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1 – How to negotiate a discount

1A – Negotiating on the phone

2 – Six success secrets when buying a car

3 – How to negotiate by Email

4 – International Negotiations

5 – Liar – Liar – How to spot liars

6 – 10 Top tips for negotiating in today’s climate

7 – The real secrets of motivation

8 – The massive benefits of giving Feedforward rather than Feedback

9 – TEAM negotiations. How to negotiate bas an effective negotiation team

10 – Body language – The silent signals of success  Published August 15th 2016

Three must have Negotiation tips for today’s difficult Brexit climate!

 1 – Know what you wantSet your goals. Start with the end in mind. What are the options available to you?

If you are selling – Look at the market place. Are you positioning your product as a high value, value added product, a niche value product or just a transactional proposition. This will effect how it looks, feels and is perceived.

If you are buying – Where else can you buy it? Could you buy something cheaper elsewhere, or do you need a higher perceived value item? If you know what you want, you are much more likely to get it. If you don’t know what you want, every road will take you there “no where”.

The more rapport you can build with them (the psychic connection) the better questions you can ask and the more frank answers you will get. Bring some humour into it – whether you ask for a cheaper deal or you say you can’t reduce your price.

 2 – Proper preparation prevents pretty poor performance. Think about where the other side is coming from. What do they want? What are the options? Have you considered the variables? Think about the inexpensive items that cost you very little that you could add into the package, or the things of value to you that the other side might be able to add in, at little cost to them.

Questioning skills and listening skills – If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Or, put another way, if you don’t ask, you don’t give the other side the opportunity to say yes to you.

Listening to the answers you get carefully; is called active disciplined listening. Listening to what is not being said is also important and make sure you read the body language at the same time.

3 – Learn how to use Strategies and Tactics – The psychology of negotiating tactics is almost a book in itself. However here are several tactics, which tend to keep the other side honest.

Good cop / bad cop – linked to higher authority. Even if you are on your own; you are the good guy and the bad guys are the committee, your business partners etc. They are of course the higher authority as well. “I would love to agree but I can’t let them down!

Time – Use time well. More concessions come when it gets close to the deadline.

Dumb is smart – or the Colombo tactic. This is where you don’t understand what they are saying to get them to clarify more clearly where they are really coming from (you do understand of course – unless they are spinning you a line)

Derek Arden is an international negotiator, a conference speaker and author of Win Win, published by Pearson Educational Books worldwide. Use Derek to open your convention, negotiate better deals for you and to educate your people. See: www.Derekarden.co.uk or follow him on twitter

These are articles published before July 2016

1 – How to negotiate a discount

Mindset is key

You need the right mindset. The mindset to negotiate discounts at every opportunity. Frame this thought in your mind so that always you are thinking about how you can get money off.

You need to think you are going to get a reduced price on everything you buy from now. The results might surprise you. And, remember, everything you get a discount on is part of your tax-free disposable income that the revenue authorities cannot touch.

 If you do not ask, you will not get

Negotiating a discount requires nothing more than asking. However, how you ask is key to the results you get.

Here are some other words/sentences you might use and say as a matter-of-fact statement:

‘The usual discount, please.’ – OR ‘The normal discount, please.’If they say something like, ‘Are you trade?’ say, ‘Yes – I always trade’, and then make sure you smile!

TIP TOP TIP! – Once you get used to asking always, you will be surprised how often you succeed.

 Use the “What Who How” method

 The what – First of all, look at what you believe to be the profitability of what you are buying – the margins the vendor is making.

If you think they are making a reasonable margin, then you should ask.

The who – Who should you ask for a discount? You should ask the manager or someone who looks like they have the authority to give a discount. nGo up to them and build rapport. Connect with them as we have talked about previously in the book. Create a little small talk. Then ask very nicely for a discount.

The how – How you do depends on the circumstances and you can do this in many ways. There is an element of judgement and intuition in this.

Here are some examples: – ‘If I buy this today, will you give me a discount?’ The implication here is that you may not buy it.

‘Do you have the authority to give discounts?’ If they say yes, smile and say, ‘Great! Could I have 15 per cent on this please?’ If they say no, ask who does have the authority.

Voice tonality

Remember to use soft voice tonality. If you ask tough questions, they are more acceptable if you ask them in a soft voice, lowering the volume, almost quietly so no one else can hear, even if there is no one within earshot.

If they say no to your request, do not give up – You might say, jokingly, ‘I bet you could?’ Watch their reaction to see if they might, and push more. If they say, definitely, no, then you either buy it and move on, or you see if you can get it elsewhere.

Go on? You could, couldn’t you?

I was in the local branch of a well-known chain of stationers and I was buying files and papers that added up to £48.74. I asked if I could have the ‘usual discount’ as I do and the manager said ‘We only give discounts to students.’

‘That’s OK,’ I said, ‘because I am a mature student.’ He said, ‘You will have to show me your student discount card.’ I replied that I didn’t have one, going on to say, I replied that I could get a ‘mature student discount card’ printed by my printer friend in 5 minutes.

We were having a great laugh by this time and he then said, ‘OK give me a break, you can have your discount’ and pressed the discount button on the till.

Do not forget:

  • Get into the negotiator’s mindset – always think about asking for a discount. Always expect to get a discount. If you cannot get a discount, ask for extras.
  • Practise how you ask – the way you ask, gently or firmly, will be crucial to your success rate. People like giving things to people they like.
  • Always have other options – if they think you might buy it elsewhere, then they know that, to get the sale, probably they have to come down to their walk away price.



