On negotiation

We negotiate every day in almost every conversation and exchange, whether it’s rescheduling a flight, asking for a product return or responding to a term sheet.

I’ve been reading Getting More, a book by Stuart Diamond, who trains the military, Google and many others on negotiation. Everyone should read it.

This book is set apart because it recognizes the nature of relationships, emotion and human nature, forgoing concepts like ZOPA and BATNA. Instead, the book focuses on simple, tangible tactics:

Write your goals down - Focus on achieving those goals and don’t get bogged down by any tangents.
Practice ahead of time - We practice all the time in sports but rarely in business.
Little wins - Negotiation is about small concessions. No one succeeds by asking for the moon.
Understand the other side - Walk a mile in the other person’s shoes to understand what’s important. So you can….
Trade your low value for their high value - Neither side values things equally. Finding out what’s can be traded at high/low perceived value is the key to enlarging the pie.
No emotions, ever.
Long term relationships - Life is long and the valley is small. Make sure to build your reputation with your negiotiating behavior. (Hat tip:@jmatus)

Negotiation is a universally applicable skill and one which can evoke dramatic changes in our lives. It’s worth investing the time to become better at it.

Published 2012-08-24 in Startups  Best Practices 


I'm a partner at Redpoint. I invest in Series A and B SaaS companies. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the book, Winning with Data. Join more than 18,000 others receiving these blog posts by email.


Read this next: