• Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • Negotiating Unlocked: How to Find Your Business’s Hidden Advantage

Negotiating Unlocked: How to Find Your Business’s Hidden Advantage


The Negotiating Edge in Business Success

Negotiating, and by default, the concept of Negotiation is often misunderstood, yet undeniably pivotal in steering the course of your business success. It’s often thought of as just being about bargaining or making demands; but it’s actually (at it's core) an art and science, where strategy, psychology, and communication converge.

This blog post will be going beyond the traditional understanding of business (or personal for that matter) negotiating to unlock the full potential of the negotiation spectrum— you will discover how the Building Your Legend (BYL) Principles, Philosophies and Fundamentals empower you to secure unparalleled advantages in every deal.

In this comprehensive exploration of negotiating, you'll discover insights, advantages and transformation steps.

We'll demystify negotiation for you, revealing how it's about much more than words exchanged across a table. With a unique (and often overlooked) focus on body language and non-verbal cues, we’ll unveil strategies that remain hidden in plain sight, offering you a competitive edge others never even think of.

As we journey together, you’ll uncover how these subtle and nuanced approaches, grounded in BYL principles of Adaptability, Purposeful Action, and Strategic Mindset, can elevate your negotiation capabilities and give you significant advantages.

Through real-world examples and exclusive strategies, we will enhance your skills and equip you with a secret arsenal that sets you apart from others at the table.

Get ready to embrace negotiation in its true form — as a powerful tool in your legend-building journey.

We’re here to guide you through, ensuring that with every interaction, you’re not just negotiating; you’re winning, learning, and shaping the future of your business.

"The most dangerous negotiation is the one you don't know you're in."

     - Chris Voss

Understanding Negotiation Dynamics: Strategies, Styles, and Adaptability

In the art (or if you will, science) of negotiation, one size does not fit all. Just as a craftsman selects the right tool for the job, an experienced negotiator recognizes the power in diversifying their approach. 

At the heart of every negotiation lies a dynamic interplay of different strategies and styles (and sometimes a mix of them), each with its unique strengths and potential pitfalls.

Recognizing and adapting these strategies and styles is a skill and an essential ability for anyone looking to navigate the complex waters of business deals successfully.

Think of it like a boxer ebbing and flowing to the moves of his/her opponent...knowing when to move forward, when to duck a punch and when (and how) take advantage of an opening. 

Here, we delve into the 3 Primary Negotiating Strategies: competitive, collaborative, and compromise-focused, exploring how each can be leveraged for optimal outcomes.

3 Primary Negotiating Strategies 

strategy 1

Competitive Negotiating

This approach is marked by a strong focus on winning, often at the expense of the other party. While it may yield short-term gains, its aggressive nature can burn bridges, harming long-term relationships.

Understanding when to employ a competitive strategy requires a keen insight and a strategic growth mindset that recognizes the balance between assertiveness and aggression.

strategy 2

Collaborative Negotiating

In contrast, the collaborative approach seeks win-win outcomes, where both parties feel satisfied with the agreement.

This approach is rooted in open communication, trust, and mutual respect, aligning closely with the Building Your Legend (BYL) Philosophies of Holistic Success and Community. Adopting a collaborative stance not only fosters positive long-term relationships but also opens avenues for creative solutions that benefit all involved.

strategy 3

Compromise-Focused Negotiating

Sometimes, the middle ground is the most strategic choice.

Compromise-focused negotiation is about finding a balance, where concessions are made by both sides to reach an acceptable resolution. 

This approach demands flexibility and a willingness to adapt—one's goals and expectations to the reality of the negotiation table, embodying the BYL Principle of Adaptability.

Just as the primary strategies are at play, so are the more subtle supporting styles below of Avoidance, and Accommodation. Your negotiating approach will be a blend of some or all of these...depending on the situation...again, like the boxer adjusting to their opponent. 

In other words, each strategy can be transformed into a style or sub-style, and each carries a tactical weight, designed for specific scenarios and outcomes.

