotiation
[bad feyth ni•goh•shee•ey•shuh•n]
When a party pretends to negotiate,
but secretly has no intention of
The opposite of the Dutch auction.
The price starts low and you leave the
room when you no longer want to stay
in. The last person in the room wins
whatever is being auctioned.
A negotiation process that occurs
between employers and unions to
negotiate issues such as wages, hours
of work and other conditions of
employment. It normally results in
a written contract that is defined
by specific time duration – “life of
The sense of regret after having made
a purchase, usually expensive such as a
car or house.
[zeer•oh suhm geym]
Also known as distributive, positional
or hard-bargaining negotiation, which
attempts to distribute a “fixed pie”
of benefits. Any gain one party makes
is at the expense of the other and
Also known as non-zero sum game,
win-win game, interest-based,
merit-based or principled negotiation.
A set of techniques that attempts
to improve the quality and likelihood
of negotiated agreement by
taking advantage of the fact that
different parties value various
[pronounced as initials]
Abbreviation Initial Public Offering.
A company’s first sale of stock to
the public. Often tendered by young,
small companies attempting to
release equity capital and find a
A buyer who has agreed to make
a minimum bid before a
A negotiation technique in integrative
negotiations that involves trading one
favor for another.
Q: What is TGP’s advice to
deal with highly emotional
communication? In many
cases, especially with C-level
stakeholders, I observe that
demands are not fact based.
A: We need to remember that
negotiations are conducted
by human beings, not robots.
The day we have robots is the
day I am out of a job! Humans
are both emotional and rational
beings – the balance between the
two will differ but we all have these
two facets to our negotiation persona.
Even on occasions when negotiators
stick to the “facts”, people are also
very selective about which “facts” they
choose to substantiate their case. Just
think back to the last election campaign
in your country if you don’t believe
me! Very often we can make “facts”
say whatever we want them to say.
For me, the more interesting questions
are: 1) Why do certain individuals state
demands in very emotional terms?
And 2) Why do you not like this? The
answer to the first question is very
often (not always) because people feel
insecure about the
proposal or demand
they are making,
so they resort to
appeals to cover up
the lack of substance,
rationale or logic
to their demand.
Keeping a clear head
will help you to
realize this. When
a C-level individual
does this, it is often akin to the bully
at school who liked to throw their
weight about. Whatever you do, do not
try to stop the emotional outburst or,
even worse, retaliate with an emotional
reaction of your own.
The more you resist, the stronger
their urge will become to vent their
emotions even further. Which brings
us to the second question. If you
demonstrate that you do not like, or
are even intimidated by emotionallydriven
behavior, your counterparty
will come to see it as a successful
strategy. We always describe one
aspect of successful negotiators as the
ability to be “comfortable with being
uncomfortable”. Just weather the storm
“You cannot change the hand
you are dealt. All you can do is
play the cards you have got as
intelligently as you can
and try to betray no sign of discomfort
or distress. Stay quiet and calm.
Perhaps even smile. Rise above it and
set a higher standard of behavior. That’s
the best way to take the wind out of
their sails and embarrass them into
moderating their behavior.
Q: How do I negotiate a price
increase in a saturated market?
General Manager, FMCG, Europe
A: A saturated market is
saturated for a reason. Either
demand has fallen or there is
over-supply. Negotiators are
not magicians and there is
no negotiator on earth who
can un-saturate a market
overnight. The answer to your
question, as you have phrased
it, is – with great difficulty and a
serious risk of loss of sales. Let’s
ask a different question, “How
should I negotiate in a saturated
market?” That will depend on the
nature of the product or service you are
selling. If your product is significantly
differentiated from its competition,
then it may be possible to negotiate a
price increase, but let’s assume that is
not the case. There are potentially lots
of things you could negotiate in return
for maintaining price stability or even
offering a slight reduction.
A longer contract, incremental
business with additional products,
international referrals if the customer
has a global presence, sole supplier
status on specific products, joint NPD
projects. I am sure
you could come up
with an even longer
list given a bit of time
and a blank page.