How to negotiate on the phone – PUBLISHED – JULY 2015 Start your business magazine

Ever since digital technology started to play such a prominent in business, more and more entrepreneurs have adopted email, text messages and even social media as their primary method of communication. Of course these methods are invaluable tools in today’s connected world, but business leaders should not forget the power of a telephone call when it comes to closing a sale, negotiating a discount or just sealing a deal that could be the key to your business success:

Use the phone to your advantage 

Speaking on the phone means you can engage in a two-way conversation where you can get an instant reaction to their proposals.

Build rapport in the usual way, a little small talk. Use the same words as the other person, if you can. For example, I answer the phone, ‘Hello, it’s Derek Arden.’ You can play back two of the words I have used to build rapport, by saying, ‘Hello, Derek. Is now a good time to speak or can I call you back?’

Do not miss the chance to connect with the other person, if you can. It will help the negotiation.

Make the call if you can

You can be better prepared if you make the outgoing call so that you are in the perfect frame of mind. Alternatively, arrange a time to speak so that, even if they are calling, you can still feel prepared.

If they call you and you were not expecting the call, then say it is not a convenient time for the call and arrange for a call back at a specific time. Alternatively, ask if you can call them back in a short time, giving you enough time to prepare yourself properly.

Be prepared

Make the environment conducive to your call. Close irrelevant programs on your computer. Put papers away. Go to a different room, or even walk outside.

Standing up whilst on the telephone gives you better body posture and, therefore, better concentration, with the mind body connection. You will also feel more confident and sharper, as there will be more oxygen flowing to your brain.

Get someone else to listen

If it is a difficult call or a complicated one, you could put the call on a speaker phone or you could have someone with a separate ear piece. (However, you should let the caller know that they are listening.)

The listener will be able to take notes and interpret the meaning while you are handling the negotiating. This can be really useful to revisit after the call.

Listen for what you cannot see

There is no body language to help us interpret the real meaning, so switch on your active listening skills. Focus on the call and the person at the other end of the call to listen for intention and any hesitations.

Take a break

 Just as with all negotiations, if you need a break to think through your options, then agree to call the person back at a prearranged time, or send them an email in advance before you call them.

Do not forget:

  • Be polite, build rapport – ask if this is a convenient time to have a conversation. Small talk is as important on the phone as it is face to face.
  • Use the person’s name – often, but not too often (too often can sound patronising and manipulative), mirror their language, the words, the tone and speed of voice.
  • Ask high-quality questions and listen carefully – you will get clues to how it is going from the way they answer, as well as what they answer.
  • Summarise agreement – listen carefully to whether they are in agreement by their tone of voice and language. Confirm agreement by email straight away. Write the contract.

Derek Arden is an expert negotiator and the author of new book, Win Win: How to get a positive result from persuasive negotiations, published by Pearson, priced £12.99.


2 – Six success secrets when buying a car

This also links to youtube clip – 2012 – 69,000 views

Derek Arden – First published in Used Car Expert  – Car negotiating YouTube link

  1. Build rapport but do not make a friend. Blunt or aggressive negotiation will not work. Rarely does a car seller need your purchase so badly that they will tolerate rudeness. Chat to them and be warm whilst looking at the car. But do not get too friendly or feel sorry for the seller because you want to get a good deal.
  1. Ask for a discount without being embarrassed. Tell the sales person:”I would love to buy this car, but my wife/husband will go nuts if I pay this price. What can you do to help me?”
  1. It does not necessarily matter if your partner does not mind what you pay – or even that you do not have a partner. This is called “using higher authority”. It means that you can remain on good terms with the seller, but still push for a better deal. It makes the seller more inclined to move on price. Never accept the first offer. It makes the salesman think he has offered too much but still has more discounts to give. Whatever they offer say,”that helps, but I’m still not sure I could face my partner.” Or “Surely you can do better than that?” Use the power of silence. If the salesman makes you an offer, or you have asked him to improve his offer, resist the temptation to speak. Just wait, for several minutes if necessary. The silence will be painful for you, but more painful for the salesman. Eventually he will crack and start to offer you “sweeteners” to close the deal.
  1. Know your prices. When dealing with garages, make sure you know what’s on offer at other garages in the area. Many will match the offers of their competitors, so you just have to ask, ”Will you match your competitors prices?”
  1. Avoid splitting the difference (or meeting in the middle). If you offer to split the difference the sales person will split it again, which means you have moved 75% of the way towards their price and they have moved 25% towards you.If the sales person offers to split the difference, say “I can’t do that, but I’ll meet you half way between my offer and the offer you just made.” This means they move 75% and you give just 25% up!

Finally – ask garages for added value. If you have exhausted the potential discount options, ask the garage for bonus items. For example say, ”the audio’s not very good and all the mats need replacing.”

3 – How to negotiate by email

5 Tip Top Tips for effective email negotiating

Email has become the communication method of choice for many people in business today, but because it is largely a one-way communication tool with no immediate feedback, it should perhaps be used sparingly for negotiations. Inevitably however, face-to-face discussions aren’t always practical, so in those situations email provides a great alternative to keep the negotiation moving, with the added bonus of a written record effectively giving you an audit trail so you can refer to previous exchanges.

So, rather than shy away from email in negotiations entirely, how can we go about crafting a powerful, succinct message that will help get you what you want?

