Negotiation 101: To get to yes, start with no

But understand that "no" means "let's keep talking"

by James Gaskin - Since the goal is to get your negotiation counterpart to say yes, it seems backwards to "start with no." Acknowledge the other party has the "right to veto" which means saying no to any proposal you offer. If you can't say no, you don't have a negotiation, you have a surrender, and they hold all the leverage. How do you feel when you can't say no to someone, like your boss or your spouse?

[ See also: 10 Negotiation Tips for IT People ]

When you tell the other party no, you have a chance to offer your ideas. If you've ever seen a child "negotiating" with a parent for candy at the grocery store, when the parent says no the child doesn't stop asking. Eventually, almost every parent says yes. Saying no opens the door to explore other options, and the other party feels more comfortable realizing a "no" doesn't mean "stop" but rather "let's keep talking."

Many people start a conversation by asking,"is now a good time to talk?" They give you a chance to say no right at the start, and few people do.


This tip is adapted from "10 Negotiation Tips for IT People" by James Gaskin.

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