How to Negotiate Anything

Richard Birke, a Law Professor and Director of Willametter University's Center for Dispute Resolution, joined us today to teach us how to be better negotiators.  Learning how to negotiate things like your cable bill and your salary can put more money in your pocket in the long run.

Here are Richard Birke's tips:

1.  GOOD NEGOTIATORS KNOW WHAT THEY WANT – car buying is a good example

  • they take the time to think of all their needs and wants, and they prioritize
  • they are aware of the tradeoffs between the things they want
  • they update their needs and wants as the negotiation develops

2.  GOOD NEGOTIATORS AREN’T AFRAID TO ASK FOR WHAT THEY WANT – salary negotiations are a good example

  • so long as you are polite and respectful
  • and so long as you can take “no” gracefully

3.  REALLY GOOD NEGOTIATORS THINK ABOUT THE OTHER SIDE – settling an insurance claim or a credit card bill are good examples

  • is this a good time to negotiate?
  • am I negotiating with the right person?
  • what does the other side care about/want?


  • great negotiators ask great questions

5.  MEDIOCRE NEGOTIATORS BREAK ALL THESE RULES – an argument with a family member illustrates all these

  • they aren’t clear about what they want, even to themselves
  • they don’t like making tradeoffs
  • they don’t ask, or they don’t ask clearly (then they are resentful)
  • they treat the other side as an enemy, not an ally.


How to be a better negotiator:

  • practice listening
  • negotiate something every day that's hard for you
  • learn to breathe and clear your mind before reacting in a negotiation


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