Draft your email and review it carefully

Once you have written your message, go back and ask yourself if you have expressed yourself clearly, if you have answered their questions, and if there is any ambiguity. If you are in any doubt about an email, there are a few precautions you should take:

  1. Compose the email or reply in a new window, so it does not get sent by mistake before you are ready. You can also address it to yourself to see what it looks like in your inbox.
  1. Do not press send too quickly. If it is a critical message print it out and read it through slowly. You are starting a conversation or replying to an email, ensure that you have read through the email carefully to ensure it conveys what you want to say.
  1. Sleep on it. In the heat of the moment it can be tempting to respond quickly, but if things get tricky it often it pays to wait 24 hours before replying.
  1. Don’t forget, USING CAPITALS IN EMAIL IS JUST LIKE SHOUTING and using red is angry! Keep bold or italics for highlighting only the most important points, and keep in mind that different email systems format in different ways so if appearance and layout really is crucial, you might want to attach a PDF.

Be business-like and friendly

Whilst emails should be business-like, never forget the human touch as there is a person at the other end who wants to help. They are going to help the people who treat them courteously, with respect rather than abruptly or in an offhand way – people buy from people, even in the digital world.

Clarify misunderstandings

If you think the other person has not understood what you meant, then address the issue directly and try to clarify what the problem is. Explain what you were saying a different way, or use imagery to help. Remember that with email it can be hard to gauge tone and you will not be able to see their reaction, so ensure your language is appropriate and do not leave any room for confusion.

Email can be really useful when discussing specifics or finalising details. The great advantage is that you can see all the text of previous emails so and go through fine detail carefully in your own time, and if you want to go back to something, you can just copy and paste the relevant text word-for-word.

Send at a good time

Psychologists have told me that the state or the frame of mind the recipient is in when they get a message, which determines how they interpret the email.

Additionally, the time of day when people open emails might determine how favourably they receive it, together with the way they interpret key words in the email. Studies have showed that the later in the afternoon or evening, the less favourably a recipient is likely to view an email, and messages that are read late at night on their smart device are more likely to get a short or aggressive reply.

Do not forget:

  • Be polite – always keep it friendly by including a personal note and asking how they are. Do not forget to use the recipient’s name.
  • Keep it brief – long emails tend not to be digested thoroughly, so keep it to the point, but not so short that it appears rude.
  • Give options – make the email feel like an exchange, by offering options. Give them different packages, times, or locations, for example, ‘If you can do …, we can do ….’
  • Close courteously – the habit of making emails with a time deadline on them and including no best wishes or ‘Thanks for all your help’ or something similar is not congruent to working towards a win win. Take five seconds longer to make it look better.

Derek Arden is an international negotiator, a conference speaker and author of Win Win: How to get a positive result from persuasive negotiations, published by Pearson Business Education. See: www.Derekarden.co.uk or follow him on twitter: @derekarden

4 – International Negotiating

Vital secrets everyone should know

 Basic assumption

One of the basic assumptions of negotiating is that everyone is different in a variety of ways, so we need to understand the other side and where they are coming from.

 This is even more important in international negotiations.

The golden rule – There is no golden rule!

Research the country you are going to before you go. Search the internet for customs, expectations, how the people respond, what they expect, how to dress and how to address the people you meet. Talk to people who have been there. Ask via your social networks, social media and business colleagues. Make no assumptions. Check and find out about the country, the people and the culture and the hierarchy of the organisation you are meeting. Take the time to get the pronunciation of the names correct.

TIP TOP TIP! – No country is the same; no culture is the same. There are no rules; never make any assumptions.

Here are some guidelines that you might find useful. However, please do not take any of this as hard fact, as every circumstance will be different. These are generalisations. As with people, no two situations or people are the same. Just for example, people who have travelled to the UK, Europe or the USA for their education, will have a more westernised approach than those who have never left their own country.

 Europe – People are more likely to haggle the further south in Europe you go, just as time keeping also becomes less strict. Germans and Germanic culture is very punctual and efficient. Do not be late.

In some countries, negotiations can be really tough, even rude and aggressive, but, after the formalities have been agreed, the tone will be lighter and socialising will be expected. They might even expect you to be their friend at the end of the negotiation.

The Dutch might sound tough with their accents and could sound quite blunt in what they say, but they are not being rude; they are very polite people.

Scandinavians/Northern Europeans are not so forthcoming and play their cards close to their chests.

 North America

In the USA they like to be tough with a no-nonsense approach. Get on with the negotiations quickly and do not give too much time to small talk. They like to be able to show colleagues that they have won.

One senior US negotiator told me that, in his experience, British people were more collaborative than Americans, who typically would be more aggressive in their negotiations. In the USA, first names are used immediately.

An American client of mine, Tim Durkin, says, ‘Americans can be all handshaking and back slapping and now even move to hugging, if the atmosphere is casual. However, they still recoil at the thought of touching each other in subways, buses or crowds. Americans would pass out, if they had to ride on a typical Tokyo train.’

 South America/Latin America

Due to the mainly Southern European historical influences, often it is assumed that you can treat people from South America as if they are Spanish or Portuguese. However, whilst this is a reasonable rule of thumb, there are some real differences that it is worthwhile being aware of. There is also quite an Italian influence on some countries.

In Brazil, time is rarely an issue. In Argentina, people tend to be more punctual. Generally, in South America, hospitality is very important. Being able to converse in their language, particularly the initial greetings and general pleasantries, goes a long way to building rapport and being accepted. This does, of course, apply everywhere. If you make a little effort, you will get a strong reward.

Middle East

Relationships are very important. The Arab culture is inherently warming and friendly but it takes time to build personal relationships. Time is not important to them.

