What are the Three Pillars of Negotiation Success, and How Do They Work?

The ability to negotiate is more complex than most people might think. It takes a lot more than hard bargaining, wheeling, and dealing to reach a successful solution. An effective negotiator must be organized and prepared, and they must understand and practice the three pillars of negotiation: attitude, process, and behavior. This model was built from diverse client experiences from businesses all over the world. These important negotiating practices are the foundation for building confident, strong and trusting relationships. Let’s take a closer look at each of these pillars and how they contribute to negotiating success. 


Research has shown that approaching negotiations with a positive attitude can actually have a positive impact on the overall outcome. People who come to the table with a positive attitude tend to perform better than those who don’t. Confidence is everything when it comes to negotiating. If you approach the discussion lacking self-belief, the other party will capitalize on your insecurities. It is important to know what you want, believe you can achieve it, and aim for excellence. Your mental attitude is one of the most defining characteristics of a successful negotiation, so choose to think positive!


Next, you need to be familiar with the process of the negotiation. The process begins with adequate preparation and understanding the needs of both parties. Not only is it important to set your own goals and objectives, but you also need to gather information about the needs and motivations of the other parties. You also need to understand the purpose of the negotiation. Are you bargaining, bidding, or moving toward a close? Once you understand the basic purpose, it’s time to begin preparing your strategy. This involves designing a deal, preparing your concessions, considering the other party’s approach, and developing a BATNA (or best alternative.) Preparing is essential, but you also need to be flexible. 


Now that you have prepared a negotiation plan, you need to decide on a behavioral strategy. Different approaches work differently for different people. For example, if you are working with someone who makes decisions based on reason, you need to come armed with facts and figures. On the other hand, someone who is influenced by emotion might be more easily swayed by intangible items. Consider the other party’s behaviors, so you can find a behavior style to maximize your influence. In addition to the words you use, remember that your body language will also impact the other party. Consider things like eye contact, posture, facial expressions, and voice tone and how these behaviors might be perceived by the other party.