How can you become a successful negotiator? (Part 2 - Outcomes of negotiation)

There is a time to be tough, a time to be adamant, a time to be open to compromise, and a time to reach an agreement.
— Jimmy Hoffa

In a previous blog we looked at the types of negotiation, but it is equally important to choose your outcomes before you begin negotiating. Let’s take a look at the different outcomes.


Choosing your outcomes is linked to the type of negotiation you choose and dependent on your level of planning and consideration. It’s necessary for any negotiation to decide what you want from the deal before you start. But don’t stubbornly set your sights on one result only.

Creative agreements occur when your preparation allows you to develop alternatives.

Negotiators who have a number of predetermined possibilities as outcomes have a better chance of getting what they want than negotiators who aim for only one result and don’t consider any other outcome. Aim high, but spend time preparing more than one desired outcome.


This outcome is most likely the result of a deliberate type of negotiation, where negotiators use a collaborative style. The outcome doesn’t divide the resources fairly but enlarges the resources so that each party has more than their share. Strive for this outcome where there is a long-term relationship at stake and an opportunity to work together to get an even better outcome than first imagined.

With a realistic outcome both parties are satisfied that they got a fair outcome, taking into account all relevant factors.


This outcome represents the quick style of negotiating. At the end of the negotiation you will feel that the deal may be acceptable, but you could have got a better outcome. Don’t waste time on these thoughts, they are entirely counterproductive.

Often prices are made up with the stroke of a pen, so always ask for a better deal. Businesses are keen to move a product or service, and this will still be an acceptable deal for them.

Worst Possible Outcome

This outcome can occur in quick, compromise and deliberate negotiations, but is more common in quick negotiations. You are also more likely to get the worst possible outcome when dealing with someone who is irrationally competitive, emotionally involved or completely disinterested.

It is challenging and certainly not rare to come across parties in a negotiation who are unwilling to budge. Be prepared, if the worst possible outcome is an option, then it is easier to make a decision and find a creative solution.

However, many negotiators invite the worst possible outcome through a lack of planning. It is surprising how many negotiators do their planning on the way to the negotiation.

Think carefully, think creatively, and think ahead.

You may decide to take a small deal today to begin a long and profitable relationship.

The worst possible outcome is vital in your planning because if you get past this point you should STOP! The worst possible outcome is still one that you should be able to live with.

What does it all mean?

When we looked at the types of negotiation, we showed that you can move along the continuum between quick, compromise and deliberate. You can work the outcome the same way. You will move through the scale depending on the timing of the negotiation and the style that you using.

Our earlier blog, Negotiating: How to Resist Price Pressure shows how to use these different outcomes with your substantive issues to provide you with many creative options for success.

To increase your ability to make sound decisions during your negotiations, check out the ‘Negotiation Leadership’ course at ACU.