Amin Talab

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Sparring Round #34: “Closing” to getting you elected as president of your association

Round 34 Topics

The facts are all on the table… the client is not uninterested… but what are you doing now to have her sign? How can the deal be closed?

This was one of the main cases in Round #34 each and every Sparrer had a chance to try his luck on. The results were mixed. Yes, it is possible, but not at every time and for everyone.

Main take-aways from the sales case:

  1. The “sale” needs to have been prepared and introduced carefully. This starts with the setting of the conversation. “Begging” and “Praying” body positions put you in a disadvantage you can hardly overcome later.
  2. We all had to agree in  Sparring Round #34: “hard selling” is completely self-defeating these days. You don´t sell – you let buy.

As always, there were other cases, too. Like conducting clandestine strategic negotiations: how do I show members of our association that the board is not really doing its job. 

Last not least there was a stint into political negotiations, proving that negotiations in private situations, in particular fathers vs. mothers, can be taxing. Finding the right focus is paramount here.

Also, I had the pleasure of honoring one of our Sparrers – Christian received the sought-after “comeon-watch” and are granted special privileges in the Negotiation Sparring Alumni circle.

But I am not revealing any more here online.

Come to our next Sparring Round on Friday, October 13th (8.45 – 16.30 hrs.) and experience this exclusive Negotiation Case training for yourself – I´d love to model your case and/or have you try your ideas “life” with us.

The video analyses are available for all pro members (with their own video) again at the sparring analyses in

Recommendation: To avoid the disappointment of not getting a place, please register earlier for the next round.

I would be happy to welcome you (back) with us!

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SparringClub Pro Open for New Participants

Dear Visitor,

Strategic attitude and negotiation skills determine relationships, careers, and even the overall success of your life to a very special degree. The SparringClub is about setting ambitious goals and consistently achieving the best possible negotiation success with the Coaching support.

In short: become the best version of yourself with my support e.g. in the monthly coaching sessions or in the Negotiation Sparring.

There are only a few places available in the exclusive program, and I personally select participants with a view to mutual learning success. The SparringClub consists of a select group of executives, influencers and self-employed who want to exchange ideas at a top level and perfect their negotiating skills, not only on the strategic, but also on the practical day-to-day level.

The number of participants is deliberately limited to 10 and focused on the right target group in order to ensure the intimacy and the exclusivity of the small group. In the club, strategies, goals and techniques are optimized, tried out and trained in a multi-facetted Coaching program.

If you are interested in becoming a Master Negotiator, inquire with me directly, sign up and let’s achieve the best negotiation results for you!


Happy New Year!

One of the favorite activities of my year is coming up: Reviewing the old and preparing the new.

What has changed? What did I achieve? Where am I coming from and how does this impact my future?

As an entrepreneur, my starting point this year will again be the development of my business. As Austrian business we are obliged to keeping our accounting records 7 years. This means, we can review and completely close, and burn old, outdated records.

Of course, the beauty is not only to get rid of old things, but looking through them, reminiscing and reliving past successes. While I am doing this, I am finding that it was a pretty successful year regarding book sales! I will love to set the invoices on fire, however I would like to stay in contact with my readers of that time. How can I best manage that? Maybe I should reach out via LinkedIN?

Did you know that 7 years timeframe also coincides with another body related time frame? It takes about 7 years for all of the cells in your body to be replaced by other cells. This means, in short, that your body now really is different in every aspect than the one you had 7 years ago. You are, physically speaking, a completely different person (Disclaimer: not exactly so, but it is a good model to work on, find more here).

After going through my review of the distant, I´ll have a look into what´s been achieved last year. As some of you probably know, my kids and I have published a new book together, the Little Free Thinker.

You want to to your Review-Outlook-Vision together with me?

Then consider joining my workshop that has become a landmark for my Sparring friends and me: Review – Outlook – Vision on January 15th. In the exclusive group we talk about our plans and set targets for the coming year. Join us, if you´d like to!

A unique format: Review 1/year

I wish you a wonderful New Year, and that it will bring you closer to your dreams,

Dr. Amin Talab

P.S. Here some tips to help you setting better goals

Negotiation JOKER for short-term support

Your Negotiation Joker

Hallo Negotiation friends,

Do you want to ensure reaching your objectives in upcoming negotiations?

How about an independent second opinion on your strategy? Somebody to discuss tactics with confidentially? Heck, you can even rehearse upcoming sensitive phases of your negotiation (under whatever name it is conducted) and try out different options!

You can do all that easily with a ONLINE JOKER

  • FLEXIBLE: one-time or accompanying
  • CONFIDENTIAL: for any kind of negotiation
  • PRACTICAL: own browser based conference room – just click the link
  • PERSONAL: 100% customized to you individually
  • PROFESSIONAL: direct access to the negotiation expert


Choosing the right wording in your e-mail, analyzing your negotiation partnersfinding motivation to go through a conflict or assessing strategy:

Count on my support!







Negotiation Training in a 3- phase Hybrid Model


After finding out that everything in life is negotiation, and that you can learn negotiation skills if you put some time and effort into it, there is only one question remaining:

What is the best way to practicing Negotiation Skills?

After designing and teaching courses for 20+ years we thought we know pretty much about what helps our participants learn the best way. However, progress allows us to finetune our most efficient format, Negotiation Sparring, even a little further.

How? Well, we can add to the above mentioned secrets of negotiation training, in particular repetition, by splitting the main training day in three parts.

These 3 parts are:

  1. Kick-Off Online (ca. 1 hour) – Setting, Cases, Getting-to-know each other
  2. Main Part: Sparring Day – Modelling of Cases, Negotiation Training Skills
  3. Check-Up Online (ca. 1 hour) – Success Control, Sustainability of Outcome

Part 1: Kick-Off Online

About 1 week before the actual training, we offer an Online Part 1.

Why? Well, we all know the situation: People coming together the first time need time to grasp what is expected of them, who is there, and what the written, und unwritten, group rules are. This might seem a minor part to the unsuspecting layperson, but as facilitators we know that the success of the very first hour determines the rest of the training. People need to trust, open up, and invest into each others´ development. Interactive trainings “live by” the input of each and all participants.

Luckily, being able to seeing and “getting a feel” for the other participants and the trainer is a part that can be done upfront. Personal communication, phone calls and seminar description are helpful, but getting the group to have an upfront virtual meeting, sharing their goals, experiences, and cases they´d like to work is really helpful. It also saves a lot of time during the actual Sparring day.

Part 2: Main Part: Sparring Day – Modelling of Cases, Negotiation Skills Training together

The Sparring itself is happening “real-life”, so people can try themselves and their strategies out, and focus on negotiation training skills.

This video shows what´s happening during the Sparring Negotiation Skills Training:

Part 3: Check-Up Online (ca. 1 hour) – Success Control, Sustainability of Outcome

During the training you´ve been summarizing your learnings, filled out the “Take-Away”, and discussed during the Circle Feedback. You go back to your partners, clients, and colleagues and keep negotiating prices, relationships and everything else with the best of intentions.

Of course, we don´t leave you out in the cold after you´ve worked with us on your negotiation training skills, because our intention is to help you becoming successful in the long term, and that requires constant improvement. About 1 month after the training we offer an Online coming together for success control, sharing progress and offering support for any questions that might have opened up.

Of course, we also and support you with our monthly Group Coachings or even individual Negotiation Training Skills Coachings.

Because your relationships and goals are worth training for!

Invitation to Mediation Lounge


As the name implies, our informal getting together intends to bring all sorts of people together to exchange ideas & share news and approaches to conflict resolution. There is no better informal opportunity out there to meet people interested in conflict solving and negotiation in a casual and very personal way! You will also be able to get to know some of the authors of our Masterbooks series personally and are free to ask questions or discuss interesting items of their writings.

This event is being organized in conjunction with the Association for integrated Mediation Austria. It is recognized as advanced training according to § 20 ZivMediatG. Confirmations will be handed out on request for members of the Association of Integrated Mediation only.

Join any Topic Tables (TT)

Naturally, conflict resolution is the big headline for our lounge. Whereas mediation and arbitration are in the limelight, we encourage any relevant topic to be opened, presented and discussed. You can join and also leave any TT any time you please. Go to where the most interesting discussion takes place and find answers or interesting questions to talk about.

Become a Topic Moderator

Topic Moderators can bring their Topic suggestions to the table, and will moderate the discussions at the tables. In the Welcome Session they are shortly coming to the stage to present their main question, study, book, or other input for their table. Participants are free to join and leave any topic, as long as they adhere to our discussion rules. Members of the Association of Integrated Mediation will be key players in moderating the lounge topic tables (TT). However, we are open to proposals from fellow mediators, professionals, authors, Coaches etc. to open a dedicated TT for their topic. TT presenters can participate free of charge and may bring up to 5 of their own participants for free.

Want to contribute as Topic Moderator? Write to us with your topic proposal and let´s join forces to enable independent, interesting discussions on solving human conflicts better and easier!

Dr. Amin Talab (Host Mediation Lounge)

other Workshops you might find interesting (you can filter if you like)…

Sparring Round #30: Constructive criticism for peers, coworkers & bosses

Constructive criticism for peers Sparring 30

Exciting, very personal and fully booked was our Sparring Round #30 last Friday.

The negotiation cases this time were more internal in the area of conducting employee interviews & giving constructive criticism for peers. This is part of a trend that I am noticing more and more: The uncertainty about how to proceed in the business world needs to be discussed internally with key staff, colleagues and bosses. Competencies and tasks change much more frequently and quickly than in the past, and employees can no longer simply be “instructed” to gladly take on new tasks or to change how to do things.