Ultimately the market
is the market. You
cannot change the
hand you are dealt,
all you can do is play
the cards you have
got as intelligently
as you can. TNS
If you have a question for Alistair and
would like it to be considered for our
next issue, please email it to
Negotiation may be a critical skill in business,
and indeed our personal lives. But are some
things off limits? Our panel of experts tackle the
ultimate negotiation question – “Is anything ever
Ricardo Serrano Lance Ward Hulda Björg Þórisdóttir Juan Carlos Manzano
Recently my patient and I were
discussing the need to be careful when
we use the words “always”, “forever”
or “never”. The reason is simple: you
are probably not going to be able to
keep your word. The conflicts between
how we think we are (“I always…”,
“I never…”) and how we really are
bring a number of interpersonal
conflicts. Saying that something is
non-negotiable could be indicative of
a rigid, dichotomist perspective (black
or white) – a dangerous approach when
it comes to negotiating. On the other
hand, when something is negotiated
it can bring a positive perspective that
enriches not only the deal, but a part of
So, I would not be so sure about
non-negotiable things. Life occurs in
a sea of uncertainty, a universe of new
and unexpected possibilities. These
possibilities are often unseen and
omitted because of what our experience
tells us. Being prepared to negotiate is
akin to being open to discovering new
possibilities that were hitherto unseen.
Before putting a stopper on
apparently “non-negotiable” items,
practice mindfulness. Allow yourself
to connect with the moment and the
opportunities it gives you. Then watch,
listen and perceive openly and actively.
Never lose sight of your objective. Be
aware of who you are and your role, and
How does this translate to behavior?
Do not waste the first minutes of
your negotiation. Go directly to your
point. This will decrease anxiety at the
meeting and put something “tangible”
on the table. Making decisions will
be easier – better for you and your
Last but not least, be on time,
dress appropriately, and be respectful
to others. Being a good human being
will promote your image as an agent
for change, which is a great start in
THE GAP PARTNERSHIP
Yes, but not nearly as often as people
portray it to be. People typically claim
variables are non-negotiable in order
to find the most direct path to a deal.
Often, a “non-negotiable” variable is
quite simply the most difficult one
for someone to give on and probably
requires levels of empowerment that
are far beyond the remit of the person
across the table from you. In order to
direct you toward the variables that
are more under their control, thus
expediting the deal, they make these
variables appear as if they are
The real question is should anything
ever be non-negotiable? The reality is
that it depends on the situation. When
you are having collaborative discussions
and creating value, then in theory
nothing should be non-negotiable.
You need to indicate when it will be
extremely difficult for you to move on
specific variables and the ramifications
of that movement. In order to execute
these trades it will require significant
amounts of additional value to be
contributed by the other party and will
most certainly extend the timeline for
coming to a deal. Having said that, the
most value-accretive deals are achieved
by exploring and potentially giving on
variables that far too often are hastily
labeled as non-negotiable.
If you are engaged in a competitive
negotiation where you have equal or
more power than your counterparty,
then it may be advisable to limit the
scope of the negotiating variables.
This is accomplished by showing very
limited flexibility in most areas and
even by taking an item off the table
by communicating that it is nonnegotiable.
When you do this, just
remember that your counterparty will
most likely meet this action with an
equally competitive response.
CHEMICAL ENGINEER, M.Sc.
MBA STUDENT AT REYKJAVIK UNIVERSITY
We learn at a young age that many
things can be negotiated. Playtime
is flexible if we promise to finish our
homework; chocolate can be negotiated
as a reward for good behavior. As we
grow up we negotiate issues like where
to go on vacation with our family, work
benefits and salaries. We negotiate all
day every day for everything in our
personal lives and at our workplace.
All of these negotiations are built
on the fact that the issues can be
negotiated, and all follow the rules
of our society.
However there are many subjects
that cannot be negotiated. Most of
those are not negotiable due to religion,
the values of society, or upbringing.
When negotiating across cultures,
one must be aware that there are parts
of our society and the society of our
counterpart that are a big part of who
we are and how we do things. Issues
such as beliefs, principles and values
are deeply rooted into all of us and can
vary enormously between different
societies and religions. People have
opinions that might be vastly different
from yours, but nevertheless they are in
line with the upbringing of that person.
Peoples’ opinions can be argued, but
On an individual level there are a
few issues that cannot be negotiated
either. It would be strange to attempt
to negotiate whether a person is happy
or not, as it involves feelings and
experience. Similarly, there are little
grounds to negotiate about a person’s
health, since it’s about facts. Would it
not be nice to agree on being healthy
Instead of trying to negotiate issues
that cannot in real life be negotiated,
we should rather focus on finding those
variances and respecting the difference.