However, they can have lots of advisers (expats from Europe, Asia or elsewhere in their region) and their negotiation style will reflect their original background with due recognition of their local cultural influences (their bosses).

As a rule, you should not shake hands with an Arab lady, if you are a man and vice versa. Discounts on price with no reduction in scope are expected. As I have said, Middle Eastern people tend to need time to build relationships, whereas some Western cultures, particularly the USA, like to get straight on with the business. In some places, great emphasis is placed on ‘your word’.

Delicately, you might need to find out if the person you are negotiating with has the authority to negotiate and agree the deal. Referral ‘back up the line’ for final sanction is commonplace (overuse of higher authority). I once heard of a Middle Eastern negotiation where the USA was heavily involved. They spent six months negotiating the size of the table and the food that was going to be served.

As an aside, and linked to the above, I was invited to do a talk in North Harrow. It turned out to be a scout hut that had been converted into a mosque. No one told me it was a sacred place and I walked in without taking my shoes off. I was politely and firmly put in my place.


On the Indian sub-continent they have been trading for many years across the seas and haggling hard is part of the negotiation process. There is still an English influence in places like Hong Kong and Singapore, with a Chinese influence becoming stronger more recently. Business cards should be treated as rare jewels – particularly in the Far East. You give them out two handed, accept them two handed and admire them. Status is very important and this, for example, is reflected in the seating arrangements for meetings. The senior person sits away from the door and other attendees sit in order of seniority with the most junior nearest to the door (and, I am told, expected to fight off intruders!). This is the influence of Feng Shui on the region.

A Chinese contract was once described as a handshake; a commitment that was personal, and could not be broken. In today’s litigious global world, that may not always be the case now but it tells us something about the culture.

I heard a story about a business group who went to Japan and tossed their business cards across the negotiating table. The Japanese were totally bemused by this potential Western insult.


The customs of Australia fit somewhere between the USA and the UK. Their sense of humour, like their negotiating, can be a bit abrasive or a bit quirky. For example, the Aussie way of talking about a friend, or even you, often can seem offensive to our ears. It is always a great idea to check whether an Australian is smiling when he says something that may at first be thought derogatory!

I checked into a hotel room in Melbourne, Australia and was given a room on the 42nd floor. When I asked to change it, however, they said they were full, in an unhelpful way. It was still in the early afternoon, so they could have swapped us round. I then said I did not like heights and they said, with a straight face, ‘Well, don’t look out the window, then.’ This is an extreme example but, to me, did sum up some of the bluntness that I have met in Australia.

General hints


In Japan nodding means ‘I understand’; to Eskimos it means ‘no’.


Touching is more acceptable in some cultures than others. In cultures and environments where touching is less common, the only safe place to make contact with someone, is around the elbow. A newspaper survey said that, in Milan, Italians sometimes touch each other 100 times a day. The same survey said that, in London, the Brits never touched, apart from the odd handshake.


When you are negotiating, make sure all your gestures, such as touching, are appropriate for the cultures with which you are dealing.


This is when the tips of the first finger and thumb are put together in a circle.

  • In the USA usually it means A-OK.
  • In France usually it means zero.
  • In Japan usually it means money.
  • In Tunisia usually it means I will kill you.
  • And, in a number of Eastern countries, it is seen as a very obscene gesture.

 Thumbs up

The thumbs up gesture can mean agreed, everything is good, and it can be a very rude gesture in some cultures. It is a positive gesture in the West but, in the East, it can mean the opposite, so be careful. I gave that signal to a Filipino once, without knowing, and he was insulted. I had to apologise.

Soles of the feet

It is an insult to show the soles of your feet to another person.

In Libya, Colonel Gaddafi, the ruler of Libya, at the time was seen to be showing the soles of his feet to Tony Blair, the UK Prime Minister, when they were negotiating the sanctions release and the issues about the person who allegedly planted the Lockerbie bomb. Mr Blair seemed oblivious to it but, as a politician in those circumstances, he had no choice. No doubt his advisers would have told him afterwards that there was not much chance of Gaddafi keeping to his word, as he had posed for photographers with that gesture.

So, be careful whatever gestures you use – they may not cross borders.

Cultural variances

I read that Stanford University researched, with Citigroup worldwide, this question:

‘If one of your colleagues asked you to work on a big project, in what circumstances would you feel the most obligated to help?’

Here are the number-one reasons that came back:

  • In Spain – if they knew my family or friends (liking/trust).
  • In the Far East (Hong Kong) – if they knew my boss (authority).
  • In the UK, the USA and Canada – if they had done something for me before reciprocity).
  • In Germany – if the rules of the company said I should (authority).

This shows that, internationally and culturally, we always need to understand that differences occur, quite substantial differences.

Note that there are many regional variations of body language and how people interact. It is very important that you check the differences with people who have intimate knowledge. You may need not just an interpreter but also a cultural interpreter.

For an international client coming to see someone in the UK, the more you can make their visit enjoyable, the more likely the negotiations will go smoothly:

  • If you can, meet them at the airport. Alternatively, send a car for them, so they are met. Take them out to dinner. Show them around. Be a great host.
  • Afford them a few minutes with the most senior person in the office. They may see this as a privilege, even if that person is not involved in the negotiation. ‘Let me introduce you to our Chairman ….’

