The Art of Negotiation: How To Win


There are two major reasons why more than half of employees suffer from job dissatisfaction. It is either they are underpaid or they no longer find their job interesting or motivating enough.

If you fall into the first category of people who feel that the money they receive does not measure up to their qualifications, value and contribution they bring to the company. Then I must say you’re to blame as much as your employer.

Before you get upset, here’s why I said so.

It is because you have failed from the very beginning to set the perfect work and payment standards for yourself. Probably because you lack the proper negotiation skills 0r you don’t attach much value to your abilities or services.

Now, these two things- value for yourself and good negotiation skills are of great importance if you want to succeed in your career and have fun while doing so.

This is why we’ve put together a detailed guide to help you understand and master the art of negotiation.

Today’s article will focus on the meaning, types and importance of negotiation at work. As well as negotiation tips you need to win every time.

What Is Negotiation?

Negotiation, in simple terms, involves the process of reaching an agreement between two or more individuals, groups or teams. The negotiation process starts by addressing a common issue, resolving a problem and arriving at a conclusion. After which, actions are then carried out based on what was agreed upon.

We are faced with daily situations in our professional or personal life where we have to negotiate. Some scenarios may look like this:

  • Negotiating the price of a car you want to buy
  • Negotiating some quality time with your parent while He/She is getting ready for a promotional exam
  • Negotiating salary with a potential employer
  • Negotiating a project deadline set by your boss
  • Asking your supervisor for a few days of work to attend a friend’s wedding

When To Negotiate In Your Career

Negotiation is an essential part of your professional life and you’ll be faced with many situations where you have to negotiate. From deciding your salary to your retirement package. Here are the stages of scenarios where you’ll need to implement your negotiation skills in your career.

Job Offer

Congratulations! You got the job. Now it’s time to discuss your starting salary, benefits, work hours and other contractual agreements. Know that most companies will offer your an average of what is being paid in the industry. It’s up to you to negotiate for more, could be higher pay or fewer working hours.

Promotions Or A Salary Raise

Much like accepting a new job offer, accepting a promotion at your workplace offers you the opportunity to negotiate for better pay and compensation. Even though you have not been offered a promotion, and you feel qualified to advance your responsibilities in the organization, you can pitch it in. Asking for a promotion or salary raise is one of the ways, you can implement your negotiation skills.

Employee-to-employee Negotiation

If your job requires you to work in a group or manage a team, you may find yourself engaging in employee-to-employee negotiation. Deciding and agreeing on project deadlines, sharing individual workloads and conflict resolution among team members, all require negotiation.

Third-party Negotiation

If you’re in the sales or marketing department, you’ll find yourself negotiating with people outside the company. You may need to negotiate a contract that meets the interest of both the client and the company.

Negotiation Strategies

Each type of negotiation can be grouped under either one of these two categories which are distributive and integrative negotiation.

Distributive Negotiation

Distributive negotiation also called win-lose or a zero-sum negotiation is a bargaining approach in which one party wins at the expense of the other. For instance, company X contacts a marketing firm Y to run both print and media adverts. The company wants the full package for the lowest price and the marketing firm wants to provide the least services for the highest price. Each party is only looking out for what works best for them not minding what it’ll cost the other.  A distributive negotiation usually involves only one issue.

Integrative Negotiation

Integrative negotiation is also called a win-win or collaborative negotiation. It is a bargaining approach where the parties involved attempt to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Unlike distributive negotiation, integrative negotiation does involve multiple issues.

Types of Negotiation

1. Principled Negotiation

This type of negotiation uses an integrative approach. Principled negotiation focuses on resolving conflicts and it makes use of the principles and interests of the parties involved to reach an agreement or compromise.

2. Team Negotiation

A team negotiation involves multiple people bargaining towards an agreement and it’s common with large business deals. Each team has several personality roles and in some cases, a person might perform more than one role. Among these roles, you have the leader of the team, the observer, recorder, relater, critic and builder.

3 . Multiparty Negotiation

Much like team negotiation, it involves multiple parties bargaining towards an agreement and it’s common among multiple departments in a large organisation.

4. Adversarial Negotiation

This is an aggressive type of negotiation where the agreement reached serves the interest of only one party. In this case, the most aggressive party wins and tactics such as hard bargaining and faking loss of interest are used to achieve their aim.

Two ladies negotiating at work

How To Negotiate Effectively At Work And Win

After digging up tons of materials on negotiation, we’ve come up with 10 easy steps to help you negotiate effectively at work and win.