ATTORNEY, THUNDERBIRD SCHOOL
OF GLOBAL MANAGEMENT
When we talk about negotiating,
we think of something tradable and
to which we give a price – that is,
something tangible and of value in
money. So it is by assigning a value,
after discussion and then agreement,
which concludes the subject.
But what happens when in this
situation other factors such as feelings,
emotions or principles are involved?
That is, we´re talking about elements
that are far from the material and the
marketable – then, in that case, would
we find ourselves with the existence of
some limit of something negotiable?
Napoleon Bonaparte once said:
“Every man has his price”, but in my
personal opinion, perhaps Napoleon
should have said: “Every man who has
no respect for himself has his price”.
Because I believe in today’s world
of business, work, friendship and
even love, there are limits to what is
negotiable – for example dignity, selfesteem,
respect for yourself – and these
can never be negotiable.
What is respect for yourself? It is to
know you, to accept you and to love you
as you are, to appreciate your personal
worth above all things. When that
happens, you generate confidence in
your abilities and in your spirit, in the
nobility of your feelings. You become
a person who, as well as being willing
to accept challenges, takes risks and
embarks on new horizons. You are also
ready to renounce anything, however
tempting it may be, if it requires you
to give up your principles, your ethics,
your own respect.
Because that respect for yourself
belongs to you, only to you. And that,
dear readers, is out of any conversation
and is not negotiable.
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
WHY KNOWING THE DIFFERENCE CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
When should selling stop and negotiation begin? Anna
Monusova spells out the importance of understanding
the fine line between the two.
early every salesperson in the world will
have pondered how best to answer the
classic interview question – “Sell me this
pen!”, so colorfully acted out by Leonardo
DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street”. A quick internet
search will reveal hundreds of smart suggestions for the
perfect response, including from the real-life version of
DiCaprio’s character in the film, Jordan Belfort.
Surprisingly though, there is little thought given to one of
the easiest ways to sell the infamous pen: offer it at a much
lower price than that at which it is usually sold. But would
that sale be worth it? The issue is that the question lacks an
important qualifier. Consider the difference in meaning if we
add five words, so it changes from “Sell me this pen”, to “Sell
me this pen at the highest possible price”. All of a sudden, it
forces us to think in an entirely different way. The challenge
becomes not just about selling, but also about negotiating.
Negotiation is a crucial skill for every salesperson, but it
is a different skill to selling. I am frequently amazed at how
people with years of commercial experience so often confuse
the two. A conversation that I regularly have with potential
clients starts with their request for negotiation training for
their field sales people. What can quickly transpire is that
they are really asking for sales training. Cue twenty minutes
of explanation from me about why that isn’t possible, as we
specialize exclusively in negotiation – which of course we can
absolutely offer once they are trained in sales.
Here is another common misconception. A friend of
mine, who worked as a buyer and didn’t like his job much,
told me once: “I’m going to quit and go sell some nice
products so that I don’t have to negotiate anymore!”.
I remember thinking – oh my dear, with this attitude your
clients will eat you alive. The truth is many salespeople are
scared of negotiating. Negotiation is uncomfortable, and
they feel it puts them at risk of not making the sale. Since
closing the deal is one of their biggest fears, they very often
credit the other party with more power that it actually has,
and prefer to secure an “okay” deal rather than risk losing
it by trying to maximize it. The funny thing is that at the
other side of the table buyers also quite often go into “selling
mode” during negotiations. They sell their company, their
brand, the future potential for business – all in the hope of
getting a lower price. Because, guess what, they also credit
the other party with more power, and are also afraid of not
achieving their objectives.
So what is selling and what is negotiating? Both are part
of the commercial process, and one comes after the other.
First, a need has to be recognized or created. That’s the
selling part. Once the other party is in principle okay to work
with you, you need to agree on the conditions under which
the deal will be done. And that’s the negotiation part.
But how can you identify the moment at which selling
stops, and negotiation begins? Imagine the process from the
moment both parties start talking to the final deal as a road.
The roadblock where you switch from selling to negotiating
will not always be at the same point. If you have a product
that is significantly superior to the competition, unique
“I am amazed at how people
with years of commercial
experience so often confuse
Leonardo Di Caprio plays Jordan Belfort
in “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Beware of the
A salesperson came to my parents’ house to
demonstrate the features of a supposedly very efficient
but also very expensive vacuum cleaner. He cleaned the
entire house and talked endlessly about all the magical
properties of the product. My father challenged the
high price and the sales guy started explaining the same
things even more vehemently. At which point, even my
father, by no means a professional negotiator, became
suspicious: why is he overdoing it? He clearly knows
the price he is asking is way too high! My dad got the
vacuum cleaner half price. He probably could have got
it for a third of the original ask.