Do not forget:

  • Time is important to cultures – in some cultures, like Germany, if you are not punctual, the negotiation could be cancelled. In the Middle East, time is not an issue; I that started an hour late. I was sent to coach a sheikh in the Royal Palace in Abu Dhabi. It was a two-day programme; he turned up one hour late each day. That was normal I was later told.
  • The ambiance/the set-up – what time the meeting will take place and where. Do you need to take any small gifts, tokens of appreciation? How will the seating be? How many people will they have on their side? How many do you need?
  • Put yourself in the other side’s shoes – what are their objectives? What are their goals? What can we do to be more like them? Remember, people are influenced by people they like. This is the PLM factor: people like me.
  • Do not take strange things personally – it may be something cultural. Remember, you will be out of your comfort zone overseas, so it may be you over-reacting to something that has happened and that they find normal.
  • The golden rule – there is no golden rule. But there are guidelines that need to be thought about.



5 – How to watch out for lying in a negotiation or business situations – “Liar – Liar”

 First written for and published by Square Up Media | 4 Tun Yard, Peardon St, London SW8 3HT | 020 7819 9999


In a business situation, if the average person was asked, “Is that the lowest price you have ever gone to? And it wasn’t – many people might lie!

Some people will go as far to say –“ lying is fair game when negotiating!” As this is the case we better smarten ourselves up to liars. So, being aware of some of the key signs and signals will make you a better negotiator, help you make better judgments and help you get better results.

When people are lying, uncomfortable or nervous, the stress manifests itself somewhere in their non-verbal signals. The lies we are interested in are the ones that will make a material difference to our business or life decision in the negotiation process. Someone once said to me – negotiating is like poker so lying is fair. Is it I asked him?We are not talking about small white lies here which make the world go round, such as a little flattery; we are talking about material information that will make a difference to our business decisions.

How people might lie

According to research by Jeff Hancock, a Professor in the Department of Communication at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, the following numbers of people are more likely to lie over these communication channels:

Telephone – 37 per cent – Face to face – 27 per cent – Text – 21 per cent – Email – 14 per cent

Let us have a look at some common deceit signals. Deceivers and liars give themselves away in many subtle ways. If you check the signals and ask further questions you will make better decisions.

 Visual deception – Eyes are always a good guide to deception. Normally when people lie they avoid eye contact, however good liars know this and might hold more eye contact. Often pupils dilate with the stress that might go with lying

 However, there are many other things to be aware of and here are a few more –

 Hands and feet – If they are moving about a lot, being a bit twitchy, that is a sign of nervousness or insincerity. Hands and feet are some of the hardest things to control consciously.

 Hand to face gestures – Hand to face gestures can be interpreted as, at best, a sign of discomfort and, at worst, a sign of lying.

 Hands over the mouth – Like a child, covering up the words that are coming out of their mouth is another classic gesture of deceit that is more likely to be seen in children. A child covers their mouth with their hands to avoid the words physically getting to their parent.

 Blinking liar! – An increase in someone’s blink rate indicates that they are uncomfortable, tense or just plain lying!

 Verbal deception – With verbal deception, the voice/speech rate may slow down and, usually, there will be fewer words said than normal. Generally, there are more pauses, hesitation, ums and ahs, etc. There tends to be a substantial reduction in the length of reply.

Conversely, there is often an increase in –

  • voice pitch
  • the number of ums and ahs
  • hesitation in answering/delays in responses
  • slips and mistakes
  • pauses.

‘A liar should have a good memory.’- – QUINTILIAN, ROMAN ORATOR, AD 35

Words can be a good indicator of lies. Check that the words someone uses today match what you have been told before.

Intuitively, we know when someone is not being entirely honest. People have a habit of being incongruent in some way, which is not picked up consciously. They leak dishonesty somewhere and often our unconscious mind is like a magnet that picks up the information.

However, the best test is to trust your gut feel when you think something is not true, just like Peter Falk, Lieutenant Columbo, used to do in the Columbo TV series from 1968–2003. When he wasn’t sure he used to follow up with “Just one more thing” and of course this was the killer question!

Micro gestures – lie to me – If you are interested in this subject and would like more information, there are many books on the subject. The American television series Lie to Me, whilst exaggerated slightly for television, is based on research into micro gestures and the work of Paul Ekman, a professor in psychology (http://www.paulekman.com/lie-to-me/).

Typical questions that might be lied about in negotiating situations

Can you go lower?

Have you gone lower?

Is the other offer a firm one?

Does the other purchaser have cash?

Have they got the bank finance in place?

Have you paid any other speakers more than this? (Typical in my business.)

Can you meet the delivery date?

When you ask these questions, look and listen carefully to the responses you get. It will give you valuable information.

Finally – Someone once said that the best lie detector is the human brain – I believe that to be true – always trust your instincts and then check and check again.


6 – 10 top tips for tip-top negotiating in today’s difficult business climate

 1 – KWYW (Know what you want) – Set your goals. Start with the end in mind. What are the options available to you?

If you are selling – look at the market place. Are you positioning your product as a high value, value added product, a niche value product or just a transactional proposition. This will effect how it looks, feels and is perceived.

If you are buying – where else can you buy it? Could you buy something cheaper elsewhere, or do you need a higher perceived value item? If you know what you want, you are much more likely to get it. If you don’t know what you want, every road will take you there “no where”.

2 – Preparation – Proper preparation prevents pretty poor performance. Think about where the other side is coming from. What do they want? What are the options? Have you considered the variables? Think about the inexpensive items that cost you very little that you could add into the package, or the things of value to you that the other side might be able to add in at little cost to them. When you are preparing, that is when you decide what your best position might be, your target position (or realistic position) and your walk away position. Also it is good to have a reality check on what your alternative position is, if you walk away. Remember these are flexible and you can always come down in what you asking for, but rarely can you go up.

