So often when we enter a negotiation, we’re pretty much obsessed with the outcome WE are hoping to get. We’ve done our homework, so we know the number (or whatever it is) we’re trying to reach, and if we’ve been extra diligent, we also know our BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement). But aren’t we forgetting something critical here? What about what ‘the other guy’ wants?


You might say, “We’ll, that’s his problem; he should come prepared to fight for his share of the pie.” OK, maybe. But here’s the reality: If your counterpart in a negotiation doesn’t get what he needs, there will be no agreement—period. So, unless you make it your business to make sure that he gets what he needs as much as you get what you need, you could be walking away with nothing.


This article from talks about how to be a better negotiator by starting any negotiation with a simple question:


“So, how’s it going?”


Why? Because it opens up the other person just a little bit and communicates to her that you’re wanting to know more about her and what’s important to her. Granted, it’s only a modest start to helping her get what she needs from the negotiation, but it can set the tone for success and kick off the negotiation in the right direction.


In your next workplace negotiation—no matter how small—think about how you can show concern for ‘the other guy’ and demonstrate your interest in understanding what he wants. I think you’ll be able to engage in a more cooperative negotiation that gets you more of what you want.



Guillermo Villar is principal coach with Cambio Coaching. He helps high-achieving individuals and teams communicate with intention to get the business results they want.