How Not to Negotiate...

How Not to Negotiate ‐ a Political Lesson

Like millions of us I am so frustrated with the whole Brexit issue! As someone who has done many ‘deals’ in business this is truly a lesson in how not to succeed in negotiation.

The art of negotiation is something that smart businesspeople master as it can mean so much in terms of success or failure.

First and foremost, the objective of any negotiation should be to create a win/win position for both parties but before this situation can be reached there is usually a period of testing each other’s resolve and the strength of the other party’s position.

Brexit is showing us very clearly how NOT to be good negotiators.

Let’s try and take a view as a good negotiator in business would see this Brexit situation

Trying to Understand the Other Party’s Position
  1. The Eurozone isn’t doing great. Even it’s strongest economy historically, Germany, is having a tough time. There are huge difficulties with member countries like Spain, Italy, Greece and it doesn’t look to great on the streets of France either! Not the strongest position I would say
  2. Viewed from the EU our position is one of arguments, disagreements, political grandstanding, the complete rejection of a ‘no deal’ option etc. ‐ a position that also isn’t that solid

Big mistakes are being made. On the last point a good negotiator would not take ANY OPTION off the table at this point, they would leave all options open. Openly stating that an element is ‘off the table’ plays straight into the EU’s hands in this situation.

Having a Next Best Alternative

People often talk about a ‘walk away’ position in negotiation. It is rarely the best alternative to a deal. When preparing to negotiate it is more sensible to have a Next Best Alternative (NBA) in your mind.

When viewed in this way is the NBA for the EU to walk away with no deal? I would suggest that the loss of £39 billion might be a strong incentive to say this is not the case! Equally the UK walking away with no deal could damage our economy significantly so surely that’s not a NBA either.

Finding the Negotiating Room

Using the Brexit situation as an example the reality is that there is ‘negotiating room’ for both parties to come to an agreement that prevents the huge negative effects of both ‘walking away’ with no deal. Good negotiators would recognise this and see clearly that there is a deal to be done as it is in BOTH sides interests to do it.

Yes, it’s a game of bluff and double bluff but a glance at the worst options for BOTH parties means that the win/win is to do a deal. There is therefore definitely an incentive to find negotiating room.

To succeed in negotiating you must be able to:

  • View the position from the other side and ‘walk in their shoes’.
  • Keep win/win in the forefront of your mind
  • Know your NBA
  • Establish and appreciate where the negotiating room sits
  • Hold your nerve

Do these things and you’ll enjoy better business results ‐ simple as that. Strong negotiating in business can add £’000s to the bottom line. Also remember that negotiating isn’t exclusively a Sales Skill as, when used well in Purchasing, it can obviously be very fruitful.

Want to learn more and earn more? Get in touch at or on 0116 232 5231 or contact me personally at the contact points below.

David Turner

Managing Director

07747 023610


Enquiry Form

Need to talk to a Tinderbox expert? Fill out the form below and the right person from our team of experts will get back to you to help with your enquiry.

Who we have worked with

Who we have worked with: Hallmark Cards, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, Rolls Royce, Sunseeker, Mattel, MicroSoft, Argos, Auto Glym, P&G, Ferranti, FloGas, Lloyds TSB

Tinderbox Limited Registered office: Ventura House, Ventura Park Rd, Tamworth, B78 3HL, Registered in England
Company registration number 7663634
• View Our Privacy Policy

© 2015 Tinderbox Ltd. All rights reserved
Web Design by Nuke Creative