Let's take a look at how the 3 primary negotiating strategies evolve into styles as well as the supporting styles:

Negotiating Styles

Competitive Style


When the stakes are high and you're aiming for maximum gain, the competitive style is your go-to. It's about assertiveness, standing firm on your position to secure the best possible outcome for your side.

Collaborative Style


The collaborative style seeks prioritizing mutual benefit and long-term relationships over immediate victory. It’s negotiation as an art of partnership, where both sides leave the table satisfied.

Compromise Style


The compromise style involves give-and-take, ensuring both parties make concessions to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

Remember, you will not get everything you want with this style.

Avoidance Style


Not every battle is worth the war. The avoidance style is a strategic retreat, used when the cost of negotiating outweighs potential benefits.

It’s about picking your battles when you potentially do not have a leverage point. 

Accommodation Style


The accommodation style involves yielding to the other side’s demands, often used to preserve relationships or when you ascertain that the issue matters more to them than to you.

It’s a position of tactical sacrifice with a long-term strategic vision.

Embracing the BYL Principle of a Strategic Growth Mindset means recognizing when to wield each of these styles.

Negotiating effectively is about adaptability—not just sticking to what you know or prefer but being ready and able to switch tactics based on the situation, the stakes, and the dynamics at play.

This adaptability ensures that you're not just reacting; you're strategically maneuvering, always two steps ahead in the negotiation dance.

Drive on as we further explore these styles, preparing you to navigate the complex world of negotiation with confidence, strategy, and a touch of BYL magic.

Preparing for a Negotiation

As you gear up for negotiation, remember, comprehensive preparation is your strongest ally.

Yes, you have to set goals and get to know your counterpart; but you also have to understand negotiation it an intricate dance of strategy, insight, and anticipation.

Here, we take a deeper dive into the art of preparation (getting ready for the dance...limbering up if you will), ensuring you’re not just ready but poised for a decisive advantage.

  • Setting Clear Negotiating Objectives and Priorities 
  • Start with a crystal-clear vision of what you aim to achieve and understand what you're willing to compromise on. 
  • Identifying your priorities and bottom lines establishes a roadmap, guiding your decisions and strategies throughout the negotiation process.
  • Researching and Understanding Your Counterparts
  • Go beyond the basics. Delve into their past negotiation behaviors, corporate culture, and even the individual's reputation and style.
  • This intelligence equips you with strategic leverage, allowing you to tailor your approach to align or counteract their expectations and tactics.
  • Developing a Flexible Negotiating Strategy with Multiple Scenarios 
  • Prepare for multiple outcomes. A flexible strategy that considers various scenarios enables you to navigate through negotiations with agility.
  • It’s about anticipating possible counteroffers, objections, and even concessions, ensuring you remain in control, regardless of the direction the negotiation takes.
  • Mastering the Subject Matter 
  • Deep knowledge of the subject at hand not only boosts your confidence but also your credibility.
  • Ensure you have all the facts, figures, and data to support your position, enabling you to argue persuasively and counter misinformation or weak proposals from the other side.
  • Psychological and Emotional Preparation
  • Negotiation is as much about psychology as it is about tactics. Prepare mentally by setting the right mindset and emotionally by anticipating stress points and managing your responses.
  • This preparation prevents reactive decisions, keeping you composed and focused on your strategic objectives.
  • Practicing Active Listening
  • Sharpen your listening skills. Active listening during negotiation reveals underlying concerns and hidden opportunities.
  • It allows you to adapt your strategy in real-time, addressing concerns, and leveraging insights as they arise.
  • Role-Playing and Rehearsals
  • Simulate negotiation scenarios with a colleague or mentor.
  • This rehearsal uncovers potential weaknesses in your approach and helps you refine your communication style, argumentation, and responses to challenging questions or situations.
  • Logistical Preparations
  • Don't overlook the practical aspects. Choose a conducive environment for the negotiation, decide on the format (in-person, virtual), and ensure all necessary materials and documents are at hand.
  • These logistical details can influence the negotiation dynamics and outcomes.

By embracing this comprehensive approach to preparation, you embody the BYL Principle of Purposeful Action, setting the stage to control the narrative of the negotiation.

This level of preparedness will allow you to be calm and ready for the discussion regardless of where it goes. Your calm and control demeanor will reflect in your discussion points, your body language and will allow you to exude the confidence of controlling the interaction.

"Fortune favors the prepared mind."

     - Louis Pasteur

BYL's 'Deeper Dive'

"For an in-depth understanding of how strategic communication can transform your approach to business interactions, including negotiations, explore

'Earnings Calls Demystified: From Basics to Boardroom Strategies'

 This post provides valuable insights into leveraging communication for strategic advantage.

Effective Negotiating: Communication and Strategy


In any negotiating session, the power of communication cannot be overstated.

It's the bridge that connects strategy to outcome, transforming intent into action and agreement.

By integrating the BYL Fundamental of Strategic Planning and Execution, you can elevate your negotiation strategies from mere tactics to a refined art of engagement, ensuring every conversation moves you closer to your desired goals.

But, what exactly are some of the hidden communication strategies that will give you the marked advantage...ask no more dear reader:

Articulate Your Value Proposition with Precision

Start with clarity.

Your ability to succinctly articulate your value proposition sets the tone for the negotiation. Make the other party see the inherent value in what you're offering or seeking. 

This clarity stems from a deep understanding of your strengths and how they align with the other party's needs or challenges.

Active Listening for Hidden Opportunities

Active listening goes beyond hearing words; it's about discerning the underlying messages, concerns, and even opportunities that are not explicitly stated.

This skill allows you to tailor your responses strategically, addressing concerns and highlighting how your proposal meets the needs or resolves the issues at hand.

It’s a clear example of the BYL Principle of Strategic Growth Mindset, where adaptability and responsiveness to new information guide your path forward.

Strategic Positioning and The Art of Persuasion

Negotiation is also an exercise in persuasion, requiring you to position your arguments in a way that resonates with the other party.

This involves framing your proposals within the context of their benefits, using storytelling to illustrate potential outcomes, and subtly guiding the conversation towards a mutually beneficial conclusion. 

Negotiating with Emotional Intelligence

Understanding and managing emotions — both yours and the other party's — play a critical role in negotiation.

Emotional intelligence allows you to navigate tense moments with grace, turn confrontations into conversations, and build rapport that transcends the immediate transaction. 

Leveraging Non-Verbal Cues for Strategic Advantage

In our next section we will delve deeper into the importance of non-verbal communication.

It will become evident how body language, eye contact, and even the timing of your responses can convey confidence, openness, or receptiveness, influencing the dynamics of the negotiation.

Mastery of these subtle cues offers a unique strategic advantage that i have personally used many times in meetings.

Creating a "Perceived" Win-Win Framework

The goal of negotiation should never be to win at the expense of the other party (this is only a temporary victory) but to find solutions that offer "perceived" mutual benefits; after all you can never be in the mind of the other party to truly understand if they are comfortable with the outcome mutual benefits.

This win-win framework is central to the BYL Philosophy of Holistic Success, where the outcomes of negotiations strengthen relationships and open doors to future opportunities.

By focusing on common ground and collaborative problem-solving, you can navigate complex negotiations to satisfactory conclusions for all parties involved.

Incorporating these strategies into your negotiation toolkit not only enhances your ability to achieve favorable outcomes but also deepens your mastery of the subtle arts of communication and strategic positioning.

"...in a way, every social action is a negotiation, a compromise between 'his,' 'her' or 'their' wish and yours."
Andy Warhol

Leveraging Body Language and Non-Verbal Cues in Negotiating: The Unspoken Edge

In the chess game of negotiation, your moves aren't just the words you choose but also the silent signals you send.

This segment unlocks the power of body language and non-verbal communication, revealing how they serve as the undercurrents that can steer negotiations in your favor.

Project Confidence Through Posture: Your posture speaks volumes before you even utter a word. Stand tall or sit upright to exude confidence and control.

A slumped posture, in contrast, can signal uncertainty or deference, potentially undermining your position.

Maintain Positive, Open Body Language: Adopting an open stance—uncrossed arms, hands visible, and leaning slightly forward—signals openness and engagement, encouraging a more collaborative dialogue.