Therefore, goals have to be discussed together, tasks have to be distributed together or this distribution has to be negotiated with each other. Often, constructive criticism for peers, constructive criticism for coworkers and constructive criticism for bosses examples are called for. Of course, I notice this in the increased number of cases of employee appraisal training during sparring and individual coaching as preparation for the topic of conducting employee appraisals.

“Giving colleagues criticism to change certain behavior” and “Negotiating with boss when there is great uncertainty about the future of the department/company) says a lot, doesn’t it?

Ibi as an international KeyAccount was there for the first time as a sparring partner and really scored with his international experience and extroverted being. Our tax consultant also took an emphatic but tough approach, with our technical genius Georg and Christian offering no resistance. Ron, coach and trainer, we have spared a little this time…

The video analyses are available for all pro members (with their own video) again at the sparring analyses in

Recommendation: To avoid the disappointment of not getting a place, please register earlier for the next round.

I would be happy to welcome you (back) with us!

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Speed Negotiating – What´s happening?

Speed Negotiating Ülo

It was an incredible “Live Feeling” seeing so many of you actively participating in our “Elevator Pitch Presentation” Event.

Especially the Speed Negotiating part was quite an experience, matching people from Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany and Austria automatically, to practice to focus their message one-on-one for a short time. Here a quick summary video for you:

Your Elevator Pitch preparation course will be available as long as you use it (use it or lose it – login at least once between rounds), so don´t forget to look through that once in a while and keep looking at the structure tips.

Thanks for being there, and if even if you didn´t make it:

Let me know in the comments which part you find most interesting…!

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New Course: Elevator Pitch Training

Here is our completely new Online Course on structure, setting and caveats of the EP. It will help you prepare for our Event Series and any internal or external pitch.

Using the Pitch as Intrapreneur* – Possible? Useful? Recommendable?

elevator pitch - who are you?

It is my pleasure to invite you to come by – free of charge – to our Speed Negotiating Pre-Event #4 in our new Congress Hall:   tomorrow Friday, April 2nd, 14.00 CET.    I will interview our speaker Mladen Zaprianov on different situations to presenting projects and ideas on the “company inside” and how to adapt your Elevator Pitch to the expectations of your listener(s).    Mladen Zaprianov is change expert with lots of experience in company and international settings will share his experience. (10 minutes)   #

What is an Elevator Pitch exactly?

* Don´t know what Intrapreneurship is? Yes, it is really called that way! Have a look at to finding out.

Protected: Can or should you Learn Negotiating From former Hostage Negotiators?

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Use business cards strategically in negotiations

Who can escape them? Cheap business cards with Word clipart or the variant with 200 free standard business cards with print advertising on the back. Thrift often begins with the business card and company folder. Business Cards might appear “outdated”, however, some crucial points are still well worth to be considered.

Why are business cards still important in the digital age?

  • A business card is often that first physical contact with a new person and helps to win them over as a customer and start the negotiation on the right foot. The situation is even worse with service providers: Here this is sometimes the only tangible “gift” that is ever given. Accordingly, several pieces of perception act here at the same time (see The Master Negotiator Checklist p 108):
  • The first impression (Primacy effect) is rated disproportionately and stays in the memory much longer
  • Observations are unconsciously selected in such a way that the first impression is confirmed : “I knew it.”
  • Therefore, the following performance and price presentation is seen in the light of the business card impression. So it’s easy to start a vicious circle here.
  • Business cards are often “taken out again” after the meeting, touched and felt. They are therefore viewed more often than just when they are handed over.
  • Business cards are read! In the age of overstimulation, this is a very important opportunity.
  • So the last thing your business card should be is boring and interchangeable. Your business card is the mirror of your company and your achievements. Accordingly, you should invest in the design and printing of your business card and be sure to consult a professional.

5 tips for the optimal use of the business card with your negotiating partner

1. Cheap business cards really tend to leave a cheap impression

Do you want to look cheap? If not, invest in your business card.

Invest your time and money. Until you love them. When did you invest enough? There’s a little trick: if it’s such a beautiful work of art that you hesitate to hand your child a copy to play with because it feels too valuable for that.

2. All important information should be easy to find

After a keynote, participants had left countless business cards. Yet, 4 (of about 70) cards lacked e-mail addresses. 6 didn’t give any website information, or maybe didn’t have any ?!

Every industry works a little differently, of course. But e-mail and the Internet are a must practically everywhere.

But there is a little more to it than that. Assume that a casual observer, much like visiting your website, spends only a few seconds answering the following questions:

1) Who is that?
2) What is he doing?
3) Can I use it?

3. Take advantage of the back side

Imagine listening to a 1 minute commercial on the radio. Only if finishes after 30 seconds. Then there is silence. That is the situation and the lost chance if you leave the back of your card blank. You can include current offers, a slogan, a coupon or a URL. For example, I have information about my books attached on the back.

4. Always take business cards with you

You can share your information wherever you could meet people. Put some in your bike, car, bag, sports bag and with the seminar documents. After all, the interested customer can be waiting for you anywhere. So be prepared!

5. Think “Class” instead of “mass” when handing out your cards

During my last Speed Negotiation Seminar one participant “forced his card” on everyone, whether they wanted it or not. When tidying up after the seminar, I found half of the cards spread out on tables and in the garbage can. The potential partners reaction was to be “pissed off” and brought little positive either to her or to the recipients. Only give business cards to someone who deserves them. After you’ve invested so much in your business cards, hand them out only to people you actually want to work with. This saves you from stalking gossip and doesn’t seem so intrusive.

The first but important step would be done. If you want to take a closer look at fee negotiations and practice your first impression, have a closer look at my Speed Negotiation Event..

I wish you success!

European Morals: Too Noble To Sell?

Suddenly, products and services were no longer available. (Not only) Food was hoarded and businesses went bankrupt overnight. Crises like Covid-19 show the importance of a functioning market economy for all market participants, but also for the state community as such and can give previously unknown clarity.

In addition to the loss of tax revenue and the range of products and services, small local companies (SMEs) in particular felt the “loss of the marketplace” very directly. These “small” companies are usually not in the limelight, but provide a large part of the domestic economic output: tax advisors, consultants, coaches, lawyers, IT consultants, stage technicians or even writers “from next door”.

A Free Society Builds On The Understanding of Free Markets

The public marketplace with all its facets, and the potential contact with customers that it provides, is a prerequisite for entrepreneurship and independence.

In crisis the risks of self-employment show themselves in all their existence-threatening ugliness:

  1. the often underestimated corporate risk (without customers, no sales, means no income, despite ongoing expenses)
  2. the draining, constant performance requirement, despite illness, family demands, school dropouts, etc. and
  3. the 24/7 accompanying existential fear, also for family, employees, suppliers etc.

But independence means more than just increased risk.

There is an even more fundamental difference: In order to survive, the self-employed need a very specific, regulatory, practical and also mentally supportive environment. For the self-employed person to be successful, it is not enough to work off his tasks well every day and wait for the end of the month.

The development of the last few decades has brought many new services to a market that already was highly competitive. Mailboxes, email inboxes and apps are under constant fire from companies that are desperately trying to attract attention.

However, even with advertising, customers and sales don’t just come in automatically. While large network providers, electricity suppliers, supermarkets or fashion chains can still advertise their product, small lawyers, tax advisors, carpenters, masseurs or energy specialists can hardly do so. SME need more than just marketing, they need “human curiosity & openness to ” environment.

This environment, this “market place” first of all requires the actual encounter, that is, a physical meeting, albeit with a safe distance. But it also requires a mental encounter: This means intellectual openness and the social understanding that a marketplace is necessary, helpful, colorful and advantageous for all.

It is precisely this openness that is lacking in Europe. Whether for environmental, social, or political reasons: business and market criticism are becoming increasingly popular.

Constant Selling is the lifeblood of a successful (business) venture

A particular challenge for many small companies is the need to constantly present their own services and entrice new customers.

That is a rather tightrope walk for SMEs because nobody wants to be ingratiating or selling. Small or sole proprietorships have no budget to advertise on a large scale and wide range. In practice, what counts primarily is the personal appearance and the business card or website with which the entrepreneur can draw attention to himself and his services.

Europe Has An Ideological Problem With Free Markets

There is space and interest for this personal appearance in the Anglo-American, but also in Asian culture. The search for new business partners and customers is understood as a professional, meaningful and social social activity. Hence, achievement and success is encouraged, if not admired. People agree that conversations and business negotiations mostly lead to mutually beneficial agreements, “deals” are actively sought.

In Europe and especially in the Roman Catholic societies, even the word “market” is already suspect. People are supposed to meet (only) for cultural events or social or at least humanitarian reasons. The basic tenor is often rather cynical: Let´s have the convenience of technological progress, but without capitalism or time-consuming advertising and sales.

You might easily hear people argue: “I don’t need 20 types of yoghurt in the supermarket.” You can hardly explain the background of our economic system but respond shortly: “No, you might not, but we also don’t just want to have to eat your favorite variety.” European can be completely oblivious to the connection between market mechanisms and the variety of services and products. However, for a functioning market and thus for companies, having informed, interested, open and self-determined market participants can go a long way.

As an example of many:
The misconception of the GDPR

The implementation of the GDPR is an example of this misconception about market mechanisms: a potential (private or commercial) customer may not be written to or otherwise contacted by entrepreneurs before the latter explicitly and actively gives his consent.

