How to Negotiate like a Badass – 12 Negotiation Tips for Success

NERD ALERT, folks! Negotiation is something I’ve always been *fascinated* by. Namely because one of my biggest interests has always been in psychology – consumer psychology/behavior, hence why I studied marketing + management in school – how people think and how people relate. But psychology in general, and why people do what they do! One of my favorite classes in college was Negotiation (yup, it’s a college class – ha!). I guess I’ve always had the mindset that girls can do anything boys can do at the table, so it was always important for me to understand how to negotiate like a badass so that I was never shortchanged in life because of being a woman, or for being misunderstood to be timid/incapable/untalented/unworthy. So any time I could find negotiation tips for success in life, you can bet your bottom buck I was all about ’em!

Especially since I teach BossPitch for bloggers, I find myself talking + teaching a friggin’ lot about negotiating tips behind-the-scenes. But obviously negotiation is something used SO DANG MUCH, whether we realize it or not! If you’re a mom, I’m sure you know what it’s like negotiating with a four-year-old – those buggers are ruthless. 😉 If you’re in the workforce, you’ve probably negotiated your salary before, or maybe your day-to-day responsibility load on the job. If you’re like me, you negotiate anything + everything to NOT have to do the dishes. HA. 😉

SO. Whether your next negotiation is with your spouse, your kid, your best friend, your boss, your neighbor’s yard sale or the sales lady at the shoe store, let’s chat negotiation tips for success, so you feel fully confident in how to negotiate like the badass that you really, truly are.

First key to remember: A negotiation doesn’t start until someone says no.

Second key to remember: YOU can be that person to say no.

Let’s do the damn thing.

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In any negotiation, both parties want to feel like they benefitted. Even if the other party doesn’t get exactly what they went in THINKING they wanted, if they get *something*, chances are, they’ll still feel good afterwards. This is super important to keep in the back of your end, so that you stay as open-minded as possible through your conversation!


1.) Get clear on your own position. So many folks go into a negotiation without actually being crystal clear on what truly matters most to them by the end – because it’s not always what you initially think! (Example: Sure, “more money” might be priority #1 in a job negotiation, but is that really your be-all-end-all? Or do you care more about status, title, other benefits, etc). Run through this checklist to figure out..

  • What you want
  • What you’re willing to give up – because all negotiations involve some sort of back-and-forth to reach an acceptable middle ground
  • Your actual end goal – which is not necessarily the same as “what you want!”
  • How badly you want/need it – You should NEVER be desperate going into a negotiation, or you’re going to lose
  • Your relationship with the other party – It’s important to connect personally beforehand! We all crave human connection, so tap into the other person’s emotions + human instinct however possible beforehand to feel more familiar and less adversarial
  • When you would walk away/say no altogether – There has to be a point where you’d bounce. This is *essential* to know before beginning the negotiation!

2.) Do your homework. Know what the other party values most! Know as much about their background + interests going into the conversation as possible. The whole goal of a good negotiation is to come to mutually beneficial terms. It’ll be a whole heckuvah lot easier to do that if YOU can think outside the box, for not only what would benefit you, but also what would benefit THEM. You have no clue the level of the other party’s negotiation prowess going into it, so take matters into your own hands to know where you might be able to helpfully suggest wiggle room, or craftfully present options that they might not have thought of before.

3.) Eliminate emotion. You know the saying “It’s just business” – how to negotiate 101 is internalize this point to the grave. BUT, contrary to what many negotiation strategy books might say, I don’t think it’s smart to eliminate ALL emotion. I mean, emotion is what makes us human. But you shouldn’t be using emotion as an attempt to get your way or persuade DURING the negotiation. The key is to use emotion in stage 2, in doing your homework, and in building relationships BEFORE even stepping into the decision room. You should already have credence by effectively leveraging emotion to develop trust + liking with the other party ahead of time.

5.) Be clear in your ask. Oftentimes, folks mess up their negotiation not because they didn’t go back-and-forth “correctly,” but because the entire thing started off on the wrong foot – like falling off the horse before the gate even opened. #womp.

