4 techniques that will make you a better, more confident negotiator

Whether you’re looking to nab a deal with a new client or ask for a salary increase, you could benefit from learning some proper negotiation technique.

As Google HR boss Laszlo Bock notes in his book “Work Rules!,” a reluctance to negotiate may also be a major factor on the persistence of the gender pay gap in the US.

In an oft-cited Carnegie Mellon report from Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever from 2003, they found that among the university’s recent business school graduates, 57% had attempted to negotiate a higher salary in their first job, while only 7% of women did.

And even if you’re an aggressive negotiator, you may be making some common mistakes.

We spoke with University of Michigan Ross School of Business professor George Siedel, who has taught negotiation classes around the world and the Coursera course “Successful Negotiation,” to learn how anyone can become a better negotiator.

Here are four essential tips.


A negotiation isn’t simply offering a deal and accepting either a “yes” or a “no” after a chance to persuade the other side.

“Good negotiators are the ones who walk into a deal in listening mode,” Siedel says. He recommends that you ask plenty of questions to understand where the other side is coming from and what they’re trying to get out of the deal.

You should be trying to gain the upper hand through the accumulation of knowledge regarding the deal at hand rather than just focusing on the sound of your own voice.

Ease into it.

“You need to know the other side before diving in,” Siedel says, adding that Americans traditionally have a harder time than people of other cultures accepting this.

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