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
Beware of talking too much
Before being a negotiation consultant, I was an ingredients buyer for a major food company. One account manager was
so keen on keeping the business he had with us that he could not stop talking about their company and products. I was
already ready to buy from him as his conditions were better than the competition, but instead of asking me questions,
getting inside my head and realizing the power he had, he kept talking. In the waterfall of information that he drowned
me in, he mentioned that they had just done some major upgrades in their factory. After some questions, I realized they
made considerable gains in efficiency that lowered their production costs. The negotiation went very differently than it
would have, had he been able to actually shut up and negotiate instead of selling.
and your customers absolutely can’t live without it, you
barely need to negotiate and you can just impose your terms.
This is unfortunately not the case for most businesses.
Take for example the job of an account manager in a
consumer goods company. Negotiation is a much bigger
part of it than selling. In principle, most retailers want to
have their products on shelves, so the trick is to agree on
conditions. But before thinking about negotiating, don’t
forget that selling is a crucial first step. The better the
selling is done, the easier the negotiation. That’s why those
account managers first go to the buyers to present their
business plans and category initiatives, and only then send
out price increases.
But beware a situation in which the only tools you have
in your commercial skills toolbox are selling techniques.
When people go back to selling during a negotiation, it
demonstrates to the other party that they are not confident
in their own position and subconsciously feel it needs an
additional boost. Remember, if you’ve done everything right,
the selling part is done by this point – the buyer is interested.
Time to switch to negotiation techniques and behaviors.
Another problem with selling during a negotiation is that
selling generally involves much more talking. When you
talk, you give the other party information, and if you are not
careful with what you say, they are going to use it against you.
Another mistake many people make because they are too
focused on making the deal rather than maximizing profit, is
giving away too much too early.
Remember that selling and negotiation are two very
different things. Watch out for the moment when you can
switch from one to the other. If you are too consumed by
your own fear of not closing a deal, you will miss buying
signals from the other party. Listen actively, and once you
spot those signals, start negotiating. Which means the
time for trying to persuade the other party, for presenting
arguments in your favor, for explaining the features of your
product with enthusiasm, is over. You have done it already
and the other party heard you. Now it’s time to get the best
Negotiators say considerably fewer words than people
who are selling. Negotiation is about listening to understand
the other party’s needs and pressures. Once you get inside
their head, you can properly analyze the balance of power
and think how to shift it in your favor. Then you can focus
on making a plan of proposals that will allow you to use the
power you have and leave the other party satisfied while
maximizing value for yourself.
So what about that pen, the one immortalized in a
Hollywood film and many a real life job interview? Well,
if it’s about maximizing the price and not just getting it off
your hands, your negotiation skills will be just as critical to
success as your selling technique. TNS
Don’t give things
away for free
A delegate on one of my workshops runs a small
coaching and training business of her own. At the end
of the program she confided that she realized how
much money she had been leaving on the table. For
example, she would offer extra services for free to her
clients, like customization of programs, additional
people on the training, etc. She thought it would show
the client how great her service level was. Which it
probably did, but the problem is the client still wanted
a discount afterwards and she had nothing to trade
it against. Generosity in negotiation has only one
effect: it engenders greed in the counterparty. If you
give things for free, they will want more. And if you’re
not able to give them more, they will perceive you as
rigid and uncollaborative and be unwilling to move
in your direction. So beware of giving too much away
during the selling part of the process. My client now
charges for some of those services and trades others in
negotiation to give satisfaction to her customer.
out of saying
In February this year, KFC, the eponymous fried chicken restaurant chain,
suffered an embarrassing and widely publicized issue with its core product in
the UK less than a week into a contract with a new distributor. They ran out of
chicken! A chicken restaurant chain with no chicken – it doesn’t get any worse.
In the face of such a crisis, many companies would turn on the offensive, point the
finger and accuse others of creating the issue, absolving themselves of blame.
Not so KFC. Refreshingly, they did what so many fail to do. They said sorry.
Very simply, and very creatively – with one particular press ad featuring their
famous striped bucket with a reordering of their three letter logo on it to read
‘FCK’ and a simple “we’re sorry” strapline next to it.