However, this consent must also not be requested directly, unless the customer approaches the provider of his own volition. This may be justified and work where huge companies can generate desire, brand affinity and demand with appropriate advertising budgets and measures.

With the self-employed IT specialist or consultant, writer, coach or trainer, however, it can be safely assumed that practically nobody will ask for advertising brochures on their own. With the GDPR in place, entire industries can be found without any basis for legally addressing new customers with economically justifiable means. At the same time, one can observe that spam mails from dishonest companies have by no means decreased, and mail advertising from large companies also seems to have hardly decreased.

Do entrepreneurs need personal contact to survive? You bet!

Now, as the economic fallout from the shutdown is making itself felt, something is being written about local marketplaces and the importance of buying at home. People are becoming aware that their neighborhood, their city, their region can only survive economically if the cycle stays in motion.

What does my Freelance Neighbor actually offer?

How often have I seen neighbors and even family members surprised to find out after a purchase that they could have bought the same products or services directly from their cousins, classmates ​​or friends (and on the same or better terms)!

Because selling in person is by and large taboo in Europe, the fitness trainer bites her tongue at parties rather than selling her achievements and courses. There is always the danger that she could appear intrusive or even a salesy. At the next meeting, however, it turns out that the woman you got along so well with at the party has booked another sports coach directly in the fitness center.

Is Online Marketing the Answer?

The only channel left for small businesses is almost unaffordable online advertising. But here a recent experience in Vienna/Austria shows the widespread hostility towards advertising and entrepreneurship, despite all lip service. If you really wanted companies, you also have to allow them to actively offer themselves and their products.

If a small company like mine is willing and financially able to place a paid ad, it should not have to think twice about its offer for fear of being accused of advertising too aggressively!

Even Online Marketers are worrying about being too salelsy!

This, however, is exactly what happened when we tried to market one of our books (this is the page we wanted to link to, judge for yourself) via an online advertiser dedicated to EPUs and boroughs in Vienna. The answer from the online marketplace we received?

“The presentation [of this CD box, note A] was a rather misleading sales page for me.”

Viennese Online Marketing Agency, (co)financed with public funds

Our paid ad was declined for reason of being too aggressive!

It sounds like a mockery that the same “highly moral” agency is still tapping public funds from the Vienna Business Agency in order to support SMEs in the Grätzl. With this moral arrogance and fear of selling, we in Europe don’t need to worry about competition from Asia or the U.S.A. We are already finishing our companies ourselves.

Mit dieser moralischen Überheblichkeit und Verkaufsangst brauchen wir in Europa keine Sorge vor der Konkurrenz aus Asien oder den U.S.A. haben. Wir machen unsere Unternehmen so schon selbst fertig.

We need a European way forward

If, as a society, we seriously value freedom to shape one’s profession and life, we need a society that values ​​its elements such as the market, advertising and the culture of supply.

This is by no means difficult to attain, but the change must take place in the mind!

  1. To do this, school teachers need to be required to know and understand market mechanisms personally.

    Internships in small companies with corresponding customer frequency should become a compulsory part of the pedagogical curriculum in teacher training.

  2. Schools should incorporate projects that foster marketing and selling products or services.

    Our children are sent out onto the streets to beg for Churches and Caritas without hesitation, but buying fruit themselves and selling fruit juice for pocket money at the school festival is rejected as being too profit-oriented. Instead of focusing on the acquisition of grants and donations, the mechanism of supply and demand should be experienced and learned.

  3. Decision-makers, especially in politics, should have felt the rough wind, especially in the sale of a local SME, for at least a certain time before their parliamentary representation.

Last but not least, it´s time in Europe to seriously and honestly grapple with the question of how much freedom we really want for ourselves and our children. It has become all too easy and socially acceptable to denounce the mistakes of capitalism.

It should be at least equally appropriate and socially acceptable to name the advantages and freedoms of capitalism. If we want a creative, sustainable, free and entrepreneurial Europe in the 21st millennium, we need to rethink and strengthen a society that values ​​entrepreneurship with all its facets. Better to tackle the above steps today than tomorrow.

Sex, Money, Power: Why people negotiate all the time, even when they don´t

Man and woman negotiating

Responsible Managers Are Rightly Complaining about Lacking Negotiation Skills

Managers with outcome responsibility often tell me how frustrating it is asking their colleagues to prepare better for negotiations. They complain about lacking awareness for negotiation skills, or even outright misunderstanding of the very term “negotiations”. 

More often than not, it is not a lack of will that stops professionals focusing on their negotiating strategies and thus arriving at better results, but a costly lack of awareness:

People want to believe they are just talking, meeting, discussing. “Negotiating” sounds too harsh and tactical, or even too one-sided to what they think they are doing, when what they really are doing is clearly negotiating.

In relationships, ignorance about how to smoothly get what you need can be a costly mistake: Not knowing why and how you can influence others (without bossing them around) will cost you money, time and good-will.

Most surprisingly, it is often the people who would need most to be working on their negotiation skills who least acknowledging that their relationships are not working as well as they think they are.

If your colleague is seeking to keep or improve relationships, they must not ignore negotiation skills.

Here is why:

  1. People, in general, are not isolated island dwellers. They need others to meet their targets
  2. Hardly anybody is in the position to order others around. If you need to persuade others to support you, you need to negotiate.
  3. While it does cost time, effort and money to work on your skills, the long term effects outweigh these costs by far.
  4. There is no need to go the egoistic route, fight and struggle, when you could find options that satisfy your needs while leaving everyone else better off?

How to persuade colleagues to start negotiating better instead of just repeating their points over?

Here is a short Argumentation guide for people “never negotiating”

Yes, I know, some people just believe they are never negotiating.

Here a little argumentation guide to guide you through the “conversation” with them. You can use it to practice your own argumentation (yes, argumentation skills can be a big part of negotiations)

Colleague says: “Why should I look into negotiation skills? I never negotiate anyways.”

Step 1: Start with asking a question to establish ground:

I know you are not living on a far-away island, so you are probably entertaining relationships with work colleagues, neighbors, family and friends, right?

If they are not completely asocial nerds, they would have to answer “Yes“.

Step 2 Go on:

Are they all following your orders, I mean do they see you as their commander?

Now some smart pencils will probably point out that their subordinates are following their orders, and maybe their kids, or even their husbands (or wives). But by and large most people can not simply boss other people around to do what they please. Since in free societies people come and interact at their own will, the answer is bound to be “No, they don´t follow my orders”.

Step 3 Continue:

So if you don´t command them, do people always give you what you want, when you simply ask them for it?

We all know the answer to this question is “No”. If not, please tell me where to move!

Step 4 Now comes a decisive question:

How then do you make people do what you need them to?

They might return your question and ask you: “Like what?

Negotiating Like what? Human encounters are basically negotiations!

Step 5 It´s your turn to explain yourself now. There are hundreds of examples you can give, like:

  • “Do you loath the thought of asking your colleague yet another time to fill you in on what´s happening? You are getting promises, but never quite the most important part?”
  • “Do you ever wish you could choose the movie being watched on Netflix?”
  • “Would you like your client to give you notice just a little bit earlier next time so you can better plan?”
  • “Are you wondering why your group of friends always ends up at the Chinese place, while you prefer Burgers?”
  • “Do you try to convince your team to go ahead with certain steps yet they sometimes don´t “get it”?
  • “Would you like to buy something, however the price is just not in your budget rage?”
  • “Do you wish Mr.X (fill in as needed) would be talking to you in a different, more respectable way?”
  • “Do you feel that in your relationship the responsibilities are not quite shared equally and should be?”
  • “Would you sometimes like to explain why you are having certain (political) opinions, but you seem to run into a wall with your counterpart?”

Essentially you could choose any example where at least two people are communicating with each other, if one would like the other to do, omit or understand something the way he wants.

Now, what is a negotiation?

The actual definition of negotiation reads: “A negotiation is an interaction in order to influence the behavior of at least on other person, whereby different interests are reconciled and brought about in a developing process” (find more on p20 of my Bestseller The Master Negotiator).

If your counterpart looks at it that way, they will find that the question is not “where do I negotiate?”, but much more “where do I not negotiate?”.

What if the negotiation is called “meeting”, “presentation”, or “discussion”?

Don´t get confused by nomenclature, like masking negotiations under terms like “conversation”, “meeting”, “discussion”, “performance talk” etc. These often obfuscate the picture of what you can contribute and change if you set your mind to it.

All relationships are products of negotiations, and thus negotiable, not only regarding contents, but also in the way the are being conducted:

If your colleagues need to convince people and develop their relationships, there is no way around working on negotiation skills.

5 strategies for Your Online Meetings & Negotiations

1. Assign responsibility for Your meeting process = appoint a moderator

As explained in my previous post, not all meetings are meant for “equality” for a variety of reasons.

A moderator helps participants focus, and guarantees security about the process and rules. Depending on the rules of the meeting, no one can speak without the moderator’s consent, and shy contributors are being nudged to share with his active invitation. This is even more important for online meetings, given the lack of body cues and failing audio or video quality issues.

Tip: Make sure you write down the expected outcome together with the expected time for the meeting. Don´t hesitate to reiterate or even ask somebody what you´re all here for if people get lost.

2. Set a meeting objective & make sure, people know it

Call it whatever you like: “Agenda”, “Reason to meet” or “Outcome expected”, but make sure there is a clear goal to your meeting, and people know about it. If you want to socialize that´s fine, just make sure everyone is on board, lest you lose your credibility once you want to achieve any substantial discussion.

Tip: Make sure you write down the expected outcome together with the expected time for the meeting. Don´t hesitate to reiterate or even ask somebody what you´re all here for if people get lost.

3. Distinguish between “required”, “helpful”, and “tolerated” participants

Inviting everybody remotely interested feels tempting. People perceive you as being active on the one hand, and making sure nobody feels left out on the other. Especially when working remotely for an extended time, as we do have to do now during the Covid-19 lock down, it might also feel nice to getting face time with people that you are used to having around.

However, there is one big problem: Meetings don´t accomplish much when many people are taking part who don´t actively contribute towards the meeting objective. If there are many people in the online meeting, many feel obliged to contribute anything in order to justify their presence.

Tip: To solve that quagmire, introduce roles, like “required”, “helpful” or even “tolerated” with definite expectations linked to them. People can “come by” without feeling an urge to disturb.

Tip: Introduce roles, like “required”, “helpful” or even “tolerated” with definite expectations linked to them. People can “come by” without feeling an urge to disturb.
Don´t hesitate to play with the roles and actively call out the change of a role, e.g. from “required” to “tolerated”, e.g. when participants played their part and can´t contribute any longer. This might also help them leave and go to something more productive than losing the urge to linger.

4. Conclude with meeting notes & simple/clear follow-up terms

Many meetings end with vague smiles from all participants, happy to go back to their To-Do lists.

It is the your responsibility as moderator to summarize and point out meaning and action for each point tackled of the agenda. Like a good journalist, the key task is to spell out headlines and identify action items.

Tip: Summarizing the results in the end either in writing, or by recording the final oral summary of the moderator can help making sure decisions are being followed up and remembering which person is responsible for its delivery.

5. Agree on basic regulatory framework. Start with mute/unmute and video/no video protocol

It’s important for you to show early that rules are set and enforced for everybody, if you don´t want people to settle for the easiest, but mostly worst, option. Start with technical issues, and follow up with whatever is needed for the group to be efficient.

  • Default to video: It’s easier to pick up facial clues and avoid interruptions when you can see your counterpart
  • Mute your audio when there are more than four people: it is nearly impossible to avoid background noise which wears everybody down. If there is no lively discussion between just a few people, mute your mic and spare everybody the noise
  • Clarify: as soon as possibly that contributions are only welcome if they are advancing the discussion towards the stated aim. Online meetings require very clear communication to keep everyone on task.

Of course, one of the biggest pitfalls is to have somebody of the team being responsible for “rule enforcement”. It is hard to stop colleagues from repeating themselves the third time when you might need their support at a parallel project.

Tip: Have people moderate meetings who don´t have to worry about their appearances and can stay neutral. Sometimes HR will be able to help. Best results (and shortest meeting times) will be achieved when getting support by outside professional (online) moderators.

Group Coaching Negotiation: Ask Amin Anything

Ask Any Negotiation Question in
“Ask Amin Anything”

The Online format of group Coaching helps you find the ideal approach to your next negotiation and get inspired by the input of other negotiators, whether in sales, meetings, presentations or within organizational politics

Are you interested in situations and roadblocks people face, and want to learn more about how these difficulties can be overcome? Do you want to profit from the motivation and inspiration inherent in a group exchange under professional supervision?

Do you appreciate the opportunity to stay updated on negotiation matters once a month?

For all these situations you´ll find a good opportunity in “Ask Amin Anything”. In this monthly group Coaching all possible (and sometime impossible) cases are being looked at, and questions asked like e.g.:

  • How do I deal with the shark negotiator in my team?
  • What can I answer my client on “You are too expensive”?
  • How do I influence people if I don´t want to become a manipulator?

Dealing with people is very multifaceted: Argumentation, feelings, communication, goal setting and tracking… it makes sense to answer one or two questions. Or better: ask them and have me answer them. Let´s strategize, prepare, and improve together.

Agenda (every 1st of month)

09:50 Please come in and check your technical requirements

10:00 Start:
10:05 Review:
How did my negotiations go last month? Do I get closer to my objectives this year? What are my thoughts and feelings on that ( 2-3 Min/participant)

10:25 Cases:
Are there open questions I´d like to raise? What kind of questions would I like to pose and discuss in the Group setting.

10:50 Outlook:
Which goals am I setting for myself? What are my take-aways out of this setting?

11:00 Finish

Setting up (online) meetings right


The biggest pitfalls in (online) meetings

YOUR FIRST STEP: Choose the basic Setup for your meeting

When you are setting up a meeting, you do have to take a basic, but very important choice right in the beginning: Will the meeting be

1) “all equals“, meaning that all participants are on the same level and can contribute to process & content, or will the meeting be

2) moderated, i.e. will you or somebody else be the Meeting Master conducting it and be responsible for the process.

This setup has a huge influence on the entire meeting, its pitfalls and its outcome.

All Participants have the same status – A good meeting choice?

Unmoderated Meeting

There are enticing advantages of setting up a meeting of equals

  1. Equality feels right.
  2. Any member can change the path any time. If participants are knowledgeable and experienced in using moderation tools, they can suggest appropriate tools, like One-Point-System, query by acclamation, mind mapping or topic memory.
  3. It is easy – no need to prepare the process and can be set up in no time.

Meeting Tip
Use unmoderated meetings only with small participant numbers (2-4). They work best with result-oriented, meeting experienced, well prepared and conscientious team members. Best for creative and open-ended meetings (“Let´s just pick our brains”).

There are also several pitfalls of setting up a meeting of equals

  1. Participants tend to talk over each other so ideas get lost
  2. People are interrupting each other
  3. Speaking times might differ widely because “John” really likes himself talking which leads to just a few using up all the speaking time
  4. “Sally” abstains from sharing her good ideas
  5. Ideas are repeated several times 
  6. Meeting Rules are continuously broken
  7. Nobody bothers summarizing interim or final results, so that plenty of meetings end with no clear outcome

Moderated Meeting

Your team enjoys quite a few advantages by having your meeting actively moderated

  1. Have one person (the “moderator”) responsible for bringing the process forward, not only his own arguments
  2. Improve the group dynamics by having a dedicated “rule enforcer”
  3. Have the moderator structure the talking session with clear instructions given
  4. Have somebody actively inviting “feeble” or “disinterested” participants and their ideas out
  5.  Have a dedicated person to summarize, structure, break and bring the process forward

Meeting Tip
Be sure to appoint somebody to lead and structure a meeting if the discussion points are controversial or heated. Also make sure there is a moderator if you are expecting less results-oriented or unprepared participants.
It is also recommendable to have somebody moderate (in the truest sense of the word) if participants face big disparities in experience and/or agreeableness.
Best method for result-oriented, time sensitive meetings of any size (“Let´s not waste time nor miss out on good ideas”).

If you are moderating, put the objective of the meeting down in writing. If you are a team member yourself and have vested interest in a specific outcome, pass the buck. You can´t win that one.

Buch Der Meistermoderator

Presseartikel “Der schnellste Weg zum Meistermoderator”

Book Discovery Call

You are negotiating all day, every day

Man and woman negotiating

Covid 19 & Home office: Whether you are aware of it or not, you negotiate all day

The longer Covid-19 forces us to work from home, the more obvious it might become that online & offline, in the house and outside, you better be prepared to negotiate well if you don´t want to risk a sudden explosion. You can put of negotiations only so long before people they explode right in your face.

People are often amazed when they learn how often they are negotiating without realizing it (see biggest mistakes in negotiations). This in itself doesn´t constitute any disadvantage, after all, people do all sorts of things without being fully aware what they are doing is actually called.

However, not recognizing when you are negotiating is a big disadvantage for two reasons:

  1. You are making your life more difficult than it needs be:
    If you don´t understand what game you are playing (the negotiation game!) you won´t be able to use it´s rules to your advantage and are often left out feeling dumbfounded by unexpected turns. When the whole family might be bound to stay together for an increased time you should face and negotiate conflicting needs to avoid catastrophe.
  2. You are not balancing interests and thus risk relationships breaking down:
    Understanding and using negotiation strategies & tactics makes achieving your aim, but also the aims of people around you, so much easier. You not only can convince people, but might want to do so investing much less energy and taking into consideration their options. That might start with “simple” (yet not easy) communication skills like listening skills

So, when are you negotiating?

“A negotiation is an interaction in order to influence the behavior of at least one other person, whereby different interests are reconciled and brought about in the developing process. This definition shows that the term can be widely applied. In other words: We often negotiate without conscious realization. The side discussion in the company kitchen to arrange who buys coffee when is a negotiation, just like the phone conversation with your partner to decide on the evening’s entertainment.

Definition taken from Master Negotiator, page 20

This is much less complicated that is looks like:

Whenever diverging interests need to arrive at a common conclusion, whether it be sales prices, a holiday venue or a company takeover, people have to be influenced in order to push interests through. To clarify, this does not mean to the detriment of the other side nor suggest unconscious influence.”

Negotiating without realizing it

Anything you might want somebody else to do which you can´t force them to, will become a negotiation, if they won´t anyway do it. The key is the phrase “diverging interests”.

  • Want your Mum to cook lunch later than she has planned?
    You´re in a NEGOTIATION
  • Want your kid to stop watching TV without screaming?
    You´re in a NEGOTIATION
  • Want your spouse to bring down the trash more often? NEGOTIATION
    You´re in a NEGOTIATION
  • Want to get the fresh bunch of parsley from the market stand, not the old one?
    You´re in a NEGOTIATION

I could continue the list… basically every time the other side has a free will to not grant your wish, you will have to somehow interact with them to get your way. If you can´t order, force or otherwise just make them do like you wish (luckily that´s not readily possible), you will likely need to start a negotiation.

This means, all the rules of negotiation come into play, like preparation, strategic planning, communication skills etc. Knowing and applying them might save you a lot of energy and bring about your goals when working and living with other people.

If you want me to quickly help you use lead better negotiations, no matter the topic, let´s have a call

Want to read more on negotiation, conflict resolution and moderation?

Do you want me to (online) moderate your meeting or discussion?

How one can learn negotiating?

Reaching your negotiation objectives

The Master Negotiator Bestseller Amin Talab

Setting, understanding and pursuing a goal:
1 of the 6 essential strengths of the Master Negotiator

His unconditional orientation towards his own, but also his partner’s objectives, is one of the main success factors for the Master Negotiator (this article is an excerpt from the book “The Master Negotiator”).

By neglecting his own objectives, he will hardly achieve them. Ignoring opposing objectives will leave his negotiation partner little reason to come to an agreement.

Preparing well also means being aware of one´s own aims and the partner’s presumed objectives and interests by asking very specific questions:

  • What do I really want?
  • How much of this do I really have to achieve?
  • Which parts could I abandon the easiest?
  • Why do I want exactly that outcome?
  • What personal, organizational and other interests are involved?

Already, by briefly considering possible principles, character of the negotiation partner and viability of expectations, a lot of time and effort will be saved later on.

However, the most important homework is specifying one’s objective. You must be very clear on what you really need to exit the negotiation with. When formulating objectives, one has to be clear about its main tasks:

  •     The objective determines the journey
  •     Time efficiency
  •     Offers can only be rated by reference to objectives
  •     The aim legitimizes the negotiation process
  •     Competency requirements become clear
  •     Clarity of objectives fosters the creation of options

It is useful to formulate a rather limited negotiation objective and build in “alarms bells” that force you to stop the negotiation and reconsider your situation, given certain outcomes. But be careful. If you limit yourself too much, you might find it hard to develop creative solutions with the little development space left.

achieved completely

all major parts



not acceptable



Goal Setting and Attainment

As an “negotiation joker” – advisor and “ghost negotiator“, it is my task in preparations to come up with ideas and analyse strategies. Sometimes, time is rather limited and I only meet negotiators on the day of the negotiation round.

After getting a first overview of the strategy, I generally like to put forward a very simple question: “What is the specific aim of this upcoming round?” It is startling that in 7 out of 10 cases, I do not get a satisfactory answer, but something along the lines of “I want to get out of this as much as I can” or “I am not sure what I can abandon. I want to see first what the other side is offering.” Naturally, problems are bound to happen.

If one does not know what port one is steering for, no wind is favorable to him.

Lucius A. Seneca, 5 BC- AD 65

Even if objectives were set initially, one sometimes loses sight of them in arduous, lengthy proceedings. However, objectives determine the success of the negotiation. The negotiation is not meant to be an end in itself; working on objectives is the central element in the preparation.

At first sight, flexibility in the negotiation and the consideration of the negotiation partner´s wishes seem to contradict the attainment of one´s goals. Often, this contradiction can be solved by uncovering the hidden interests behind the stated positions.[1] In order to stay flexible, it is crucial to know one´s own interests and motivation and be able to prioritize.

An experiment proves the dependence of the outcome on the formulation of the objective[2]:

In a classic buy-sell transaction, the negotiators were given a specific objective. Reaching that objective meant being able to continue and go to a “bonus round”.

The first group was given the objective of $2.10 to continue. The second group was given $6.10 as the objective to be able to continue. Both groups were given the same minimum price (walk-away point) and both groups thought the objective was realistically achievable. Why else would there be a bonus round?

A look into the results is most revealing: The group with the higher qualification objection achieved an average of $ 6.25 whereas the second group only bargained for an average $ 3.35! The sales price was doubled with identical conditions apart from the given objectives!

[1] For the distinction see above Interest: the lighthouse in the negotiation

[2] Sydney SIEGEL and Lawrence FOURAKER “The Effect of Level of Aspiration on Differential Payoff“

Chess, Strategy & Silence

Kineke Mulder conducted this interview for Chess unlimited*

What brings the “Master Negotiator” to playing chess?

As Keynote Speaker and Consultant my main tool is the spoken language. For a change, I enjoy interaction without having to talk. Ideally, this is considered polite when playing chess.

Strategic dialogue without spoken words is exciting and leads to be in the very moment. I can focus on the position on the board and be with my myself and my thoughts, contrary to my professional responsibilty, where I always do have to have the interests of my participants and the development of the group process at the top of my mind.

Are there other reasons for favoring chess as much as you do?

The chess game offers lots of advantages for travelling professions: I can take it with me to seminar or congress venues anywhere in the world easily. It also is easy to find chess partners, as you don´t need to find somebody with a particular mindset or even talk the same language.

Playing chess also is a time for me absent of the responsibility for other peoples´ success. In contrast to being asked for my expert opinion in my Negotiation Jokers and trainings, it doesn´t matter who is the expert and who is student. Playing chess sometimes you learn, sometimes your opponent, or, in the best case, both from each other.

Amin from Wien in front of his books

To your last tournament in Vienna you brought your children with you?

Yes. My twin daughters got interested in chess from age 6, to my delight! It activates the brain and fosters skills like anticipating enemy moves and thinking strategically. My girls are in general pretty curious, ask lots of questions, also philosophical and cultural ones.

You just started an intercultural project together?

In my opinion, animating young minds to think critically and independently is of utmost importance. This is particularly true, when you take the current societal and political development of pitting groups against each other, migration and the search for meaning for so many people into account. These are all topics that have a lot to do with negotiation in a more extensive sense, of being and dealing with each other, of balancing interests to reach your goals.

With this in mind we started a special project on intercultural tolerance: Together with other families and their kids we will create the book The Little FreeThinker, with images and texts coming from “little, free, open minds”. We are in the Crowdfunding phase right now and hope to find enough support to print a colorful example for crosscultural team work, and maybe even fund a website on the topic.

Find more on the project here:

Our intercultural Book Project Video (5 minutes)

Thank you for the invitation and our conversation!

My pleasure. Good luck for you also as freelancer negotiation and selling your services, as well as with Chess Unlimited. You create a lot of pleasure by organizing very intercultural chess meetings in Vienna.

*The original was posted on

“THE MASTER NEGOTIATOR” Book review of Mr. Arno Baltin from Estonia

Preivew Meisterlibräjka

Each now and then people reach out to tell me that one of my books has been reviewed in their country. I really appreciate it, since it is not easy for my small team to keep up with developments in all the different places.

This time Arno Baltin from Estonia let me know about his book review in the Estonian journal “director”. Thank you and I don´t understand a word, but it looks nice:

Preivew Meisterlibräjka
Review Meisterläbirääkija

Please find more reviews (in English & German) here

The book itself can be found here

How To Best Improve You Negotiation Skills?

Amin Stop Sparring

Important Points To Consider When Starting Out to Improving Your Negotiating Skills

So you have decided you could profit a lot by focusing on your negotiation skills. And you are right! Whether in relationships with clients, your spouse or your boss: you can lose a lot by doing it wrong.

But how should you do it? Getting a book and read through it certainly is a good start, but what about applying? Should you hire a Coach as Negotation Joker to give you feedback and support? Or join a small and short group seminar, like the one-day Sparring or even shorter online format like AMA? Or would we recommend to continue in-house training courses like the Master Negotiator Curriculum or the Sparring Club?

The success of negotiation training, including communication, body language, conviction, negotiation or rhetoric is particularly sensitive to the way it is being taught, since the priority is not accessing and keeping knowledge, as with IT, process or compliance courses. The priority is not only knowing, but doing, i.e changing behavior and reactions in specific situations.

20+ years of experience have taught us that learning and reproducing behavior is depending mainly on the following factors:

    Basically, you need to do it yourself to learn it. Especially if the most effective way (to stress a word, or sit, or keep eye-contact, build an argument etc) seems awkward at first, you need to repeat it, so it becomes and feels natural to.
    I know, it´s not “sexy”, but repeating your new learned skill is essential to making it second nature.
    Go and practice situations you have had, might have or would likely face in your life. There is no point practicing “hostage negotiations” if you want clients to become long-term fans of yours.
    Make sure you do get sufficient feedback from a plethora of people, and a professional who is not afraid to “put his finger in the wound”. It might be great to be told you should stay like your are, but this won´t help you improve.

Actually, one can easily discern parallels with physical (muscle) training.

The Secrets Behind Effective Negotiation Training

The effect and sustainability of negotiation training, and in fact of any kind of behavioral training, is mainly determined by the layout of the learning journey and its repetition and follow-upTragically, this is often neglected when embarking on the learning journey.

Short but regularly

We´ve experienced that it is more effective to train shorter and more frequently, at least after an initial kick-off seminar (which should last no longer than 3 days). It also helps to use different methods (books, audio, cases, presentations, stories, video etc.), spreading them over a longer period of time.

This is the reason why we prefer working with a model called “blended learning“. This means that our seminars are structured in a way that preparation material can be watched and studied already before meeting the first time. Clarifying objectives and interests with the trainer before the seminar starts does not only save costly time at the meeting venue. Also, the learning effect is higher since more focus and time can be put into evaluating what works and what doesn´t. Formats like the AMA – Ask Me Anything should be employed heavily to achieve this effect. The advantage of repetition is that the neuronal paths can be extended and strengthened.

Small group size

limited participant number allows to train relevant individual cases and to optimize them. It also guarantees there is time to allow for several repetitions of behavioral sequences that want to be learned. Ideally, these can be trained with differently participants and changing focus. Not only does this allow activity and looking into different negotiation types, but also increases the motivation to succeed in the face of obstacles.

Clear call for preparation

Unfortunately, this part is often neglected. Of course, the actual preparation you should be asked for depends on the specific training objective.

Let us turn to a practical example of our portfolio, the preparation we are recommending for our Negotiation Sparring:

Individual preparation time for 60-90 minutes not only secures familiarity with the topic and procedure. Also, the own negotiation case can be structured and thought through.

  1. Clarifying and creating awareness for the training – using a short explanatory video (2:13)
  2. Looking through preparatory papers explaining the process step by step .
  3. Recommendations to flick through our Newsletter Negotiation Insider and getting a feel for negotiation theory.

Regular invitations to rehearse and strengthen

Even the best training will be forgotten, if not regularly brought back, remembered and done.

For that reason, it should be safeguarded even before starting the training, that there are plenty of ways to continue and repeat thereafter. That can be done by a variety of measures, e.g. the Negotiation Joker or AMA Sessions. On top of that, there should be case based training, which should be repeated regularly, at least once a year.

How do I start to learn negotiating?

If you would enjoy improving your negotiation skills and you are tired of leaving money on the table but would like to improve your negotiation relationships, check out our negotiation books and Negotiation Sparring. We are happy to admit curious, new Sparrers to our Club.

What Our Participants Say

  • Simeon Hagmüller, Bac. Simeon Hagmüller, Bac. GVS Bullion Group

    The Sparring with Amin was very instructive and the time just flew by. The atmosphere was enjoyable and relaxed and we could focus in on the practice. I learned a lot, not only, but also from the failings of the other participants. Amin showed us different walkthroughs, which we also trained. Refreshingly, he always stayed realistic and also pointed out limits of negotiations - I really like that. All in all I recommend Sparring to everyone, who is willing to work on himself. I only wish we would have had more time together.

    Read more
  • Mag. Bernd Allmer Mag. Bernd Allmer Helvetia Versicherungen AG
    Das war ein wirklich außergewöhnliches Training und hat viel gebracht und auch noch Spaß gemacht. Auch die kleine Gruppengröße ist ideal fürs Sparring.

    Learn more
  • Dr. Eike Lindinger Dr. Eike Lindinger Rechtsanwalt
    Das Verhandlungssparring ist aufgrund der beschränkten Teilnehmerzahl und der unterschiedlichsten mit rhetorischem Leben auszufüllenden Sachverhalte eine sehr gute Gelegenheit, in sein wichtigstes Werkzeug – die Sprache und damit Kommunikation – zu investieren. [...] Das situative Zerhacken eines Gespräches sowie laufend neue Ansätze mit anderer Wortwahl wird von Ihnen hervorragend vorgezeigt, ebenso, wie durch geschickte Wortwahl bzw. das Weglassen von „Ballast“ von einer Defensivposition ausgehend, ein offensiver Schlagabtausch gelingt - und natürlich auch umgekehrt, sodass die Stunden wie im Flug vergangen sind. Gerade die direkte Ansprache/Analyse im Sinne der Schwächen / der Stärken in so kurzer Zeit ist unheimlich wertvoll.

    Learn more

Reserve your  Sparring Spot here.

Little electronic helpers to pursuing long-term negotiation goals

How “Apps” like Nach, ToDoIst or Lifetick can help you reaching your negotiation goals!

Setting and reaching goals is paramount to negotiation success. I´ve been giving tips to setting goals (SMART-system) before and talked about efficiency vs. effectiveness here. After all, it is my objective to help clarify and structure goals as Negotiation Joker.

Setting goals is one thing, however, and pursuing them quite another, given daily distractions, time limits and over-boarding projects.

Apps and their reminders might help. Therefore I´ve been looking for and comparing different software/apps that might support your effort to reach your goals.

Software is here to support you

The way you want to use the software is quite essential and might differ considerably from person to person. I take into account my personal preferences, but also my clients´ criteria (time-sensitive people in stressful industries, as apposed to tech-geeks).

    I need to be inspired by the software, or in other words “get a kick out of using it”. Some of the software makes you want to use it. It gives you satisfaction to “tick off” yet another item or understand how much time you use of certain projects as compared to others.

    In order to work not only efficiently, but effectively, it is impertinent to be able to follow a top-down approach, i.e. define core values or top goals first and then drill down to To-do´s.

    I need to see top goals without all tasks attached. That helps identifying and seeing if I pursue the right goals. Combined with 6) that can really help allocating time on important rather than pressing objectives.

    After all the goal setting on special occasions, it is yet important to easily access tasks or a daily to-do list. After all, when you are in the middle of working through your schedule, you need a clear picture on what you should do.

    The software needs to be able to be very flexible on given schedules, since some tasks happen only certain weekdays, or every other day, or even any 2 days/week

    be able to track and compare time spend on different goals

    I want the software not only to support me in building habits or ticking off tasks, but to help me start dreaming and put down dreams in the app to remind me of the big picture. There is no point, doing everything right, if you are not doing the right things.

    be able to use it as Journal

The contenders

I have to admit that it took me nearly a month to even come to the finalists in this list. Lots of other programs, like, ToDoIst, GoalSpace, Milestone Planner didn´t make it there because they lacked some of the requirements right away or felt clumsy to deal with.

Asana was the program I had been using for business tasks so far, but I wasn´t satisfied using it for more general objectives in life or negotiations.

The four finalists were Nach, Goals on Track, Lifetick and Strides. They were very close, and I wasn´t sure until the very last days which one I would choose for myself.

Outcome: the winner is…

1 point = unsatisfactory
2 points = ok
3 points = the way I want it


1 – Nach:

I tried Nach for over a year.

The program is really well structured and has the most helpful “To-Do-List” of all the programs I looked at. You can not only see your tasks for today and easily tick them of (careful, you might get addicted!), but also overdue tasks (helpful to catch up!) and, really helpful: Habits.

It is also possible to play around and set goals in a specific goal section. Not as rewarding as in Lifetick, but still helpful.

Nach goalsetting screenshot


Also, I really enjoy being able to see the history quickly (how often did I go to the gym this week), but also add comments to dates/tasks and lead a Journal.


Nach History screenshot


It also is is the summary of “little things” that convinced me. It is just a really thought-through experience with the best balance between functionality and analytical capability.

You can, e.g. add links to your tasks. So if you want to look at, say, specific data for an argument, or an exercise for work-out, just add the link and it will show up with the task reminder.

If you happen to work over midnight, there is a lovely reminder that you should refresh the page and it will give you the new To-do list.

Really useful are the trackers as well, since you can also compare where you are in relation to where you want to go (e.g. reading books/year) or contacting clients as compared to forecast.

All in all I was using Nach every single day and it helped me not only to stay focused on what needed to be done, but also to analyze the big picture and see if I am working on the right things and how I progress. However, it takes a lot of time to maintain and keeping everything up do date. For the long run and using it every single day, it just turned out to be too complex for me.

2 – Lifetick:

I fell in love with Lifetick the first time I found out you can fill in “core values” and seeing what the program would make out of it. Lifeick is a beauty not only flattering your eyes, but inspiring your whole brain to visualize core beliefs, dreams and goals. It would be the winner hands-down if you were to visualize your dreams and big goals.

Lifetick goals screenshot

However, it is not so easy to work with Lifetick on a day-to-day basis:

It is not easy to tick off tasks. While with Nach you do one click, you need to click on the task and then wait for it to open and click yet another time on the task and third time on “complete instance” and close it again to mark it as done. The whole experience with the To-Do list was inferior and just too cumbersome to use it regularly. This is the reason I couldn´t go for it, even though I loved the feel of the whole program.

Also (at the moment, but help was promised by the developers) it is impossible to mark a task to be due on certain weekdays only, or every other day. For me, this was a no-go.

The Journal and tracking functions are pretty good, once you get the hang of it.

Lifetick is also the only program that let´s you add clients and work with them on their goals. That alone could be a feature worthwile pursuing, I will keep that in the back of my mind also.

3 – Goals on Track

GoT has many things going for it. It has the top-down approach, a good journal function and all the rest of it.

But there is one big disadvantage: it is too complicated and simply not much fun. I have to admit that I might not have tried long enough. There is no free trial, but you will get your money back within 30 days (and that worked out fine with me), so you should try this one out.

Also, the founder Harry is sending lots of interesting information on goals setting in his newsletter, so it might be worth you while looking into that one as well.

4 – Strides:

Strides is the most practical of them all. As “To-Do-List” and tracker it has a lot going for it.

It is easy to handle, and what a great idea to to cluster trackers together with goals.

The main back draw is the lack of any hierarchy in goal-setting, so you can´t really use it to define your core goals and break them down. For habits and reminders on To-dos it would be perfect.

Switching to Android this is no longer an option for me, as it is not available!


Of course, that was only my little test here, and I am happy to learn and recommend other programs, if they meet my criteria. What was your experience?

Why do so many companies choose to get ahead with Amin Talab as their dedicated Negotiation Consultant?

What is Amin Talab´s Unique Selling Proposition (USP) about? Find out in this short presentation, or as some would call it: Elevator Pitch (What is an Elevator Pitch?)

How does a Negotiation Consultant help people improve their negotiation results?  Find that information in the About us section here

Learning by making mistakes

Striving to improving your negotiation skills can be a humbling enterprise. When designing the Master Negotiator Curriculum, I ensured participants learn by mastering different objectives in negotiation cases, i.e. role-play simulations.

I am choosing these cases specifically to expose inconsistencies in argumentation, option seeking or strategy, such as the tendency to be overconfident or to assume that they are in a zero-sum-game.

Delegates (and people in general) tend to feel threatened when they discover that they have been making bad decisions because their intuition was flawed. If they see these mistakes as a personal deficiency, they sometimes start making excuses, blaming the very case and setting for being unrealistic or even unfair. They feel “tricked”.

In order to grow negotiation skills, however, changing sub-optimal behavior presupposes feeling uncomfortable with some aspects of a specific action.

Otherwise, why should you even change (it)? This is the reason I reserve quite a bit of time in the beginning of any training to explaining the importance of giving and receiving feedback. It is essential and making mistakes a prerequisite to learning.

Feedback like “you were pretty good, stay like you are” is simply not enough. It is impertinent to be able to name the specific action that should be changed, and how. Only then can the participant choose freely whether they want to try a new line of action.

In negotiations, sometimes you win,
and sometimes you learn.

Brain research has firmly shown that negotiators are susceptible to judgment biases and perception traps like the “Primacy” or “Halo” effect (see Master Negotiator p108). These shape our decisions in negotiations unconsciously.

Once you allow yourself that awkward feeling of making mistakes, you’ll be in a much better position to change patterns that help you improve your negotiations relationships, options and outcomes.

So before going into your next negotiation, make sure you win either way: getting your objective, or learning what you could do better next time.

Tip: Don´t waste your mistakes. I am here to help preparing you for your negotiation and spotting your learning experience as your Negotiation Joker.

Negotiation Sparring Center

It was a relaxing and uplifting Opening celebration of our new Sparring Center (how to get here). We were enjoying each others company, stories, and having lental soup, tea and ice-cream together. Our doors are now open for the next Sparring Rounds

Sparring, Workshops or Online-Joker – don´t wait any longer to get the support & results you deserve.

See the 500 books in the background? Awesome!

The Name is program: People are really communicating here

Our smallest fans even signed with a heart (see glass chart in the background)

Thanks to one of our SparringClub Pro members, who happens to also be a superb photographer, Dr. Georg Krismanic, we are able to offer you views from around the whole Sparring and Coaching Center here:

Want to see our seminar room in 3 D – Just walk in here

Want to see our coaching room in 3 D – Just walk in here

Are you dealing with people? Give them hope and have a future.

Like most of my clients I am working in the “knowledge industry”. No matter if you are a legal, financial, pharmaceutical, sales or other expert: Ultimately you deal with the transfer, activation and/or implementation of your knowledge to help your clients better achieve their objectives, just like I do with my keynotes and training.

So I figured I should share a few ideas from attending the #KnowledgeSummit here in Dubai, UAE. They made me think about my role as Negotiation Counselor again.

“It´s said that you can survive for 40 days without food, you can survive eight days without water, you can survive for eight minutes without air, but you cannot survive for one second without hope. Education is about hope” stated Gordon Brown.

I totally support that. When giving keynotes, It still strikes me every time how important the element of hope is, and how thankful the audience for it, independent of the content.

Sure enough, not only negotiations break down without hope, but so do most interpersonal relationships. As many of you know, I am very heavily leaning on the concept of “trust” in my workshops. I guess i will have a closer look at “hope” (for a better outcome, relationship, or what it might be) from now on.

Knowledge Summit Dubai

Interestingly, Brown mentions this also in a context that has been occupying all of us: “Even in the most hopeless of situations, we can create hope […] When it comes to the refugee problem in this region, where young people are without hope, we have got to give them that hope by making sure that they have education”.

Couldn´t agree more. And let me add that education might also help with another group that gives reason for grave concern: Young people that are not sure what to do with their lives, some of which end up finding interest in fundamentalist ideologies, whatever their name, color or shade.

I love the thought that I should be able to create hope in my area.

Maybe you like it, too. Let us make it the starting point to make this place a better one.

Efficiency Interview


Interview conducted and originally posted by Syngroup on 17.3.2015


With the right objectives in mind. And these are often derived from our own aims in life. Just negotiating well or efficiently is hardly going to bring me happiness in life. I first need to reflect on what I actually want. What kind of benefit do I derive from taking the supplier to the cleaners and bankrupting him?


Negotiating efficiently means sounding out where I can create added value at no cost to me. Negotiating effectively means setting yourself the right objectives and pursuing them in the negotiation process. When someone pushes past me in the checkout queue at a supermarket, I can either negotiate or simply do nothing. But I do need to know beforehand whether it is worth it for me. Do I have to be in the right, as otherwise I’ll lose face? Then perhaps it’s not worth the effort. If I can turn round and soon forget all about it, it is of no consequence.


Yes. Because the things that make us what we are – creativity, belief, hope, happiness or luck – are not efficient. This means that negotiations do have some kind of hybrid structure. They are not just about contents, but also about relationships.


Exactly. Efficiency is, after all, a very mechanical attribute. If however you happen to have a trusting relationship between two parties, people or groups, the actual content is often not a particular problem. It’s like in a marriage. If the two people in a marriage understand one another, the question of whether the face cloth should be on the left or the toothbrush on the right is no longer an unsolvable issue.


These two aspects can’t be separated. Only if I am prepared to negotiate am I capable of negotiating. Lots of people tend to think that you always have to be hard when negotiating. That’s completely wrong. You have to strive for both sides to come out with something. Of course it’s a spectacular sight to see someone bang on the table and say: “Take it or leave it, Baby.” Everyone then thinks this is how to negotiate. But this is only one minute in a month-long process. I would like all of us to learn to negotiate better. And to actually properly negotiate. And not be afraid of facing up to things.

DR. STEFAN AMIN TALAB, LL.M. is a coach in negotiating, author of the bestseller
The Master Negotiator and director of the He is a qualified economist and lawyer, developer of the sought-after Negotiation Sparring and is active throughout the world as a “ghost negotiator” and key note speaker.

Best of negotiation: Q&A

If you had the opportunity to ask any question on the topic of negotiation, which questions would you ask?

These were the choices of a group of Bulgarian top-performers in the financial sector:

The best negotiation strategy…

…takes into consideration ones´ goals, but also the interest of both parties, the relative strengths of the negotiation partner, the human needs of influencers and deciders not present at the negotiation table, the expectation effect for future encounters and the relationship level, among a heap of other factors.

When negotiating in a culturally diverse world …

…one has to negotiate the basic understanding first, i.e. what do negotiation partners expect from the process and how do they want to come to a decision. This is inherently more difficult than staying in one´s own culture, since communication clues on all levels (body language, intonation) as well as deeply rooted beliefs (power and thus decision structure, risk averseness, implicitness) have to be taken into account.

To give a very simple example: In one of the last negotiations with an Indian counterpart my client was very disturbed by the fact that woman in question shook her head whenever he argued something. For him, it was like a constant rebuttal. “She is not even listening to my arguments!” was the message my client was getting.

Only after a short recess and my explanation that in that part of India shaking one´s head was equivalent to nodding in France and meant “Yes, I understand, go on…” was he open to concentrate on the issues again.

Negotiations are (not) …

Since we enter negotiations every time we want others to do, think or believe something different then they would without our influence negotiation are all about the art of reaching goals and wielding influence on others. Hence, negotiations are as complex as human interaction can be.

Is there an “unique” negotiation strategy, independent on the different cultural backgrounds…

There are “unique” expressions of feelings that are the same in all cultures, e.g. happiness (corners of the mouth up), sadness (corners of the mouth down), disgust (nose wrinkles), but that is about all that is common.

Since negotiation partners pursue different goals, value different principles and go about differently when achieving objectives, an optimal strategy has to adapt to the situation and the people involved. It certainly helps to know many different strategies and I have developed a “Master strategy” in my book “The Master Negotiator”. However, it involves elements of different strategies and becomes effective by changing the strategy each time to fit the intricacies of the negotiation.

Your vivid  example for a challenging and successful situation in negotiations…

I´ve experienced that people find it most challenging and difficult to either negotiate with family (e.g. on how to organize the transfer of a business from one generation to the next), on their own behalf like selling your time and asking for honorary fees (see my German report) or when they want to achieve the objective so badly that they don´t really mind the cost (e.g. they want the job no matter what).

All these situations are challenging, but can be overcome with the focus on the right points and dedication to put time and thought into it. Good negotiators consistently try to enhance their understanding of the process and analyze what works and what can be improved. You can also do this by following my blog here

Some time ago I accompanied a client who faced the situation that he had charged different prices for the same product in different national markets mainly due to diverging purchasing power. When (corporate) purchasers started to organize and exchange information they found out that one (poorer) client had received the product at considerable lower costs. The situation was very difficult and while some buyers did accept the differences and explanation, other insisted to demand the lowest price for themselves.

