Effective negotiation doesn’t have to be a trade-off between getting the best outcome and being well-liked. Experts say there are strategies you can use to have it both ways:

  • Establish a rapport with small talk
  • Don’t make concessions to avoid tension
  • Look for ways to frame the issue other than confrontation
  • Highlight the areas of common ground
  • Ask questions about the other side
  • Try to put yourself in the opposing position.

Using these techniques to build an understanding while still being firm on issues important to you can help what could be an adversarial process become a joint problem-solving challenge, where both parties are invested in a mutually-beneficial outcome. Remember not to mistake someone else’s demands as a slight or insult, and instead ask questions about motivations and constraints to better understand where negotiations can move.