- Although negotiation is a basic skill, practiced almost
daily in all walks of life, very few have studied it. Last
year, the CityBar Center for Continuing Legal Education and
ALI-ABA sponsored a program, “Negotiation: Bargaining
for Better Results,” conducted by Charles B. Craver,
a professor of law at George Washington University Law School.
insights included: “You don’t get what you deserve,
you get what you negotiate for”; “The negotiator
who has the most confidence usually perseveres”; and
“If you are an impatient negotiator, you will not
do as well as you could otherwise.” His tips to improve
negotiation skills include the following:
To be a good negotiator, you have to work at it.
If you are willing to walk away, you usually make a good
When you negotiate, you need to know when to start, when
to stop, and your bottom line.
Charge for things the other party wants even if they do
not matter to you.
Puffery and embellishment are acceptable, but lying about
what is essential ends trust and the hope of any future
If the other party respects you, they will try harder
to agree with you.
The other party will walk away from negotiating if an
offer is so unreasonable that someone else may offer a
Know your “best alternative to a negotiated settlement”
Be aware of nonverbal communication, such as body language
and significant changes in behavior.
those who would like to learn more about negotiation, I
recommend Craver’s book, The Intelligent Negotiator:
What to Say, What to Do, How to Get What You Want—Every
Time (Prima/Crown, 2002).
Zimmerman, CPA, is an arbitrator and mediator on
the American Arbitration Association’s panels and in
private practice. His website is www.mediatorpz.com.