Onderhandelen als kunst

als onderhandelen echt een cruciaal onderdeel van je werk (of leven) is, dan gaat onderhandelen een stap of eigenlijk een sprong verder.

Want denk je bijvoorbeeld van een agent die moet onderhandelen bij een gijzeling, welke skills moet die persoon hebben om een persoon veilig thuis te krijgen. Voormalig FBI agent Chris Voss heeft er een boek overgeschreven


The first step is to create trust by Active listening

People want to be understood and accepted

The two primal urges are:

  • The need to feel safe and secure
  • The need to feel in control


“Seek first to understand, then to be understood”


Listen intensely, demonstrate empathy  and show a sincere desire to understand what the other  side is experiencing


“People who view negotiation as a battle of arguments become overwhelmed by the voices in their head. But the truth is, negotiation isn’t a battle; it is an act of discovery. The objective is to uncover as much information as is available”


Prepare, reveal potential surprises in the negotiation

Hypothesis vs. Assumptions: Don’t assume, use negotiation to test hypotheses

Uncover as much information as possible.

Uncover what your counterpart actually needs (money, time, emotional needs etc…)

Help them feel safe in order to help them open up and talk more

Your primary focus: the other person and what they have to say


“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”


Use a positive & playful tone, this should be your default voice. It’s the voice of an easy going, good-natured person.

Open your palms, and smile while talking, even if you’re negotiating over the phone.

Speak gentle, but with confidence


Apply mirrors by repeating the last three, or most crucial, words of what your counterpart has just said

Create a sense of similarity and understanding which facilitates bonding.

After the mirror apply seconds long silences.


Steps for using a Mirror effectively:

  • Use the Late-night DJ tone
  • Start sentences with I’m sorry…..to earn the benefit of the doubt
  • Mirror last three words or selected words
  • Be silent for at least four seconds to let mirror work its magic
  • Repeat


“Mirroring works magic. Repeat the last three words (or the critical one to three words) of what someone has just said because we fear what is different and find comfort in similarity. Using mirroring encourages the other party to empathize and bond with you, keep people talking, buy your party some time, and eventually reveal their strategy”




Tactical Empathy is understanding the feelings and mindset of the other party at the moment and also hearing what is behind those feelings so that you can increase your influence in all the moments that follow.

It is the ability to understand how someone is feeling. Recognize their perspective and vocalize/demonstrate  that recognition.

Understand your counterpart’s feeling and hear what’s fueling those feelings

Focus your attention on identifying emotional obstacles that are standing in the way of an agreement.


Analyze your counterpart’s words, tone, and body language. Spot changes therein and look for incongruities.


Labeling is a way of validating someone’s emotion by acknowledging it. The first step to labeling is detecting the other party’s emotional state. The trick to spotting feelings is to pay close attention to changes people undergo when they respond to external events. And more often than not, in a negotiation scenario, these external events are your words. Once you’ve spotted an emotion you want to highlight, the next step is to label it aloud. Labels can be phrased as statements or questions. Labels almost always begin with the following phrases:

Labels usually begins with:

  • It seems like……..
  • Is sounds like……
  • It looks like………

Ex. It sounds like trust is something that’s important to you


After applying the label, pause to let the label sink in. Your counterpart will fill in the silence.


Avoid using the first person point of view and there for you should not use the word I. Also no “I understand”


  • Labels serve to validate your counterpart’s emotion by verbally acknowledging it.
  • Naming the feelings of the counterpart during the negotiating is the process of labeling.
  • Labeling helps to calm the emotions of your counterpart and validated.


“Don’t Feel Their Pain, Label It”


People’s emotions have two levels:

  • A “presenting” behavior, which is the part above the surface that one can see and hear, and
  • the “underlying” feeling which is the motivation behind the behavior

Great negotiators address those underlying emotions by labeling.

Labeling negatives diffuse them, and labeling positives reinforce them. Labeling helps de-escalate situations because it acknowledges the other party’s feelings rather than continuing to act them out.

The golden rule is to understand that you’re dealing with a human who wants to be appreciated and understood. Labels can help reinforce positive perceptions and dynamics.


Focus first on clearing the barriers to an agreement

Label your counterpart’s fear/negative perceptions to diffuse them of their power

Avoiding the negatives has an counterproductive effect on trust and influence

  • It probably seems like we’re avoiding responsibility by changing the account owner…..


Steps for diffusing negatives:

  • Observe and listen without reacting or judging
  • Label each negative feeling that you hear expressed
  • Pause to let the label sink in
  • Replace with a positive, compassionate and solution based thought


Start with No,

Getting a no as answer is not a failure, it often means the counterpart is not comfortable yet.

No does not mean the negotiation has ended, instead you can see it as a signal that the negotiation is about to begin.

The need for safety & control is a basic human need. Being able to say no gives your counterpart feel like they’re in control and creates a more constructive  and collaborative environment.

In some cases even no-oriented questions, questions that require a no response, helps them feel in control and keep emotions at bay.