1. Know Your Worth

How well you negotiate depends on how much worth your place on yourself. Everyone has something to offer and you are no exception, that’s why you were hired in the first place.

Even if you’re officially not yet an employee, the company still needs your skills and services. Once you have the necessary qualifications, experience and skill set needed for that position, you should automatically see yourself as an asset. This will give you the confidence you need to successfully negotiate at any stage of your career.

2. Do Your Research

Do not make the mistake of going into a negotiation without proper knowledge of what exactly it is that you want. You have to decide first and state it in clear terms and specific figures. Are you negotiating for a raise or starting salary? Spend some time researching the salary range in the industry. You can find out what the compensation, benefits and average market rates are from friends and other recruiters in the industry. This will give you a baseline for negotiating and even help you justify your salary request. If you’re going to be negotiating with a potential employer, it’s also important that you do proper research on the company structure to give you an idea of what to expect.

3. Ask For More Than You Want

Once you’ve done your research, you should have a range of what is acceptable in the industry from the lowest to the highest, and chances are you may want to settle in the middle. Trust me you don’t want to do that. Always ask for more than what you want because the other party will mostly present a counter offer which will be lower than what you’re asking for.

So to avoid being left at a spot where you feel underpaid, start from the top. That way you can gradually work your way down to a suitable amount for you and the company. It’s a win-win situation!

Also, while stating your demand, do so positively and politely. You should be able to express your feelings without offending or putting blame on the other party. For example, when asking for a raise instead of saying ” you don’t pay me enough”, you can say ” I don’t feel like I’m being compensated enough for the services I render”.

4. Be Willing To Listen

Negotiation involves two or more people. So as much as you want to seem like you’re in control of the whole situation, you should also be willing to listen to the other person. Refusing to listen to the other side during the negotiation can lead to a hostile environment and may even prevent you from getting what you want.

One way to ensure that you listen to the other person is to encourage them to do more of the talking by asking open-ended questions that require them to give you detailed explanations instead of a Yes or No answer. This way, they feel heard and understood which will help you both come to a mutually beneficial solution.

5. Consider All Angles

Sometimes, the person you’ll be negotiating with may not be the only person involved in the decision-making process. They might be negotiating on behalf of the company.

Take an HR manager, for example, if you’re negotiating for overtime bonuses, he’ll have to consult with the finance manager and CEO before they reach a decision.

Be willing to see the situation from all angles, it will give you a better perspective on where the other person is coming from during the negotiation and what they stand to gain.

6. Be Prepared

In many negotiations, the other party needs you as much as you need them. Use this to boost your confidence. Organize your thoughts before the time, make a short list of things you’d like to discuss and stand your ground in negotiating for things you deserve.

7. Choose The Right Time

Choosing the right time and the right place to approach the other party for negotiation can help make things more comfortable and increase your chances of having your request met. Trying to negotiate when the other party is upset, or busy can lead to an unpleasant outcome. So pick the time and place that is convenient for both of you.

8. Stay Focused And Practical

While negotiating, do not let it get too personal. Instead of whining about how you need money to take care of your rent and other personal expenses, show them that you deserve what you’re asking for.

Give them practical reasons why increasing your salary will help you perform better at work or why allowing work from home twice a week will make you more productive. You’ll get a better response when they perceive you as being level-headed and focused than when you’re talking from a stance fueled by emotions.

9. Consider Alternatives

Knowing what you want, being confident about it and standing your ground are key to a successful negotiation. But sometimes you need to have an alternative, in case your initial request is not met. For example, let’s say you’re negotiating for a salary raise and your employer cannot fulfil that request. You can ask them to consider covering your transportation costs. You’re not getting exactly what you want but at least, having your weekly or monthly transportation allowances covered will leave you with fewer expenses and more money in your pocket.

10. Be Willing To Walk Away

You may not like to hear this but sometimes you may not be able to reach a mutually beneficial agreement when negotiating. In this case, be willing to walk away. Although some companies may offer you the possibility of promotions with added benefits after you have worked for some time. If it’s not what you want, do not feel pressured to accept the offer. This can leave you feeling stuck and unsatisfied.

For instance, let’s say you’re negotiating with a potential employer and the final offer does not meet the salary, health and other benefits that are essential to you. Here, you’ll have to decide whether the job is worth lowering your expectations for or if you should look elsewhere.


Knowing how to negotiate effectively at any stage in your career is essential to a fun and satisfying job experience. Just like every good skill, you can learn and master the art of negotiation. All you need is confidence and value for yourself and good communication skills to get started.

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What other challenges have experienced with negotiating at work? Let us know in the comments below.

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