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How To Negotiate To Get What You Want

Written by: Dannie De Novo, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


It’s easy to become fearful during times like these when the future is uncertain, and the economy doesn’t appear to be behaving in a helpful way. You want to get what you want, but admit it, negotiating for what you want leaves you feeling anxious and overwhelmed. That’s because you are allowing too much emotion to enter the process and because, every time you are gearing up to negotiate, you put on your invisible boxing gloves and mentally hear the bell go off for the start of round one.

You can’t enter into a negotiation as if you are entering a UFC fighting cage. All this does is make the negotiation an adversarial battle instead of a path to an agreement. It hurts you from the outset because you aren’t focused on what’s important, you make poor decisions, and you destroy trust with the other party.

As a lawyer, I have successfully negotiated hundreds of millions of dollars in deals every year. Negotiation is as much an art as it is a science. There are ways to get what you want, but fighting is usually not a good option, and allowing emotion to rule is detrimental to the outcome. To help you get what you want, let me explain four tips to help you take the gloves off and yet still negotiate like a BEAR. Not the kind of bear that is hungry, angry, and provoked, but the kind that is strong and confident.

B – bias

Bias shows up in your negotiations when you have a preconceived idea about the other party in the negotiations or when you erroneously believe that the other party feels a certain way about you before you have even spoken a word to one another. You need to be aware of your thoughts before you begin your negations. Also, just as important is this: learn how not to take things personally. Let’s say you want to buy a new car, and the salesperson quotes you a price that you feel is high. Your bias and emotions kick in and you start thinking to yourself, “this person must think I’m stupid,” or you think, “who do they think I am to try and get one over on me?” You become easily triggered and reactive, and once that happens, then throughout the conversation, you stop doing the second tip.

E – ears – use them, and that means listen

You need to have an open mind when listening because otherwise, you will hear what you want to hear, or you will hear things that aren’t being said at all (see tip 1 above). It is also important to listen to everything surrounding the conversation, not just the words. Listen to body language and the subtext that is coming through. It will help you see and entertain more options. For example, if it is obvious that you are not going to get the other side to budge on one point, listen for other places where you might be able to gain more value. Maybe the price isn’t negotiable, but other features or additions are. You can find this out easily by going to the third tip, which is…

A – ask good questions – and ask open-ended questions

Don’t ask questions that will get you a yes or no answer or a one-word answer. Ask thoughtful questions that require thoughtful answers. You can say something like, “It sounds like you are fixed on price but what are some other ways that you might be able to deliver more value for me?”

You need to be thinking about other ways that you might be able to fix a particular problem or situation, and asking good questions that require good answers will lead you to your desired result or outcome.

R – rapport

This is about forging a relationship with the other party rather than making them an adversary. Everyone is human, and we all want to be acknowledged as such and seen as individuals. Treat the person on the other side as a person. Take the time to show them that you are listening to them. Respond appropriately and authentically to things they say to you. Be as patient with them as you want them to be with you.

Also, when you build rapport and trust, the negotiation becomes a collaboration. Everyone wants to walk away feeling good about the transaction, so you will work together to ensure that happens.

You can practice these negotiation techniques everywhere you go. Start conversations with strangers at the grocery store or when waiting in line for your latte. Try building rapport. Ask good questions and listen to the answers. Pay attention to where your bias shows up. These conversations will help you build confidence when you really need it during actual negotiations.

And, when you’re feeling pretty good about your negotiation skills, try practicing them and using them with your spouse and your kids. (On second thought, that might be more of an advanced course that we’ll have to cover next time!)

Remember: do your best to put yourself in a non-emotional state before you negotiate! Good luck!

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Dannie De Novo, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dannie De Novo is a happiness coach and international bestselling author. After having battled depression and anxiety for most of her early life, Dannie set out on a course to learn what true happiness was for her and for the sake of her baby girl. Now, Dannie regularly appears on ABC, Fox, NBC, and CBS TV news and talk shows as an expert on creating happiness, combating loneliness and depression, and managing anxiety. For more about Dannie De Novo, visit



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