Negotiation Training

Keld Jensen

Negotiation, Trust, and Behavioral Economics Expert
Negotiations occur more often than you think. My research findings show that people who do not even believe they negotiate actually engage in some form of negotiation between 8,000 and 10,000 times a year. Up to 80% of your communication could be described as a form of negotiation. Although you negotiate often, most people have not participated in negotiation training, taken a negotiation course, negotiation class and do not understand the need for negotiation tactics. Those who master the art of negotiation will be valuable assets to any organization.

Do You Need Negotiation Training?

Many of us are involved in negotiations on a daily basis. Research on senior executives’  professional projects shows that most of their working day is spent in negotiations. Negotiations are not just about buying and selling. During internal meetings concerning upcoming or ongoing projects, there are negotiations about timetables, technical specifications, staff, and finance. When situations change, solutions, responsibilities, and rights must be renegotiated.

You negotiate on the telephone, face to face in the hallway, via email, Zoom and at meetings.  Despite the frequency of negotiations, most organizations do not have a negotiation strategy or participated in negotiation training courses. This is the equivalent to not having a communication strategy, a legal strategy, a market strategy, an HR strategy, or even an annual budget—unthinkable in most organizations. But even so, most do not have a negotiation strategy! This is why, if you are familiar with the art of negotiation, you will be an asset to your organization.

Strength and Power in Negotiations

People in superior power positions often use their strength to dictate conditions. They want to win,  to make decisions for other people, or they want revenge. History shows many examples of agreements in which the winners have dictated the conditions to the losers. If you want to build long-term and profitable relationships, do not dictate conditions to an opponent. This approach is short-sighted, uncivilized, and creates enemies. Many view the Treaty of Versailles after World War I as one of the most catastrophic agreements in history; the tough peace conditions it imposed on Germany resulted in Hitler gaining power.

It may be tempting to use power and strength to win, especially if the imbalance between the parties is significant. Organizations such as IKEA, Tesco, Walmart, GM, Ford, Statoil, and Coca-Cola are giants compared to many of their business partners. The distance between the leader and its trading partners is enormous.

It can also be tempting to use power and strength in situations that prioritize short-term gains. But this comes at a price: an agreement in which others feel that they have been taken advantage of can be very short-lived.

The Handshake is Just the Beginning

A negotiation does not end once the contract is signed. Many negotiation training classes focus entirely on tricks and techniques  to use in the process of closing the contract. However, this is just the start of the relationship. A positive relationship can only develop if the parties live up to what they have agreed to.  A company that is strong today may be weak tomorrow. Similarly, the defeated party may feel a need for revenge. When emotions take over, the terms of the agreement are threatened. Proper negotiation skills training will make sure the professional negotiator understands negotiation tactics and how to act effectively at the negotiation table.

Decide on the Conditions

Negotiation is a psychological game between people, a game in which you must understand the rules, a game in which you will need to agree to—and perhaps even develop—the rules with your counterpart. Negotiation is not defined by an external standard; it is not as though all the countries of the world have signed a treaty agreeing how to negotiate. Imagine meeting a friend for a pick-up game, basketball under your arm, to find him sitting by a chessboard. This lack of consensus is what you sometimes experience at the negotiation table. Since many negotiators have never participated in a formal negotiation class, they don’t have the theoretical background required to succeed at negotiation.

In a negotiation training course you must understand how you can influence your counterpart, and vice versa. You must learn to say no and test limits without spoiling the relationship. You must be tough but flexible. You must understand when it is worthwhile to continue negotiating and when you must accept the situation as a lost cause.

If you broadcast the wrong signals, you risk not getting the result you’re looking for. Many negotiations, good or bad, are settled within the first 15 minutes of the meeting. If you show any weakness, your opponent will take advantage of you. If you show that you want to be combative, you create unnecessary blocks and conflicts, and lose the alternatives that could create a larger pie to share. If you do not dare to open up or listen, you will not start a dialogue, and you will not find the keys to unlock the situation.

How Do We Negotiate?

Conflict is generally short-term, consisting of one party’s gain and the other party’s loss, called zero-sum. The loser will not or cannot accept the deal, and becomes focused instead on revenge. A more constructive approach is to be open and cooperative, but not naïve. With common resources, you can create added value. This is what I call practicing NegoEconomics™. The cooperative delegate looks for solutions that will result in two winners in a partnership or what i call SMARTnership™. Today these award winning methods are taught in negotiation skills training classes round the world.

In the arena of negotiation, there are gains, costs, and risks; there are both hard and soft values. Not every variable can be converted into cash. For example, I may prefer to buy an Apple laptop rather than a Lenovo, but how much more am I willing to pay for it? I do not want the sales manager from a vendor’s organization to take part in a project. The last time a sales manager participated, my colleagues had significant problems with him—the personal chemistry did not work. But how do I measure and evaluate the risk he presents in monetary terms?

In order to get the largest share of the profit, while risking the least of your own resources, you have three different methods available:

Combative Negotiation/Zero-Sum Negotiation

  1. Assert a strong power position, or convince the opponent that you are strong, and then test the limits. Become good at manipulating and arguing, and prioritize short-term gains. People who use these techniques are combative negotiators, because they use aggressive behavior.


  1. An alternative is to wait to share the pie. First, you must try to make it bigger by finding alternatives that will increase  profit and reduce costs and risks. Use your energy to create a NegoEconomic™ solution. If the pie becomes big enough, there is a possibility that you will find a solution with two winners. Here you find cooperative negotiators.


  1. The third way is an approach in which dialogue and agreement about how to negotiate takes more time than the actual discussion on splitting the value. The parties have agreed on rules of the game, created trust and openness between them, and now work seamlessly as one, instead of against one another.

Negotiation Training

The Intro Course To SMARTnership Negotiation Master Program

44 Lessons


Welcome to the World Of SMARTnership Negotiation | More Than Intro

44 Lessons


SMARTnership Negotiation Master Program | Bronze Package

76 Lessons

The SMARTnership Negotiation Hybrid | Self-Pace Study and Live Webinar

64 Lessons

Silver Program

SMARTnership Negotiation Master Program | Silver Package

85 Lessons

Gold Program

The Intro Course To SMARTnership Negotiation Master Program

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Negotiation Training Course

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