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19 inspirational quotes on the art of negotiation

February 7, 2012

fear 19 inspirational quotes on the art of negotiation

The art of negotiation

One major part of a successful business is negotiation. As such, the art of negotiating is an essential skill of the modern business pro. But negotiating isn’t always so easy, as it is generally a trait that has to be developed rather than an inherited trait. Whether you are about to meet at the negotiation table or you just want to be prepared for future events, here are 19 inspirational quotes all about professional negotiation.

Taking things personally

“During a negotiation, it would be wise not to take anything personally. If you leave personalities out of it, you will be able to see opportunities more objectively.” – Brian Koslow

A simple assumption

“Negotiation in the classic diplomatic sense assumes parties more anxious to agree than to disagree.” – Dean Acheson

Just the facts, ma’am

“The most difficult thing in any negotiation, almost, is making sure that you strip it of the emotion and deal with the facts.” – Howard Baker

Count to ten

“This is a classic negotiation technique. It’s a gentle, soft indication of your disapproval and a great way to keep negotiating. Count to 10. By then, the other person usually will start talking and may very well make a higher offer.” – Bill Coleman

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JFK’s wisdom

“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” – John F. Kennedy


“Don’t bargain yourself down before you get to the table.” – Carol Frohlinger

Secret of a diplomat

“He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of a diplomat.” – Robert Estabrook

Making money

“You must never try to make all the money that’s in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too, because if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won’t have many deals.” – J. Paul Getty

Meet me half way

“The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people half way.” – Henry Boyle


“The worst thing you can say is ‘I want $X for this job,’ leaving no opening for negotiation by the other side. Better language is ‘I hope to earn between $X and $X.’ That gives the other party more flexibility.” – Bill Coleman

Word of warning

“If you come to a negotiation table saying you have the final truth, that you know nothing but the truth and that is final, you will get nothing.” – Harri Holkeri

Skinning cats

“If you are planning on doing business with someone again, don’t be too tough in the negotiations. If you’re going to skin a cat, don’t keep it as a house cat.” – Marvin Levin

The power of silence

“Never forget the power of silence, that massively disconcerting pause which goes on and on and may last induce an opponent to babble and backtrack nervously.” – Lance Morrow

Dangerous words

“The single and most dangerous word to be spoken in business is no. The second most dangerous word is yes. It is possible to avoid saying either.” – Lois Wyse

Freud and Holmes

“A negotiator should observe everything. You must be part Sherlock Holmes, part Sigmund Freud.” – Victor Kiam


“Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.” – Sir David Frost

Anger in negotiations

“Anger can be an effective negotiating tool, but only as a calculated act, never as a reaction.” – Mark McCormack

Knowing who will win

“It’s a well-known proposition that you know who’s going to win a negotiation; it’s he who pauses the longest.” – Robert Court

Top tactic

“Place a higher priority on discovering what a win looks like for the other person.” – Harvey Robbins

Negotiation is about knowing what you want, going after it, and respecting the other person in the process. Remember that the whole point of negotiating is compromise. This means that you need to look out for yourself, but also be willing to budge in order to satisfy both parties. As mentioned in some of the quotes above, negotiating is to build professional relationships rather than burning bridges on your way out of the conference room.

AGBeat Staff Writer: Charlene Jimenez earned her Master's Degree in Arts and Culture with a Creative Writing concentration from the University of Denver after earning her Bachelor's Degree in English from Brigham Young University in Idaho. Jimenez's column is dedicated to business and technology tips, trends and best practices for entrepreneurs and small business professionals.


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  17. We all need some inspiration now and then. For me,negotiation seems to always go more smoothly with a Win-Win approach. Thanks, Charlene, for providing these powerful one-liners.

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