This stance invites trust, fostering a negotiation environment where the other party feel more inclined to share and concede.

Strategic Use of Eye Contact: Eye contact is a powerful tool for establishing connection and credibility. It conveys confidence and sincerity, crucial in building rapport.

However, balance is key—too little can be perceived as evasive, too much as confrontational.

Reading the Room: Beyond managing your cues, being attuned to others' non-verbal signals offers strategic advantages.

Observe changes in posture, facial expressions, and gestures to gauge reactions, adjust your approach, and navigate the negotiation more effectively.

Mirroring for Rapport: Subtly mirroring the body language of your counterpart can create a sense of empathy and understanding, making them more receptive to your proposals.

It’s a subtle art that, when executed with finesse, strengthens connections without crossing into imitation.

Use Gestures for Emphasis: Gestures can underscore your points and add weight to your words.

Used judiciously, they draw attention to your key messages and demonstrate conviction in your propositions.

The Power of Silence: Non-verbal cues aren’t always about action; sometimes, silence speaks louder.

Pausing before responding or after making a point can emphasize its importance, allowing the weight of your words to sink in and giving you additional time to assess the situation and gather your thoughts.

Integrating these non-verbal strategies equips you with an unspoken edge. It's about harnessing the full spectrum of communication to reinforce your negotiation tactics, ensuring that every gesture, every look, and every silence plays a part in crafting your narrative of success.

On the flip side of this, when you're engaging in negotiations, paying close attention to the other party's body language can provide invaluable insights into their thoughts, feelings, and intentions.

5 Key Non-Verbal Cues to Look for when Negotiating

Here are five key (some the reciprocal of the above) non-verbal cues to watch for in the other party that may reveal more than words do:

  1. Crossed Arms and Legs: This classic defensive posture can indicate that the other party is not open to your proposals or feels uncomfortable with the current discussion. It's a sign they might be resistant to what you're saying, signaling a need for you to reassess your approach or address underlying concerns directly.
  2. Lack of Eye Contact: While maintaining eye contact is a sign of confidence and honesty, avoidance can suggest discomfort, evasion, or disinterest. If you notice the other party consistently avoiding eye contact, it could be a sign they're not fully engaged or might be withholding their true feelings about the negotiation.
  3. Fidgeting and Restlessness: Excessive movements such as tapping feet, playing with pens, or shifting in their seat can indicate nervousness, impatience, or discomfort with the negotiation process. This might suggest they are under pressure, anxious about the negotiation outcomes, or eager to reach an agreement.
  4. Facial Expressions: Micro-expressions—brief, involuntary facial expressions—can reveal a person's true emotions, despite what they might be saying. For example, a quick grimace might indicate displeasure or disagreement, while a fleeting smile could suggest agreement or pleasure. Paying attention to these quick flashes of emotion can provide clues to their genuine reactions and feelings.
  5. Leaning In or Away: Body orientation can tell a lot about a person's interest and engagement. Leaning in can show interest, engagement, or agreement, suggesting they are open to what you're proposing. Conversely, leaning back or turning away might indicate disengagement, disagreement, or a desire to distance themselves from the discussion at hand.

By observing these non-verbal cues (and reacting to them), you can gain deeper insights into the other party's position in your negotiations, adjust your tactics accordingly, and navigate towards more advantageous outcomes.

In mastering the art of non-verbal cues, you're leveraging every tool at your disposal to shape outcomes.

"Body language is a very powerful tool. We had body language before we had speech, and apparently, 80% of what you understand in a conversation is read through the body, not the words."

     - Deborah Bull

Common Negotiating Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Navigating the minefield of negotiation requires an awareness of common pitfalls that can derail even the most well-intentioned discussions.

Recognizing these pitfalls is the first step toward avoiding them and harnessing each negotiation as an opportunity for growth and learning—a cornerstone of Building Your Legend (BYL).

The Preparation Paradox 

Entering negotiations without adequate preparation is akin to sailing into a storm without a compass.

A lack of preparation might stem from overconfidence or underestimating the complexity of the negotiation.

 Counter this by dedicating time to understand the negotiation's context, your goals, and those of the other party. Remember, preparation is your roadmap to success.

The Communication Conundrum

Poor communication, characterized by unclear objectives, failure to listen actively, or misinterpreting signals, often leads to misunderstandings and missed opportunities.

Cultivate clear, concise, and considerate communication.

As mentioned above, Active Listening is just as crucial as articulate speaking. This dual focus ensures that all parties are on the same page, reducing the likelihood of misinterpretation.

The Rigidity Trap

How often have you seen someone that simply won't change their mind or listen to an alternate point of view?

Inflexibility, or the inability to adapt strategies as negotiations unfold, can hinder progress and lead to stalemates. Negotiation is dynamic; what works in one scenario may falter in another.

Embrace adaptability by remaining open to alternative solutions and viewpoints. This flexibility not only facilitates smoother negotiations but also fosters a reputation for being reasonable and collaborative.

The Learning Lens

Every negotiation, regardless of its outcome, is a learning opportunity. 

Instead of dwelling on what went wrong, focus on extracting lessons to improve future negotiations. This mindset aligns with BYL’s principle of continuous improvement, encouraging resilience in the face of setbacks. Analyze your negotiation experiences to identify areas for growth, refine your approach, and enhance your negotiation prowess.

BYL's 'Deeper Dive'

For insights on turning negotiation challenges into growth opportunities, delve into

'Leadership Redefined: Crack the Code and Empower Your Influence and Skills'. 

This post explores the power of reflection and adaptation, using After-Action Reviews (AAR) to refine your approach and enhance your negotiation skills.

The Path Forward

By acknowledging and addressing these common negotiation pitfalls, you're actively participating in your journey of personal and professional development.

Embrace each negotiation as a steppingstone in your path to success, guided by the wisdom of past experiences and the strategic insight offered by BYL

With this approach, the art of negotiation transforms into a powerful tool, one that consistently moves you closer to your goals.

"If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging."
    - Anonymous

Real-World Examples of Successful Negotiations: Legacy in Action

Navigating the complex world of business demands a strategic understanding of human behavior, communication, and the subtleties of influence.

By examining real-world examples where strategic negotiation and the artful use of body language have led to landmark deals, we can uncover the profound impact of these techniques.

These case studies are lessons in the power of negotiation, each illustrating how adept negotiators turn potential conflicts into opportunities for mutual benefit.

When reflecting on Building Your Legend (BYL) Principles and Fundamentals, these examples showcase how Adaptability, Purposeful Action, and Strategic Planning can craft outcomes that are not only beneficial in the short term but also contribute to the long term as well.

Let's delve into two examples where the art of negotiation, underpinned by strategic body language and non-verbal cues, led to remarkable outcomes.

The Disney-Pixar Merger

In 2006, a landmark negotiation reshaped the landscape of the entertainment industry: the merger between Disney and Pixar

This negotiation was a masterclass in strategic patience, mutual respect, and vision alignment.

Bob Iger, then CEO of Disney, and Steve Jobs, representing Pixar, engaged in discussions that were less about numbers and more about shared dreams and visions for the future of animation. Their body language, open and engaged, signaled a willingness to listen and understand the other's perspective, which was crucial in building trust.

By focusing on long-term collaboration rather than short-term gains, they were able to secure a deal that not only benefited both companies but also revolutionized the animation industry.

The Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 is often cited as a pinnacle of diplomatic negotiation, where the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war. 

The negotiations between U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev were fraught with tension, but it was the strategic use of back-channel communications and the careful management of public statements that allowed both leaders to save face and step back from the edge.

Kennedy's team, understanding the high stakes, used a combination of firm public positions and private concessions to reach a peaceful resolution.

The body language exhibited in their respective public appearances—calm, composed, and resolute—played a significant role in maintaining a facade of control, which was crucial in the negotiation process.

This example highlights how understanding and leveraging the non-verbal aspects of communication can avert crisis and foster peace.

These examples show how successful negotiations are about more than just the immediate outcome. They are about setting the stage for ongoing success, innovation, and the strengthening of partnerships.

