Eight ingredients for a great negotiation

Jan 25, 2018

Published by Chartered Accountants Ireland

The thought of negotiation can sometimes intimidate or overwhelm even the most confident of people. However, the best way to overcome this is going into the negotiation with sincerity, a clear idea about what you want, how much you are prepared to concede and minding your body language and how you hold yourself.

Remain in control

The tell-tale sign of a weak negotiator is to appear bullish, aggressive and frustrated. Exercise restraint at all times, but use your voice with clarity, conviction and confidence. A strong negotiator is in control of the fundamental resources of breath, body, and gesture. Be sure not to fidget, and speak with authority; no ‘ehs’ or ‘ums’.

Stand tall – figuratively and figuratively

Ronan O Gara speaks of the need to stand tall and this should be applied as you go to negotiate. You need a tall spine (no slouching here!) and you need to have an honest and sincere handshake. As in any interaction, it’s important to make eye contact with the other party, although make sure you don’t stare – the point is to make the other person comfortable with you.


If the other party is a good negotiator, they will have also come in prepared and confident. Carefully listen to what they want out of the negotiation. Listening to the other party won’t cause you to give too much away on your end of the deal, so there is no reason not to do it.

Hold the line

It sounds cliché, but it can’t be said enough: negotiation is about your courage and confidence to hold the line to avoid any obvious tell-tale signs of nerves. You know what you want and so you will know when it’s time to walk away if a compromise can’t be reached.


Give yourself time to prepare, then prepare again. And again! Keep your cards close to your chest and know all your facts and figures as well as your arguments for your side of the deal. Be confident in your opening pitch and learn your lines as though you are a Hollywood actor.

Remember what you want

Remember the result you want. Remember the compromise you are prepared to make and the bridge over which you are not prepared to travel.

Watch out for the swallow

When you are under pressure, don’t show it. When you are backed against the wall, keep calm. Watch out for the ‘swallow’: this is when you are under pressure and, inadvertently, you take a big swallow. Don’t swallow at a pressure point – it will make you seem guilty. Swallow at points of advance, not defeat.

Include that little something extra

Finally, always have a decent biro or, better still, a fountain pen at the ready to sign on the dotted line. And, gentlemen, always wear quality cufflinks!

If you would like to get in touch to discuss any aspects of the bloodstock and racing industry please contact me at: dskelly@davidskelly.ie

Alternatively, if you would like some advice in relation to your business ventures I would be pleased to call to your premises for an initial meeting which is provided on a complimentary basis.

'The Accountant who knows his Assert from his Elbio'