4 Fundamental Questions to Ask When Going into a Negotiation

business owners leadership richard martinez - business coach May 06, 2021
4 Fundamental Questions to Ask When Going into a Negotiation

There’s an infamous proverb which says, if you want something bad enough, you have to work for it.  This is a perfectly valid statement.  However, the truth of the matter is, if you want something bad enough in life, it’s probably more likely you’ll have to negotiate for it.  Every single transaction in existence is dictated by the dynamics of negotiation.  Unless it’s your lucky day, if something of value has ever caught your eye, the only way you can reasonably acquire it is to negotiate an exchange for something of equivalent value.

Walk the Tightrope Carefully

Motivation Science Center and Columbia Business School Associate Director Heidi Grant Halvorson suggests that “to be successful, you really need to know how to negotiate well. But… this particular skill doesn't come naturally to many people. This is because negotiation is an experience that is rife with conflicting motivations… Negotiations are always gambles, and there is always risk.” The key to sharpening your negotiation skills is awareness.  You have to be aware of the risks involved, and the objectives at stake. Here are four critical questions to ask before entering into a negotiation:

1) What are my Goals?

Negotiation isn’t an arbitrary interaction.  It is a process of exchange which can end up costing you. Especially if you don’t understand what it is you want in the first place.  Having clearly defined goals allows you to specify your expectations, and anchor yourself against losses.  As long as a negotiation isn’t impromptu, take a few moments to itemize and articulate your goals.

2) What Should my Approach Be?

Negotiations don’t just happen in a vacuum. They are influenced by the atmosphere in which they occur. A conducive atmosphere is one which is characterized by transparency and stability. On the other hand, a less conducive atmosphere is one which is characterized by deceit and unpredictability. The atmosphere of your negotiation should inform whether you’re aggressive, or restrain

3) How Much Do I Know?

Negotiations are competitive in nature, which means the less knowledge you have, the less power you wield. At the very least, strive to know as much as possible about who you’re negotiating with, and what you’re negotiating for. Projecting ignorance during a negotiation makes you vulnerable to disrespect.

What’s My Reputation?

Trying to negotiate with someone who has a bad impression of you is like running into a brick wall. This is why the most valuable thing you can do to facilitate a negotiation is turn on the charm. Make them feel comfortable about engaging with you, and build a sense of goodwill. The less your counterpart has to hesitate about negotiating, the easier it is to come to a consensus.


Negotiation is a very analytical process. Not only is it necessary to understand your own interests, but you need to appreciate the interests of your counterpart as well. It’s also necessary to reflect on all the variables which either strengthen, or weaken your position as a negotiator. Always do everything in your power to negotiate from a position of understanding and strength. If you like what you just read from our blog, you’ll love the various informative courses, workshops and events listed on our websites and social media. Whether you’re interested in personal development, or overall improvement of your business, give us a  call at 1 (888) 823-7757 to find out how The RISE Academy can help you break past your daily struggles and start soaring in success. For business development coaching by Richard Martinez, call at 626-202-2291 or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Stay up to date with new blog posts, new courses and programs offered by Richard Martinez!
Subscribe to our newsletter! - Get the latest from Richard Martinez in your inbox.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.