This is the essence of BYL: leveraging every negotiation as an opportunity to build your legend, leaving a mark that extends beyond the negotiation table.

"Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."

     - President John F. Kennedy

Tools and Resources for Enhancing Negotiating Skills

*Navigator Note: As I was compiling this blog post, I discovered many great resources to share with you (the readers). 

In the spirit of the Building Your Legend (BYL) Philosophy of Continuous Learning, I thought it important to share these with you. I also believe it's crucial to share the resources to allow you equip yourself with the right tools and resources to enhance your negotiation skills.

Please review below and dive deeper, sharpen your instincts, and fine-tune your approach to negotiation, especially in the nuanced art of body language and non-verbal cues.

Books Worth Reading

  • "Never Split the Difference" by Chris Voss: A former FBI hostage negotiator offers a unique perspective on high-stakes negotiations, emphasizing emotional intelligence and tactical empathy.
  • "The Dictionary of Body Language" by Joe Navarro: An ex-FBI agent’s guide to decoding body language, essential for understanding the unsaid in every negotiation.
  • "Getting to Yes" by Roger Fisher and William Ury: This classic book introduces principled negotiation, focusing on mutual gains and sustainable outcomes.

Online Learning Platforms

Coursera and Udemy: These platforms feature a wide range of courses on negotiation tactics and body language insights, suitable for all levels of expertise.

LinkedIn Learning: Offers courses that not only cover negotiation strategies but also delve into the psychological aspects of persuasion and influence.

By leveraging these resources, you're potentially learning to negotiate better as well as investing in your ability to read situations more effectively, communicate with greater impact, and lead with strategic vision. 

The fact that you have read this far shows your commitment to enhancing your skills and its what sets you apart from everyone else. You are trying to position yourself as a leader, as someone who understands the importance of negotiation and the subtleties of human interaction.

Remember, the journey to becoming an excellent negotiator is ongoing...every blog post read, book read, and course completed adds a new layer to your skill set. Embrace these opportunities to learn and evolve!

"We're fascinated by the words--but where we meet is in the silence behind them.”
Ram Dass


As we wrap up our exploration into the transformative power of negotiation, it's clear that the art of negotiation extends far beyond mere words.

By integrating the BYL with a strategic understanding of body language and non-verbal cues, you're equipped to unlock negotiation outcomes and strategies that will definitely give you an advantage. 

These little know tactics will empower you to navigate negotiations with a newfound confidence and sophistication.

The journey through negotiation is continuous, it challenges you to expand your understanding, adapt your strategies, and, most importantly, to view every negotiation as an opportunity to build your legend.

Whether it's the subtleties of non-verbal communication or leveraging BYL's foundational principles, every element contributes to your development as a negotiator and a leader.

Now, it's up to you.

Engage with peers, seek out mentors, and continue to expand your network. Remember, the journey is not one you need to embark on alone.

Send your comment or question to BYL through our Contact Page ...we're here to support you, inspire you, and celebrate with you every step of the way.

The power to shape your future, to build your legend, is in your hands!

John Sundt - Contributing to Your Legend

Navigator of Success | Career Strategist | Business Mentor

 John is your trusted guide through the dynamic world of business. With over 30 distinguished years of combined experience, He has not only navigated the intricacies of the U.S. Army for over a decade but also risen through corporate ranks for 22 years.

As the authoritative voice behind 'Building Your Legend,' John shares the invaluable lessons learned from successes and the wisdom gained from overcoming challenges. He's not just a career strategist; he's your business mentor, providing a toolkit for success shaped by real-world experiences.

 Welcome to 'Building Your Legend'—where success is meticulously crafted, mistakes are turned into stepping-stones, and legends are born.

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m thrilled to hear you find the blog insightful. For more exclusive content and updates, I invite you to visit our homepage and sign up for “3 Key Strategies for ‘Building Your Legend” to get started.
      Also, if you think others could benefit from our articles, please feel free to share them. Your support helps us grow and continue to provide valuable insights. Thanks for being part of the BYL community! – John

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}