Negotiation, what does work?


Changes need new thinking

How do you formulate your goals at the negotiation table? What does work?

Sometimes requirements do work. But not always.

Demanding is rarely good for the atmosphere at the negotiating table.

When do you formulate your request as a requirement and when do you use a question?



The advantage of setting a requirement for your needs is that it is very clear to others what you want. Depending on the situation, a flexible attitude will probably not work. It’s urgent and needs a solution now!

But a demanding attitude can fill the other with anger. Probably your counter party will not feel comfortable with the agreement and will try to get away at the first opportunity.


The advantage of a flexible attitude (asking for a concession) is that the atmosphere generally remains good. All parties can jointly seek for solutions, and will feel bound by the result.

The downside is for questioning is that a competitive party may seize to win himself more at your expense. Therefore, make sure that the situation remains in balance. A permissive attitude towards a demand constituent counterparty does not yield good results.

When do you formulate as a requirement and when as a question?

You formulate your goal as a requirement:

  • If you are sure that there is only one possible solution to the problem. There are no alternatives. Play hard: it’s all or nothing
  • At a very competitive negotiator who only speaks in terms of requirements

You formulate your goal as a question:

If you want a win-win solution.

One last tip

Do not be too careful in formulating your question. It’s more about the attitude and intention than the formulation. Do not expect great results if you ask:

I want to ask for a discount. Would that perhaps, might be a possibility, or do you see other solutions? “

Some certainty to the negotiating table does not hurt, even in a flexible, questioning attitude.

Success at the negotiating table!



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