  • Use no as a means of establishing agreement, for example:
    • Is now a bad time to talk?

You might need to force your counterpart into a no to help bring them back to baseline

  • Intentionally mis-label an emotion
  • Ask a ridiculous question that can only be answered by a no



Using a summary to trigger That’s Right,

Getting a “That’s Right”  means a good and wholehearted agreement, therefore aim at the end not for a yes, instead aim for getting “That’s Right” .

Up until this point the only thing you’ve been doing is getting them to open up to you, so you can understand exactly what they want, and why they want it.


Getting the that’s rights, not only means an agreement it confirms you have understanding of what your counterpart told you.

Avoid getting a “you are right”, this creates distance and places you in opposition.


Use a summary to trigger the That’s right, the steps:

  • Effective pauses to encourage your counterpart to keep talking
  • Minimal encouragers, Ok, uh-huh, I See –> shows you’re paying full attention
  • Mirrors, listen and repeat back what you’ve heard
  • Labels, give feelings a name to identify with how they feel
  • Paraphrasing, repeat in your own words what your counterpart has said to demonstrate understanding
  • Summarizing, re-articulate meaning of what was just said and acknowledge the underlying emotions expressed = paraphrase + labeling


When it feels like you’re ready use a summary to trigger that response.


Use a summary to trigger a “that’s right.” The building blocks of a good summary are a label combined with paraphrasing.


The power of  open ended questions,

One way of guiding the negotiation in your preferred direction is by asking open ended questions to your counterpart.

If you are aware of in which way you want to direct the conversation, ask carefully planned questions.

Use questions which begins with How, What or Why can help you influence your counterpart to construct a good shared solution.


The goal in any negotiation is to get your counterpart to come with the solution you want on their own.

You can’t do this directly, but if you use calibrated questions effectively, you can ride them to your ideas.

A calibrated question is an open-ended question that allows you to get your counterpart to open up, and in areas of conflict introduce ideas and requests without sounding overbearing or pushy.


“Calibrated questions have the power to educate the other party on what the problem is rather than causing conflict by telling them what the problem is”


Avoid verbs or words that can be answered with a simple Yes or No. For example: can, is, are, do or does are good examples of closed questions.

The best calibrated questions start off with:

  • What,
  • How,
  • Why,
  • How would you like me to proceed?
  • What is it that brought us into this situation?
  • How can we solve this problem?
  • How am I supposed to do that?
  • What about this is important to you?
  • How can I help make this better for us?
  • What are we trying to accomplish here?


Calibrated questions make the other party feel like they’re in charge, but it’s really you who is driving the conversation.


The implied meaning of calibrated questions is that you want the same thing as your counterpart, but you need his or her intelligence to overcome the problem


An extra negotiating strategy for creating a deal –> Bending reality

Persuade your counterpart that they have something concrete to lose if the deal falls through.

Bend the reality in your favor true the following techniques:

  • Anchor their emotions –> To bend the other party’s sense of reality, you need to start with the basics of empathy. You need to be able to audit and acknowledge their fears. By anchoring their emotions in preparation for a loss, you inflame the other party’s loss aversion so that they’ll jump at the chance to avoid it.
  • Let the other guy go first –> most of the time……. Let’s them make them do an offer, maybe it is better than expected
  • If you go first, establish a range –> Establish your ballpark range rather than a specific price.

This works best when the low number in the price range is what you actually want. The counterpart will see a deal at the low end of your range as a victory. (this counts for selling)

  • Pivot to non-monetary terms –> Offering things that aren’t important to you but could be important to them.  (This techniques goes both sides, selling and buying)
  • Use odd numbers –> Whenever you use specific numbers, it seems as though you came to that conclusion using thought-full calculation


“People will take more risks to avoid a loss than to realize a gain. Make sure the other party sees that there is something to lose by inaction”


Getting your counterparts to bid against themselves

When it gets down to the actual bargaining you’ll usually have several opportunities to say no

  • The first time you do it you’ll say:
    • How am I supposed to do that (the trick is to say it in a deferential way so that it appears as a plea for help)
  • The second wat of saying no is something along the line of:
    • Your offer is very generous, I’m sorry that just doesn’t work for me
  • The third time you can use something like:
    • I’m sorry but I’m afraid I just can’t do that
  • Lastly you can say:
    • I’m sorry, no

All the while you haven’t made them a counteroffer and your counterpart is most likely to bid against themselves at least once during the process.


Using the Ackerman model to bargain hard

When you’re heading into a negotiation the most important thing you can do is prepare and then prepare some more.


“When the pressure is on you don’t rise to the occasion –> you fall to your highest level of preparation”


To prepare use the Ackerman model:

  1. Set your target price (your goal)
  2. Set your first offer 65% of your target price
  3. Calculate 3 raises of the decreasing increments (to 85%, 95% and 100%)
  4. When calculating the final amount use a precise non-round number, like €37.893,=

Rather than € 38.000

You can throw in a non-monetary item (that you probably don’t want) this suggests you really are at your limit.

Bron: Neversplit the difference, Chris Voss