3 – Questioning skills – If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Or, put another way, if you don’t ask, you don’t give the other side the opportunity to say yes to you. High quality questions are generally open questions which start with WHAT, HOW or something similar to “tell me where you are coming from”. Closed questions are used to clarify and will elicit a “yes” or “no” answer. If you ask a closed question inadvertently then you need to follow it up with another gentle searching question to get to the bottom of the issues.

4 – Listening skills – Listening to the answers you get carefully is called active disciplined listening. Listening to what is not being said is also important. What might be being left out deliberately? Someone once said “Most people want a good listening to – not a good talking to” and to listen actively you need to stay present with 100% concentration, rather than thinking about what you are going to say next.

5 – Reading the body language – According to social scientists, it is 5 times more difficult to lie with body language than it is with the words. Lies or spinning will be accompanied by gestures that a normal alert brain will pick up: as long as it is on high alert and concentrating. Remember Pinocchio’s nose grew every time he told a lie and people who are uncomfortable with what they are saying have the habit of fidgeting, particularly with hand to face gestures.

6 – Empathy – Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Where are they coming from? Do they have a personal agenda to increase sales volumes rather than sales profits? The more rapport you can build with them (the psychic connection) the better questions you can ask and the more frank answers you will get. Bring some humour into it – when you ask for a cheaper deal or you say you can’t reduce your price.

7 – Tactics – The psychology of negotiating tactics is almost a book in itself. However here are a few tactics which tend to keep the other side honest. Good cop / bad cop – linked to higher authority. Even if you are on your own; you are the good guy and the bad guys are the committee, your business partners etc. They are of course the higher authority as well. “I would love to agree but I can’t let them down! Time – Use time well. More concessions come when it gets close to the deadline. Dumb is smart – or the Colombo tactic. This is where you don’t understand what they are saying to get them to clarify more clearly where they are really coming from (you do understand of course – unless they are spinning you a line)

8 – Bargaining / haggling skills – Make sure you make concessions dependent on getting something in return. Conditional bargaining. “If we do this for you, will you do this for us?”

9 – Managing conflict – Negotiating creates conflict. The way you handle the conflict is important as you can either do it gently or aggressively. Aggressively means that you will not have an on-going relationship and it will be stressful. Gentle which is hard on the issue and soft on the people, means that the relationship can be preserved. “I am sorry we can’t pay this, we can’t agree to this as it stands, what can you do to help us?”

10 – Confidence – Confidence is key, and it comes from really understanding the issues and negotiating psychology.


7 – The real secrets of motivation

Motivation is an important factor in living. In fact without motion we would all be dead. We would have nothing to worry about as we would be stress free pushing up daisy’s.

STRESS CAN BE A MOTIVATOR – There is good stress where we are stretched like a rubber band fulfilling our potential. Or there is bad stress where the rubber band is so tight, a bit like being “uptight” in some cases, that is is threatening to break . We hear people say I am nearly at breaking point. If we are unstretched we flop about just like an unfulfilled rubber band looking floppy and tired
Here are my 7 secrets to good motivation – “keep the band stretched”

1- WE ARE HERE FOR A PURPOSE. That purpose is to grow so we can add value to others and the world. Someone once said “When we are green we grow and when we are ripe we rot”.

Helping people who are not as fortunate as ourselves is amazingly rewarding. How might we do that best? Well, we have to sort ourselves out before we can help others.

It’s a bit like when we get on an aircraft, the first thing they say to you in the safety briefing is that you must put your own oxygen mask on first before you help others. In other words you won’t be any good to others if you can’t breath when you are trying to help them.


Are you in the right state or are you in a right state? An eminent psychologist said that we think about 1000 of things a day and most of them are negative. They went on to say that of the things we worry about 94% won’t happen, 6% will and of that only 3% could we have done anything about.

Quick ways of sorting yourself out is to be have positive goals and targets for each day. Write them out the night before, look at them, revise them in the morning and tick off what you have done at the end of the day. This will give you a key purpose. Likewise have goals and targets for each week, each month.

You can keep your goals on an iPad, like I am typing on now, or you can keep them in a notebook, a journal of a Filofax (yes Filofax they are having a big revival due to their versatility). Making a list will help you focus on purpose each day.


Where you want to be in 5 years. Set big goals but set them under the rules of SMART. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time based.

There are a few useful tricks you can employ. Firstly go to a quiet place with your note pad and take 3 really deep breaths. Relax your shoulders and give all your muscle a relaxing wiggle. Then visualise / daydream where you really could be in 5 years if there was nothing holding you back and write your answers down. Be bold, be ambitious, be brave.

Then write down what might be stopping you. Is it you because it is scary? Is it your friends or family holding you back due to the fact they didn’t achieve much? or is it you, something inside you? I remember RICHARD BANDLER the co-founder of NLP telling a story that one of his clients admitted his Mum had said “`You don’t want to be successful because successful people have heart attacks”.

A limiting belief something that is not true but you might have installed into your brain by others without you knowing, or by repeating things like I am not good enough. This happens to a lot of people and is quite normal. As Henry Ford said ”If you think you can or you think you can’t; you are probably right”


Do what the psychologists call a guided visualisation exercise. It’s not complicated, anyone can do it. All it is visualising you are there in 5 years time. Where you want to be.

