The Challenge:

The time has come where you are close to getting what you want. Maybe it is a job, perhaps a contract, a new car or a raise. What is the challenge? You are about to negotiate and you do not like it.

Our view at Dynamic Achievement is this discomfort comes from seveal sources:

  • Memories
  • Mindset 
  • Skill

To help we propose a different picture of how to approach negotiation.

3 positions

The Three Positions

Think of your mental image of negotiation; it is tough, stressful, almost a combat. Seems like an unpleasant way to get what you want. 

What we know about the human mind is that activities we dislike naturally cause us to avoid them. Worse, when even stronger feelings and memories lead to dread or fear, research shows our protective mechanisms kick in. This can lead to a range of unwanted behaviours we would not normally show. Now envision these activities are crucial to effective interactions. Our aversion undermines our success

Negotiation can be one of these activities. What we suggest is adopting a different view of the dialogue using our “3 Positions” approach. 

In negotiations we often view the exchange as “them” and “us”. That mindset is fundamentally confrontational and can cause us to inadvertently access our highly sophisticated “fight or flight” response.

Try this next time you have to negotiate for something: try going out from yourself (1st position) into 2nd position = THEIR point of view. Understand what the other person wants, why they want it, how they feel about it. 

Next, and this is harder still, try stepping back from the whole negotiation and observe both them and yourself. Can you see how you are reacting? How they are responding? From the 3rd position you can literally become your own coach.

Doing this is hard, there is lots to learn about the technique and even more to learn about mastering your mindset. In our experience the results you can achieve in negotiation and most any challenging conversation can be dramatically improved by this technique.

What Can You Do Now?

First, practice viewing everyday conversation from all three positions; you, “them” and the third, impartial position.

Second, explore inside yourself to “see” what you need to do to be able to take 2nd and 3rd position.

Third, practice this technique when stresses are higher, before entering negotiation. A coach or guide will make a world of difference as you do this. 


So, the next time you are faced with negotiation, invest time in understanding yourself, what you want and why. Do your homework. It is just as rewarding to understand who you are negotiating with and as the saying goes, “walk a mile in their shoes”.

Done well, that negotiation can become a conversation that leads to what you want, and what the other party wants too. Plus, it frequently comes with greater respect and understanding than a confrontational, traditional negotiation.

Kirby James, MHSc, General Manager (Ontario), Organizational Performance.

Dynamic Achievement

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