Effectively negotiating with other people is, without any doubt, one of the highest-level skills we can develop in our personal & business relationships.

In the following timeless video, Joel Peterson delivers some superb (& sometimes very entertaining!) ideas to the Stanford Executive Education Influence and Negotiation Strategies Program. Recorded back in 2007, what he shares is as relevant today as when it was first delivered.

If you don’t want to listen to the entire 68 minutes now, take advantage of my cliff notes below the video.

Let me know what you get out of it!



Joel Peterson talks about how to conduct a successful negotiation. Recorded: January 31, 2007 Stanford Executive Education Influence and Negotiation Strategies Program
“A negotiation is a CONVERSATION.”
  • If you develop high levels of trust with the other party, there is greater durability
  • Thinking win-win
  • REMEMBER: there is ALWAYS a broader accountability outside your own interests (eg my spouse, the community)
  • Watch your language (DON’T even BLUFF just once)
  • Never use high velocity words – LOWER the temperature, not raise it
  • If someone else uses high velocity words, OVERLOOK them
  • Be CALM. Keeping the emotional BASELINE low is KEY (<= you’ll be trusted more)
  • Creative solutions, relationships with others that you like
  • It’s always smart to have someone outside the room to refine, correct, smooth over your errors (“let me check with….”)
  • Negotiate directly rather than through third parties
  • Your authenticity is something that will be determined by the other party
  • Be as pleasant and polite as you possibly can (if you’re likeable you’ll get better results)
Develop Rules of the Road:
Best practice principles that are congruent with your core values
& ones which are fair
  • reasonable
  • win-win
  • principled (so if lines are crossed, you stand firm!)
You’re looking to negotiate deals with people who have:
Power (<= the person with the ability to make the decisions!)
Try to figure out what the WIN-WIN scenario is – AND:
go in to the negotiation being aware of YOUR (& ideally figure our THEIR):
What is the ***OTHER*** person’s BATNA?
Know where the elephants and ants are:
Discern the difference between the battles & the war.
For high level negotiations with high level CCP’s
I tell the other party exactly what it is I’m trying to achieve, and the price I’m willing to pay to achieve it.
The more you can understand REALLY what it is that’s important to THEM, the better the opportunity you have to craft a solution that is going to work in their favour & yours
INSIDE vs OUTSIDE negotiations:
The INSIDE negotiations are the most important ones to lose
(remember: know the difference between the ant & the elephant!)
The worst thing is to be negotiating with people of compromised principles:
***Don’t wrestle with pigs – you’ll get dirty & they’ll enjoy it***
What BRAND do you want to convey & reputation do you want to build?
Talk about the areas of conflict to try to turn the situation into more of a win-win.
What would it take to develop a more long-lasting give & take in this relationship?
Try to have a LOT of options with which to negotiate
Ury & Fisher:
Getting to Yes
Getting past No
  • separate the people from the problem
  • focus on interests rather than position
  • invent options together for mutual gain
  • figure out the objective criteria for a win-win
  • assess the deal in the light of your best assessment of the win-win criteria
  • Figure out your & the other party’s BATNA
  • Find the areas where you agree & then the areas where you really need to negotiate

I had an interesting, encouraging and painful experience recently: I decided to do my annual accounts for one of my companies. It wasn’t painful for the obvious reasons, and it helped me realize the importance of the title of this article.

What am I talking about?

First: here’s the pain:

Some things I did in my company didn’t work, and I wasted money as a consequence, because of the poor decisions I made.

Here’s the encouragement:

Others activities I managed well produced a profitable result.

No big deal – every company has accountants and CFO’s to tell them this good and bad news, on an on-going basis.

So, how do these revelations relate to the title?

As you can tell from my last entry (Winners Know How to Lose Well), I’m on a journey at the moment.

I’m hungry for change.

Hungry, not so much for change around me (my circumstances), but more hungry for change within me.

I see shortcomings in my life that I no longer want to accept as an inevitable part of me. I look back at the last financial year of my main income-producing business, and see the litter of my shortcomings, and the successes of my character mixed together.

I want to let go of the things within me and within my business activities that I know that lead to loss – not just in monetary terms, but also in the effects that they have on others around me, both clients and personal relationships.

Is this a hard thing to do? You bet.

Do I need to do this? Absolutely.

Part of the art of life is learning to develop a keen sense of letting go of things that don’t work. I’m talking here much more about internal realities than external ones.


Because it matters anyway.

I’ve come to realize that if I want to be really successful in life (I prefer to use the term ‘fruitful’ but it amounts to the same thing), I must learn to let go of things sooner rather than later, because the wake of those decisions matter to me and to those around me in incalculable ways.

Why am I sharing this with you?

Well, it’s part of the nature of the fruitful aspects of my character to share with others what I know does and doesn’t work, because I know it helps others, and it also helps me.

This new decade started with a muted beginning, and only 12 days in many were devastated by events that literally rocked and destroyed their world.

But the reality is that there are events that happen within ourselves on a daily basis that can lead to our survival, growth and success, or our ultimate loss, if we choose not heed their lessons.

"Letting go before it matters" is really about making decisions to change and remove those things within me before the external consequences of those character flaws become so overwhelmingly obvious that it becomes too challenging to solve the problems that arise in their wake.

And in my business, it means deciding not to do things that although might seem good, actually limit my capacity to do those things that might become great.

So I’m on a journey. And I want to share it with those who are willing to walk with me in this process.

If that’s you, contact me, or comment below, and let’s begin the conversation together.