Here is how you do it. Imagine it is the year 2020 and you have achieved your goals. Ask yourself how do I look? How do I sound? How to do I feel?, what smells can I smell? I am smelling the sweet aroma of Success. Feel the feeling inside of being so successful and meeting your goals. Then turn that feeling it up by enlarging the picture you see of yourself, and the volume up of the sounds you hear. Feel the intensity of that increased feeling flooding your body, flooding every cell in your body. Enjoy the moment, anchor the feeling into your brain’s neurology by squeezing your first finger and your thumb together.


Now drift back down your timeline from 2020 and make yourself totally present today. And before you leave where you are – make a list of what you did to start taking action to achieve your goals. What was it? To enrol for a course? Order some motivational CD’s? Stop mixing with a friend that kept telling you you won’t succeed or Negatrons who suck energy out of you, listen to your body. NB Its extraordinary that some people some people hate to see others do well.

Then do it. Just take action – action is the key that unlocks doors. JFDI.

7 – THE FINAL TIP Get up earlier. Do things differently, go a different route to work. “The early bird catches the worm”. Start getting up earlier, as soon as you wake up. Here is the secret that many high achievers do to start their day as they come out of that waking alpha state in the early morning.

Firstly they listen to the sounds they can hear. Perhaps it is the birds singing or the radiators warming up or the floorboards creaking or the sound of cars in the street. They consciously notice these sounds.

Secondly they visualise in their minds the end of the day having achieved everything they wanted to achieve as they sit down and reflect on a very successful day.

Then finally feel the feeling inside from having had such a great day. Then they imagine a switch, like a dial on a radio, and they turn that feeling up so it floods their body. At that point they get up.

Derek Arden The negotiating speaker – known as Mr Negotiator is an International negotiating and Motivational speaker. Derek helps people negotiate with themselves to achieve massive results that even they didn’t think they could ever achieve.

9 – The massive benefits of giving feedforward rather than feedback

Feedback – My view is feedback as it is usually called, can be used badly by many people. These tend to be the managers or leaders who haven’t taken the trouble to find out the style and the motivation of the person, who is the recipient of the feedback. This is a massive wasted opportunity and a huge cost to any business.

Some people can handle feedback well, however many people are wary of the word feedback and then expect the worst “negative criticism”.

As soon as the word feedback is mentioned you can almost always see people go into a negative state, crossed arms, defensive. This is not a mindset which is conducive to learning and making adjustments to your behaviour.


“What got you here, won’t get you there”. This is a title of a very good book by expert coach Marshall Goldsmith.

I thoroughly recommend it. Goldsmith cleverly highlights the issue and says there is only one type of feedback (positive towards the future, rather than negative towards the past). That is feedforward couched in the language that says – “This is what you might consider doing, adjustments you might make, to make you even better”.
Lets have a look at three types of feedback

1 – Sandwich feedback – a method which, became popular a few years ago. You give the person praise, then you give them the negative (developmental points) and then you give them praise at the end and hopefully send them away motivated. I quite like this style as long as the developmental points are coached carefully by someone who knows what they are doing!

2 – Group feedback – When you run a course, speak at an event and whilst in the feedback forms a couple of people criticise you. For some crazy reason even the top speakers / trainers in the world tend to focus on the negatives.

I discussed this with two of the top speakers in the USA, while I was over there, and they told me they never read the feedback forms themselves. They get someone else to read them, and if there is anything in there that some people think they might adjust to make them even better in the future; they are advised.

If not they don’t want to read negative feedback from an anonymous person who has had no training on the subject and no training on the finer points on how to present.

Lets be realistic 5% – 10% of people will never like what we do – however well we do it”

3 – Harry Redknapp style of feedback. I spoke with Frank Lampard Senior at a dinner where I was the MC. I asked him what was it like working with Harry Redknapp (Frank was Harry’s assistant for many years at West Ham) and how did Harry motivate and provide feedback, so well to footballers in his many teams.

Frank told me “It’s simple, some people need praise and some people need criticism, to fire them up”. The skill is getting it right for the individual at the right time. Harry has a knack of getting that right. What can we learn from that advice? Choose your style for the individual concerned. “Horses for courses” as my Dad used to say.


Here is a simple and effective way of coaching feedforward. However it does take time, thought and positioning.

1 – Ask the person on a scale of 1—-10 where they are on a developmental point. Generally people will say somewhere between 6 – 8. If they say 10 or 2 (at the extremes; ask them what basis did they assess themselves like that – and listen acutely) Some interesting answers will come out.

2 – Then ask them what would it take to be a 9 or a 10. Hold the silence until they answer. Use the “anything else” question.

3 – Listen and feed in any development points in a supportive way. Check to see if they understand. Ask them to report back at your next one to one session.
Just some of the mistakes many people make –

Handing over other peoples feedback without any explanation.
Not sensitising it to the person.
Not listening to their responses.
Not giving examples and then mentoring the person how to adjust their style.
Not having a follow up one to one.

Feedforward is very powerful and can be very personal. Please let me have any of your feedforward from my thoughts for future editions. Thank you.


How to negotiate as a team

 Team negotiations usually get better results

Any functioning team tends to get increased performance, rather than operating solo. You have differing roles, differing views and you tend to notice different things.

Remember TEAM – together everybody achieves more.

Get someone else on your side – Any important negotiation needs more than one person to be involved. If it is not already the case and you can bring someone else onto your side, I would strongly advocate building a team, as it can be crucial to the success of your negotiating plans.

