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The Power of Positive Negotiating

Recently I was negotiating a contract with some difficult issues. I needed guidance and turned to my dear friend, Linda Swindling, JD, CSP, the Negotiation Expert who equips leaders to negotiate what matters. Her advice was so phenomenal, I had to share it with you.

Linda briefed me on choosing the right attitude when approaching negotiations.  Was I going to take a defensive stance and prepare for battle? OR choose to become a positive collaborator to encourage an agreement that is fair for all?

She explained to me the hostile approach can work if it is a one-time deal, or the other side tends to be aggressive or takes advantage of others. Linda’s research shows deals negotiated with a “nice” approach are more likely to have a stronger and more cooperative implementation.

As demonstrated by the late Keith Harrell, author of Attitude is Everything, he shared, “Your attitude is paramount in turning your tactics into positive action”. He and Linda subscribe to the same philosophy: have a positive attitude when negotiating. Don’t be a jerk!

Here are her secrets on what Positive dealmakers know:

  • Being nice is a sign of strength, not weakness. Staying positive and kind earns you more trust, information and commitment.
  • Ensuring all parties feel heard matters. When you consider others’ interests, you build respect for you and your agreement. On the other hand, when people feel overpowered, taken advantage of or that they made a bad deal, they often attempt to sabotage an agreement or eagerly look for your non-compliance.
  • Forcing agreements do not work long-term. You can disagree without being disagreeable. Applying force, refusing to share information and/or going to someone’s superior weakens relationships and results.
  • Win/win agreements are more durable. Collaborating to meet each other’s interests creates better agreements. In other words, everyone gains more if they play a little nicer.

Think of your past deals that went well. Could you trust the other sides to uphold their agreement? Did you feel respected? Were your suggestions considered? If so, you experienced positive negotiations.

Linda briefed me on staying positive in any negotiation.

  • Be a cheerleader. Thank others for their efforts, review the progress made and advocate reaching an agreement.
  • Own your strengths. Recognizing your gifts, and those of others, allows you to show up powerfully. Positive negotiators rarely feel inferior or threatened by someone else’s strengths.
  • Talk positively to yourself. Give yourself permission to fail and have a mind shift as I did in my negotiations.
  • Be clear on your intentions. When you know the outcomes you desire, you are more likely to stay motivated. You can monitor if you are heading in the right direction and reaching success or if it is time to modify or quit.
  • Stop mind reading. To discover the other parties’ real interests, ask them what they really want. Then, listen. Their answers provide ideas and solutions you would not otherwise know.
  • Assume good intentions. If there are two ways to read an email or interpret words, positive negotiators ask for clarification before reacting.
  • Be honest! Even when sharing bad news, you should tell the truth. People will remember your integrity and trust you because of it.

Remember, positive negotiators receive better results by helping others achieve their goals. You can find these tips and other poignant advice in Linda’s best-selling book, Ask Outrageously: The Secret to Getting What You Really Want. It will become your reference book for life.  Now go negotiate!


About Betty Garrett

Betty Garrett has spent more than three decades in the training, travel and hospitality industries. Her company, Garrett Speakers International, is based in Irving, Texas. Reach Garrett at Check out their website at


About Linda Swindling

Linda Swindling is the go-to negotiation expert for leaders who want to negotiate everything from big deals to work drama with proven strategies that drive results without driving others away. For more information visit or contact