On Strategic Negotiation

An Answer By Osama El-Kadi

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Strategic negotiation is about acting with objectives in mind plus seeing the whole life cost of a situation or a deal in general.

Q While some great negotiators are born, many of the skills can also be taught. What are the attributes of a breakthrough negotiator that can be learned?

A This is an important question. There are two types of negotiators, a Strategic Negotiator and a tactical one.

Tactical negotiation or “bargaining” skills are difficult to practice in reality unless you were born or grow up with it in your culture. Bargaining or tactical skills is cultural driven and every nation has its tried and tested tactics and style. We hear about Russian, Indian, German, Arab and American style of tactical negotiation.

Strategic negotiation on the other hand is more complex but certainly “learnable” and more adaptable to studying and does not require tactical or bargaining skills to go with it.

It is an indirect type of negotiation and no confrontation required once it is learned.

Bill Gate for example is a master at strategic negotiation who totally lacks any tactical bargaining skills. All is evident by his wealth and the dominance of his products all over the world.

He sets the price for his products and everyone buys without any negotiation let alone bargaining with him.

This is strategic negotiation at its best. In other words, this is the positioning approach in negotiation.

It is very interesting to note here that, nations immersed in the tactical approach to negotiation are usually of developing nature while most developed nations are in the strategic camp of negotiation in general.

The British for example are one of the poorest tactical negotiation nations in the world, yet they dominated the planet for 300 years uninterrupted and won every strategic & major negotiation they conducted.

British people no doubt lost some “bargains” here and there with people from other nations, but never when it involves the bigger picture and the strategic view.

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