When you are directly involved in the negotiation bargaining process, it is very difficult to concentrate on what you are doing and, at the same time, take notes, observe the body language and sense what is happening.

If you do not have a team, then consider who you could ask. You could take a friend, a mentor, a colleague or someone you trust, as long as they have a clear brief on what their role is. Offer to reciprocate for them next time. You will be amazed what you learn in the observer’s role.

 Assign roles to team members

If you have the luxury of a larger team, then here are the roles of your dream team. Choose the number and the roles of your team carefully, and remember that briefing and debriefing is very important.

 Lead negotiator (essential)

This is the person who leads the discussions, controls the silences and calls the timeouts. On most occasions this will be you, the reader. This is, generally, the most senior person or the person in charge. This is the pressure role where the focus of attention ends up. Often, this is the person with most at stake in the negotiation.

This is why it can be important to the success of the negotiation that this person has help. The help can come in the form of a right-hand person, who can do some or most of the other roles, but particularly be the observer, the person who watches what is going on and what is happening.

 Observer (essential)

This is a very active role, even though it appears to be passive from the other side’s point of view. The observer must watch everything carefully: the body language, the nuances; listen to the actual words, how they are said and the tone and the feelings – what is said and what is not said and what might be left out deliberately.

The key time for team discussions will be during the time outs, breaks and adjournments. These, more often than not, you will have to call. Perhaps, like this – ‘We have made a lot of progress. Would you mind if I had a couple of minutes with my team?’

 Note taker (optional)

This is the recorder – the person who keeps the notes, the minutes. Also, they may write the agreement and the contract, or the record of what happened. If you do not have a note taker, then someone else in the team needs to keep clear records of everything said and agreed.

 Expert (optional)

This can be the engineer, quantity surveyor, the technician, the product specialist, accountant or lawyer. Anyone you need there for his or her specialist knowledge.

They need to be briefed very diligently as to when they can speak. There is always a danger they might answer questions you pose to the other side. Sometimes, this can be a natural thing for them to do, as they want to show off their knowledge to the other side. Do not allow them to speak without coming through the leader of your team. They may have a close affinity to their opposite team member, which can be used to your advantage or to your detriment.

 Interpreter (optional)

There are some long negotiations where you will need more than one interpreter. The cultural issues need to be carefully understood and you might need separate advice. Make sure the interpreter understands your goals and is briefed on when the important issues require silence.

Do not forget:

  • To have a team briefing – this should cover the set-up of the team; who is going to say what and how. They need to understand that the team leader must always be in control.
  • Not to speak or answer any questions without permission (could be a nod, an exchange of eye contact, etc.) from the team leader – this will ensure that the focus of the meeting, the strategy and the tactics are controlled. You do not want them speaking out of turn.
  • Take a time out – the time out will give the team leader a break and enable the team members to put across their views, their ideas and to explain what they saw, heard and felt. This enables the team to move forward when the time out is over, towards the agreed outcome.
  • To have a team debriefing – what went well, what you could do better next time, what they saw, heard and felt, how we operated as a team, how we are going to operate next time to be even better.


When you learn you earn!


10 – Body language the silent secrets of success

Body language is said to be the secret language of success. Many people do not notice how others are giving off body language signals and the signals are often nearer to the truth, than the words.

It has been said that it is 5 times more difficult to lie with your body language than it is with words. This is because the body language reflects what the person is thinking, rather than what they are saying.

In 1972 there was a famous study into body language, and while the results of the study was somewhat confused, it showed for the first time that it body language was far more important in the meaning of communication, than the words or the voice tonality.

When it comes to negotiations, it is really important to look at body language closely if we want to win. Firstly, meeting people face to face puts you in a stronger position, and secondly, it can be a very good idea to have an observer with you who can concentrate on reading the signals.

It can be very difficult to areas body language when you are focused on running a meeting or thinking about your side of the negotiations. However with an observer you can take a break or a time out so you can discuss what they have observed. This works particularly well if they watch for body language when you ask the key questions.

So what are the signals common signals that we might notice? It is important to remember that it is the clusters of signals that really count, particularly the ones that happen around the time the person answers your questions.

Hand to face gestures, particularly nose rubbing, are linked to a group of clusters known as deceit clusters. According to the famous story, Pinocchio’s nose grew every time he told a lie, and perhaps that was inspired by the instinct to rub one’s nose when we are uncomfortable with what we are saying.

Fidgeting can also be a sign of being uncomfortable. Covering our “Adams apple” is a sign of feeling threatened. Putting hands together in a praying type of gesture, means looking for some outside help (divine help) whereas just touching the finger tips like a church steeple is a confident sign.

Your own body language is also very important. If you look good, confident, sit upright and appear attentive and energized, it will give off good signals that you know and mean what you are saying. Equally, when faced with difficult questions you should pause and consider your answers rather than allowing the other side to pressurise you into dropping your guard. Don’t forget, it is often acceptable to take a break or get back to them when you have gathered the facts.

Some body language signals mean different things in different countries. For example the AOK gesture might mean “all good” in USA, but in France it means zero and in some eastern cultures it is an insult. So be careful.

Finally whilst body language is intuitive, many people don’t notice the body language as they are so focused on the logical (left brain) side of the negotiation. With this, they don’t see the “tells” as the television programmes called “big brother” implies.

With a little practice, the truth is usually plain to see when you watch someone’s body language, but most people simply look but don’t see!

Derek Arden is an international negotiator, a conference speaker and author of Win Win: How to get a positive result from persuasive negotiations, published by Pearson on 16 July 2015.


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