  • Ask for a little bit more than what you’re truly OK with getting. This isn’t to be dishonest – it’s just the art of making a deal. Since a negotiation isn’t a negotiation unless there’s a back-and-forth where both people give something, it’s just not smart to start with the exact thing you want or need, knowing that you’re going to HAVE to give something from that. Both parties typically give a little, so once you give, you’ll be right where you wanted to be at the start!
  • Be as detailed as possible, because details build trust. If you can, include data or the WHY behind your ask. If you can factually support why you want what you want, it makes it a whole heckuvah less easy to deny or reason away from.

6.) LISTEN to the other party. You should be listening more than you’re talking! I’ve heard of a 70/30 rule in negotiations – listen 70% of the time, talk 30% – but honestly, I have no clue how to truly count that out proportionately IN a real conversation. So just aim to have your ears on, listening actively more than not.

  • Ask Q’s! This is SUCH a good way to a.) build know/like/trust with the other party, since you’ll get to know them and they’ll get to like you. It makes them feel heard, since it leads to them talking more (and you listening more). And it helps you figure out what is most important to THEM, so that you can use that to find a mutually acceptable solution.

7.) Understand that everything is negotiable…like, everything. So don’t be afraid to get creative in finding a solution that’s mutually agreeable + beneficial! In a good negotiation, BOTH sides are compromising on something, but both are gaining, too. It’s never JUST about that one thing that you went in thinking was on the table. Say you’re negotiating your salary. Your salary isn’t the only number in question – your contract has other things in it, too, like time off or a 401K. If they won’t give you more in your hourly rate, they might be willing to budge by putting more in on the company-side towards your retirement, or a few extra paid vacation days. You never know unless you bring it to the table + ask!

8.) Be willing to sit in silence. This one’s the HOT nugget that so many fall short on, because…it ain’t easy. But let the room get uncomfortable for a hot sec. Most folks are really antsy in the quiet and look to fill it ASAP, so it may hasten a decision in your favor.

9.) Things to use: Reasons, personal connections.

  • We studied one experiment in one of my favorite management classes in college, and I never forgot it. In it, students had to ask to cut in line at a Kinkos or Office Max kinda joint. One group gave no reason, another gave a good reason, and the last gave a totally nonsensical reason.
    • Can I cut in line?
    • Can I cut in line? My mother’s in the hospital, and I need to get these papers copied before I can go see her.
    • Can I cut in line? I need to.
  • The success rates?
    • No reason: 40%
    • A good reason: 98%
    • A nonsense reason: 97%
  • A literally NONSENSICAL “reason” was almost as successful as a totally legit one. ANY reason is literally better than no reason.

10.) Things to not use: Power, deadlines, anything transactional.

  • It’s typically a huge turn-off to anyone + everyone to try and exert some random sense of power into a negotiation. Sure, you might scare someone into forgetting a detail or giving away a bit more than ideal, but it’s not going to build repore or help with anything after the fact. Anything to quicken a conversation may work in the short term, but it likely won’t truly help, since it can significantly damage your relationship and cause resentment down the line.

11.) Actively + intentionally build trust. – I’m a biiiiiig fan of honesty. Even in negotiation settings. No one likes to feel like they’re being played, or like they can’t take someone at their word! It’s important. A big key in actively + intentionally building trust is saying what you mean and meaning what you say – so, sticking with whatever you say is the “absolute lowest” you can do. Personally, I love the phrase “in total transparency.” I use it to convey that I’m completely pulling back the curtain, not holding anything back, and really telling you the best deal from the start. It’s a take it or leave it kinda phrase used as a last resort, to tell someone that this is the best you can do and you ain’t doin’ any better. Meaning…

12.) Be willing to walk away. The reaaaaaally important other key in negotiating. If you don’t have the wiggle room or ability to say no, you’ve already lost. There has to be some sorta bottom line or last straw at which point you call it quits and walk away with grace. The number one thing to NOT do is to say something is the lowest/best you can do…and then reneg on that, going even lower/better for the other party. It immediately devalues your word and causes mistrust. You’re MUCH better off just calling the whole thing altogether, knowing it’s not where it should be or needs to be for both parties (yourself included) to feel valued + benefitted.


PHEW. Is it wine time yet? 😉

Do you know how to negotiate better now from these 12 negotiation tips?

Are you feeling more confident? More ready? More willing/able to hit the ground running with your next negotiation?

I HOPE SO. If you have any follow-up Q’s at all on any of the above, hit a sistah up – I lovelovelove nerding out over this stuff and will help out as much as I can! Drop me a DM @ericaligenza or email at 🙂

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