Negotiating to yes in a mutually beneficial way

Negotiating to yes means negotiating to obtain at least the basic result you seek from the discussions. Negotiation is part of our daily life. We negotiate with our family, our friends, our co-workers, our superiors, suppliers and others. When approaching negotiation, “negotiating to yes” is the objective. However, negotiation can be seen as a lose-win game or a win-win game. When you approach another party with an intent to negotiate in a lose-win game, you may be damaging the long-term relationship with the other party.

Do not confuse negotiating to yes with trying to take everything away from the other party. Greed and short-term victories can be painful in the long-term.

Short-Term Success vs. Long-Term Failure

No one wants to come out of negotiations as a losing party and, should this happen, the losing party may not have warm feelings toward any further negotiations or will plan to “get even” in further negotiations.

If you find a counter-party who can be negotiated-to-a-yes and you make him look absolutely bad, it is almost guaranteed he or she will be replaced by a better negotiator. That only makes your life all the more difficult. Therefore it is in your best interest to not ask for more then you need. Giving something back or taking just a little may be a better strategy for you.

It is important to have the intent to find a solution which will be workable for all parties involved. The objective should be to find a win-win solution where at least the basic needs of both parties will be met.

As a negotiator, the first step you need to take is to understand the needs and interests of both parties. Then, taking this knowledge into account, you can consider which alternative meets the needs of both parties. The focus should be on finding a workable solution that will meet the needs of both parties.

Of course, there could be situations when a win-win solution is not possible. However, in approaching the negotiations, the focus should be on finding a workable solution whenever possible. The “losing” party must also understand why they could not come out as a winner and must be willing to accept the outcome. The “yes” in “negotiating to yes” can be adjusted in the losing party’s mind to a more workable outcome.


You need to make sure that the objective of “negotiating to yes” is achieved by both parties. Even when you can take everything, think for the long-term and try to build an ally rather than an enemy.

Furthermore, think of your personal style when you conduct negotiations. Always ensure it is respectful and considerate in dealing with the other party. Generally, people respect and appreciate authenticity, honesty and fairness. If you have their best interests in mind – they will be more likely to be considerate of yours. However, do not confuse fairness with being a push-over. You need to be tough when required, but remember that negotiating to yes is not a winner takes all approach.


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