Published On: Tue, Aug 14th, 2012

Business tips from Palm Beach State College

By:  Palm Beach State College Small Business Development Center

BOCA RATON — Negotiation is a fact of life, especially when you are a business owner. So, where do we begin with this subject?

First and foremost, there are people you know who are great negotiators – ask them for a few tips, if possible “OBSERVE” them in action!

Did you know that your local library has many resources on this subject and for more in-depth assistance you can request the services of a research librarian?

Here are some ideas that may assist you in the negotiation game thereby improving your chances of a mutually agreeable outcome. Think about the four elements: people, interests, options, objective criteria and your commitment.

  • Evaluate your opponents. Example: their status in the organization, their educational background, personality profile (likes/dislikes) negotiation style and time frame of the agreed-upon project or outcome. This will enable you to be more comfortable when you are negotiating.


  • Seek common ground. You both like playing tennis? Great, that is a good icebreaker when exchanging pleasantries.


  • The physical layout of the room is important. A round table is considered best for negotiations, also lighting (e.g., bollard lighting) of the space should be considered as well as the chairs.

So, now we are sitting at the table, do we all know why we are here? What is on the table? Before either party can move forward, you need to know what their concerns are and how you both can come to an agreement. If the other party doesn’t share information with you, the task cannot move forward.

Communicate clearly your expectations and what it can do for them. Always search for common ground.

It’s important to know your own value and stress that open communication is the key to a successful outcome. It is also important that you remain optimistic.

Remember to be diplomatic. “Diplomacy and poise on your part can go a long way to even the trickiest negotiations and demands.” It opens the door to problem-solving and a more reasonable business outcome which may equate to more business for your firm.

For more on this topic, or for free counseling with Certified business analysts, including growth acceleration consultants and PTAC specialists, contact the Palm Beach State College Small Business Development Center at 561-862-4726 or email us at .


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