This idea of saying sorry, especially when the thing that has happened was
either not one’s own direct fault, or certainly not intentional, is something that
many struggle with. I see it with my kids
all the time. My daughter came in crying
the other weekend that her brother had
landed on her while they were playing
“Often it is ego that prevents
someone from realizing the
upsides of apologizing.
on the trampoline. Her issue wasn’t that
he’d landed on her, but rather that he was
refusing to say sorry for hurting her. My
son was adamant that if it was an accident
and it wasn’t his intention to hurt her, why
should he apologize? As my investigation
into what had happened continued, he
began to protest more vehemently, trying
to blame her for laying where he landed,
and even me for buying a trampoline that was “too bouncy”. But the more he
protested, the worse his situation became, and the harder he had to work to get
his sister to speak to him again at all that weekend.
In a commercial scenario, saying sorry often doesn’t sit at all well with lots of
people and indeed corporations; they see it as a sign of weakness that represents
only risk and downsides to their reputation. Often it is ego that prevents someone
from realizing the upsides of apologizing. But for a company, especially a well
known household name, saying sorry, acknowledging the error or situation,
showing some humility, even if they are not directly responsible for the issue,
does one essential thing that any subsequent recovery will need.
It builds trust.
Firstly, it builds trust between the parties involved. The Gap Partnership
is a firm advocate that commercial negotiations should be conducted on the
collaborative sections of the negotiation Clockface. Here, both parties are
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
working with each other to optimize
the value available within a negotiation,
and as the relationship deepens and
dependencies become greater, the one
factor that more than any other impacts
success will be trust, especially if, as in
the case with KFC, there is a significant
problem that affects one or both parties’
reputations and ultimately bottom lines.
KFC’s relationship with its
distributor, DHL, was brand new and
the decision to switch to them from
food delivery specialists Bidvest would
certainly have been one where trust
that they would deliver fresh chicken
daily to its nationwide network of stores
was of paramount importance. KFC
will have needed to trust that DHL
was doing everything it could to rectify
the situation to minimize its impact.
And, when disaster struck, DHL will
have needed to trust that KFC would
work with them at the time of the
issue to help resolve it, rather than
go on the offensive. And this is just
what KFC did – to try and help DHL
alleviate pressure on the distribution
warehouse in Rugby where the issues
were centered, KFC sourced additional
warehousing options for its nonperishable
supplies like mops, gloves
and brushes to free up space.
KFC’s approach of not publicly
attacking its new distributor will
doubtless go a long way to ensuring
that both parties are able to move on
from this situation, whether they stay together or not, with
minimized damage to either’s reputation. As the public face
of the issue, KFC has ensured that by simply addressing it
openly, its impact at the till or the trading floor should also
Secondly, it builds trust with the customer. The public
reaction on social media was overwhelmingly supportive,
with a consistent theme of comments appreciating the fact
they were not trying to hide from the issue and were showing
humility. There was arguably never an issue over quality of
product for KFC with the public, and showing this more open
side may well have built
brand image in the eyes
Thirdly, it builds trust
with staff too. Imagine
being a KFC restaurant
employee the day they
reopened their stores.
How much will they
have dreaded the angry,
disgruntled regular who
couldn’t get his Zinger® Tower Burger for a few days, or the
sudden influx of the habitual moaners who turn up to the
opening of a door just to point out that it needs a bit of oil
on its hinges? KFC’s owner, Yum! Brands, is a business
“KFC has ensured that by
simply addressing it openly, its
impact at the till or the trading
floor should be minimized
that prides itself on staff satisfaction and loyalty. With
this knowledge, perhaps their reaction to the crisis is less
surprising. Their approach to laugh creatively with everyone
else at their own misfortune will arguably have helped ensure
that its restaurant staff were subject to far less abuse and
criticism than if KFC had tried to pass the blame elsewhere,
or shown no remorse at all. Happy staff = happy customers.
Finally, it builds others’ trust in the business long-term.
Any new supplier getting into partnership with KFC or any
other Yum! Brands-owned business will feel assured that
if ever they suffer an issue
themselves they can trust that
the reaction will be to work
with them to solve it.
So, what does the future
hold for KFC? Well, once the
dust from the Colonel’s secret
blend of herbs and spices
finally settles, its reputation
for its food with consumers
is unlikely to be adversely
affected. More interestingly, however, is any current or future
negotiation with Bidvest – if ever there was a case study for a
shift in the balance of power in a negotiation, this could take
some beating! TNS
You’ve Got Mail
The Gap Partnership
In the market for a new car? Then check out Alex Stefan’s
article on how he got a great deal on his new motor
through an understanding of time. Essential reading if
you’re looking for new wheels – or because you want a
reminder on the importance of timing in negotiation.
