Negotiators Who Changed the Course of History

It’s not something we think about every day but the fact is our global society is highly dependent on effective negotiations.  Negotiation stops wars and signs treaties.  Negotiations are the foundation of humanitarian initiatives.  Negotiation is what builds corporations and drives our economic growth.  We rarely think about the impact negotiation has on our country and how it has impacted the world throughout history.  The following master negotiators have made some of the most pertinent decisions that changed the course of history.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela will always be remembered as one of the best negotiators in history.  His patience, strategic thinking, practicality, and persistence enabled him to negotiate in ways that no one else could.  He understood that need to make concessions but he wasn’t willing to give up what was most important to him.  He was challenged to negotiate with people who were known to be violent and very resistant.  However, his ability to persuade his adversaries and come to a peaceful resolve is considered to be a negotiation that was unmatched in the 20th century.  The outcomes were admirable and changed the history of South Africa.  For this he goes down as one of the best negotiators in history.


Theodore Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt is known for being one of the greatest negotiators in American history.  He was as stubborn as a bull and never willing to budge in issues that were important to him.  His determination and persistence led to some of the most important negotiations in history, including the Treaty of Portsmouth.  This treaty formally ended the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 after Russia and Japan had endured several years of disputes over control of Manchuria.  Teddy Roosevelt was asked to negotiate a peace agreement, which was successful and ultimately led to Roosevelt winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.  In addition to his tough negotiation tactics, Roosevelt also had a softer side which earned him the nickname “teddy bear.”


Mohandas Ghandi

Ghandi was one of the premiere negotiators and profound leaders of our time.  He was negotiating with Great Britain during a time great tension.  All eyes of the world were upon Ghandi and his people and he never let that pressure affect his ability to negotiate.  He had a peaceful yet persistent demeanor which allowed him to see things from a different perspective.  He knew that utilizing these perceptual positions would allow him to gather rich information. He knew how to listen and gather pertinent information about the situation.  His ability to listen and his non-violent methods allowed him to negotiate India’s independence.  What started with the negotiations known as “The Ghandi-Irwin Pact” and gradually led to greater negotiations between the British and the Indians paved the path for India’s independence and freedom.