The Gap Partnership
CONVERSATIONS IN THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
Catch up with negotiation thinking and debate online at The Negotiation Society,
the private group exclusively for our alumni. Here are some recent highlights…
With negotiations by email becoming increasingly the
norm, Callum Knox examined its psychology and pros and
cons. One alumni pointed out an advantage of email
negotiation – the ability to precisely formulate your
position – “If you…, then we…”. Although the downside
of course is that this clarity can be a double-edged
sword, allowing your counterparty to formulate their
own precise counter-offer that removes value from you.
A fascinating and topical debate.
The Gap Partnership
Winner Doesn’t Take All
John Clements made a persuasive case for RFP owners
to stop and think about whether a competitive
negotiation strategy is always the most appropriate to
adopt. One alumni commented that they wished more
procurement departments would pay heed to John’s
advice. Another shared a story of a supplier filing for
bankruptcy within 12 months of winning a major RFP –
they’d traded margin for market share too aggressively
and the terms weren't sustainable. Food for thought for
anyone involved with RFPs.
The Gap Partnership
The mother of all negotiations got its inevitable
consideration in Alex Adamo’s article, in which he
discussed the real meaning of the 2021 time extension
given to Brexit – and in so doing brought to life a
fundamental principle of negotiation that we would all
do well to remember.
To find out more and apply to join, visit thegappartnership.com/alumni
THE NEGOTIATION SOCIETY
Our fiendishly challenging British-style crossword returns. The first
letter of each of the across clues spells out the name of a TGP competition.
20 Attainments from a leader,
briefly forceful, he disappeared
before Sabbath (12)
23 Tagalog Nation’s partly
reviewed dance (5)
24 Old rich lags appallingly
becoming fat cats (9)
25 Root from artist’s bowl (6)
26 Smartly retiring, entertaining
naughty lewd rector (8)
The ABC of negotiation
is for Anchoring
– my place
is for Bargaining
is for Confidence
– the way
is for Dealing – a
choice I suppose
1 Try consuming drink that’s
most flavorsome (8)
5 Humidity primarily is a disaster for
those raising mushrooms (1-5)
9 E-fit describing Parisian who
has trial at the beginning, which
is even-handed (9)
11 Number of players exposing
open goal? (5)
12 Executive is European on course
shortly with heartless groom (12)
14 Gloomy Spanish king succeeds
George the First (4)
15 Obese initially embarrassed, it
rankles for those carrying bulk (3,7)
17 Tactic hero used when ruled
by priests (10)
18 Is after Rhode Island’s
revolutionary flag? (4)
1 Starts to trim really elegant,
exotic plant (4)
2 Lock up quiet mutt regularly (4)
3 Sheltered target? (6)
4 Broadcast on radio set but playing
second fiddle (11,2)
6 This may involve person drinking
gin recklessly (8)
7 Day 10 for example, run out
in country (10)
8 Posed, short Irish Terrier
surprisingly at first wags (9)
10 White shipmate swimming
for support (9,4)
13 Rang Edward after lens scratched
twice at the end (10)
14 Fetch dad, tense for having
originally put on weight (3,6)
16 Grades fish, working steadily at the
beginning around Switzerland (8)
19 Way airmen start to
execute attack (6)
21 Manchild’s regular tart (4)
22 Spot Bond on the internet? (4)
For solutions email
is for Extreme
is for Influence
– the choices
is for Money –
what it’s all about
is for Quiet –
something to keep
is for Fairness
– it should play
is for Justify –
indicates a fake
is for Negotiation
– an art form
is for Reciprocate
– but don’t be led
like a sheep
is for Grow – a
strategy for all
is for Killer
Question – but
don’t go to war
is for Open – the
time to go first
is for Scarce –
is for Hold –
is for Losing
– the way to
is for Position
– yours should
is for Trust – just
enough to agree
why you get paid
is for Value – low
cost is the trade
is for Winning –
not what we do
is for Yes –
that is the aim
is for Zealous
– keeping you
in the game
“READY FOR YOUR FIRST LESSON IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION?”
THE NEGOTIATION ALPHABET
FOLLOW IT TO THE LETTER
© The Gap Partnership, 2018. All rights reserved.