After several rounds of negotiations we reached a stand-off. It was considered impossible by everyone that we could solve the situation since the poorest buyer would not pay more and contributed a decisive revenue. We decided to do what no one thought thinkable and what never had been done before: the product was pulled out of the cheapest market. The revenue fell, but the argumentative basis for our opponents was demolished. In the short-term my client had to sacrifice considerable revenue, but after not too long the margins worked out and showed in the profit and share price.

Sometimes you can´t budge difficult decisions and you have to take the risk. But as they say: no risk – no gain (and also no fun, of course).

In order to develop our negotiation skills… 

you should have a look through the different negotiation theories, work on your options and communication as well as argumentation and listening skills and, in general, identify the 6 core strengths mirrored in the blocks of the Master Negotiator Curriculum.

There is a complimentary video available on those strengths here (middle of the page).

To really play in the top-league plan and take the time (minimum 1 day per year) to actively train and and get intensive feedback from professionals as well as people that you don´t know and won´t see again. I developed a format for exactly with the 1/2 day Negotiation Sparring.

If possible, also get a Ghost Negotiator who reviews difficult situations with you and helps you develop into a Master Negotiator.

Negotiation lessons you can learn from your cat

As workshop participant or blog reader you know what I am referring to when speaking about the “shark”, the “bear” or the “cat” as negotiation types. The readers of my bestselling “Master Negotiator” even have a drawing in their book:

Master Negotiator Cat

My Master Negotiator Assuad

All the characteristics of this negotiation type and how to handle him are described there.

Today I want to share with you some final thoughts regarding my inspiration for the type “cat” and one of my personal “Master Negotiators”, my real cat Assuad. By his behavior he (a tomcat, and I can´t bring myself to say “it”) gave me ideas and the possibility to observe from first hand experience how to obtain pretty much everything you want and still become your best friend. So it seems only fair enough to honor him now he has gone from me for good.

As Master Negotiator he sure got a good deal out of life. I mean, he did get good food (and ever more of it), had a warm house and was sheltered and cared for every moment in his life. As companion of a writer and expert doing a lot of reading and research at his home office he enjoyed every new idea for my new books and articles, every new exercise for a workshop first. Many a thought that people would later applaud to in my speeches had he helped develop by his mere presence and listening skills. Cat owners among will confirm that he really was listening, just pretending to be sleeping at my table, which you could verify by his sudden comments and the fact that would have no qualms leaving at once if my performance was too long, monotone or otherwise not exciting enough (not bound by any idea of politeness).

There was a lot to negotiate, from the amount and the times of food over who would be allowed to sleep at what place to how long I could stay out of the house without having him complain bitterly on my return. As particularly difficult I remember the negotiations over who I should rather play with and pay attention to, my children or him. Of course he solved it like a Master in the end as he would sit on the most interesting peace of action so everyone would play with him.

He was perfect in ensuring he would never be perceived as an adversary to anyone (ok, there were times when he woke me up 4 in the morning to prepare food which came close to hating him, but was made up for by sitting  next to the food bowl enjoying a still moment together in the dark).

Regarding give & take I admit I did buy and pay his food, medicine, cat litter, toys and various treats and other things with nothing material coming in return. Still, he gave me something much more valuable: his love, his understanding, his time, warmth and affection. Many people seem to think that (negotiation) relationships are about the exchange of physical, material things only. This is the Zeitgeist and might sometimes make sense for short term relationships (e.g. buying a house).

The real Master Negotiator Cat

However, negotiation relationships are also a way of relating and bonding with each other, opportunities to share our understanding of this world, this temporary universe for all of us. Understanding negotiations this way would make it so much easier to learn from each other and closing negotiations not only with a practical result, but with the warm feeling inside we sometimes are allowed to take away from a good open chat or a conflict solved respectfully . Equally, a negotiation partner who will be ready to sharing your success and failure as a partner, as compared to winning at your cost, is what you should be looking for in life.

What I will be missing so much is my cats capacity to share my joy and excitement as well as my sadness and bad times. Assuad would be there with me and share those feelings, thereby doubling my joy and splitting my sadness. After all, we are social animals and sometimes seem to have lost that basic quality in life. It is not about the end (which always will be death, for all of us), but the way to get there.

I will never have the chance to negotiate anything with you again, Assuad, my personal Master Negotiator. But I will remember you and the lessons you allowed me to learn from you. Always.

Rest in peace, my beloved cat. I will miss you and our daily negotiations terribly.

How to negotiate with terrorists from other cultures

medienberichte-kripoonlineEspecially in reference to recent developments around Syria and the Middle East, we are bombarded with questions about the international events and caveats in negotiations with intercultural context.

The following interview published by the magazine Kriminalpolizei (Criminal Investigation Department – CID) provides some answers on this complex issue:


CID: What is the difference between negotiations in business and hostage negotiations involving the police – it is the fact that the police has less time to prepare for a negotiation partner?

Dr. Stefan Amin Talab: This need not be the case. Recently, the police overpowered a man in Australia after thorough preparation. The perpetrator was known throughout the city and had taken hostages in a supermarket. The police knew the man could not be calmed down from his intense emotional state by means of negotiations only. He would only respond to a massive police operation. The police staged a completely exaggerated showing – surrounded him with hundreds of black masked men while police helicopters were circling. They made clear the hopelessness of the situation to the delinquent. He surrendered promptly.

In this case the police has had an essential piece of information, exploited that, adjusted and acted exactly right.

A major difference – in respect to its impact on the negotiations – is that the police are always under the eyes of the public and will be closely monitored. This raises the difficulty level. When a company representative behaves awkwardly in sales negotiations the public will learn nothing about it – especially not during the time of negotiations. The police have an audience already during the negotiation process.

If, for example, the excessive use of police resources in Australia is not explained concomitantly, the police gets a massive problem.

CID: What do you assess to be the most difficult thing to hostage negotiations?

Talab: The unpredictability. These are always situations that permit no standard recipe. Therefore, it is important for the police that they will be given the necessary space and reliance.

CID: In your opinion, what are the most important qualities needed by a negotiator?

Talab: Josh Weiss, a negotiation trainer of the NYPD once put it aptly: In the selection of his staff, he explicitly did not care if someone could talk – he paid particular attention to the fact if someone could listen. This is probably the most important quality: to listen and adapt to your opponent, recognize his fears and compulsions and to know how he thinks and may act.

Secondly: Negotiators are no lone fighters, they are necessarily team players. This is related to the first point. A single warrior can hardly adjust to others. A team player must listen. To give an example, it must not disturb the chief negotiator to bring coffee to a busy colleague.

CID: Do you believe an Austrian unrelated to the Palestinian World could negotiate with a Palestinian terrorist?

Talab: Never. I myself am half Syrian half Austrian and therefore know the differences in thinking. It would not make sense, for example, to allow a female police officer to negotiate with a Palestinian terrorist.

This is already quite impossible given the different languages.

The American movie “The Negotiator” is about a criminal case with a negotiation situation. In one scene, one of the protagonists in the German translation says: “You must listen to me now.” In German this really means “you’re not listening to me.”

I watched the DVD at this point in the English version, and it really says “I need you listening to me”. This is much softer than “You must listen to me.”

We know from school that literal translations – no matter what language – usually go wrong. In an emotionally tense situation, as it is a hostage negotiation, this can be fatal.

CID: What would you advise the police in such a case?

Talab: In hostage negotiations with people from other cultures they should necessarily employ somebody from the same cultural environment or at least has lived very long in it.

As someone who has half Syrian roots I know, for example, that I touch somebody emotionally by talking about his father. An Austrian hostage take might say “I do not care what my father thinks of me”. For a Syrian this would have a completely different dimension, as a father has a very different status.

CID: You write in your book negotiators should always consider alternative outcomes. What alternatives does the police have – except the unconditional surrender of a hostage-taker?

Talab: In the end she has no alternative – but at the path to the goal, there are always a number of forks in the road. For example you can try to free sick or old people first. You may possibly offer a reduction in the criminal charge – as a concession in the negotiations.

CID: Are there “negotiation tricks” that could apply the police also ?

Talab: Of course there are. But they are not as striking as many would wish, and they are always situational. Think of the case in Australia: Another hostage-taker might have started to shoot hostages if the police would be deployed in such a contingent form.

It’s like running : As a principle you can recommend to breathe deeply in a marathon. But that does not apply to the final sprint or for an overtaking maneuver. Similarly, one can recommend for negotiations to build trust as a general principle. But that does not apply to each and every negotiator. For a given type, it may be more effective to position yourself clearly as the sovereign.


Master Negotiator #1 Bestseller

I am stunned and happy that my Master Negotiator book is featuring #1 in the Category Negotiation Books at Now two of our Masterbooks are in the pole positions #1 and #2. The second place is held by our (German) book Meistermediator.

Ipad Screenshot

Negotiation tactics taken from Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965), British politician and Premier for the UK from 1940-1945 and 1951-55 and nobel price laureate 1953, is said to have been a Master of a very specific negotiation technique.

A deadly mixture between fait accompli (establishing and presenting circumstances that can´t be changed unilaterally by the negotiation partner) and salami tactics are employed to extract small concessions, that are expanded in the course of further negotiations.

This tactic is based on a universally valid strategy of persuasion: The inherent need for consistency of each human being, the wish to bring order and harmony into ones perceptions, beliefs and actions.

Put into action, it works like this:

Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?
Lady: My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose so, generally speaking.
Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?
Lady: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!
Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.


Anniversary Hungarian office

5 years ago … we decided to open a small office in Hungary to express our long-lasting interest in the CEE area and business with all the countries from Poland over Russia to Turkey.

It has also become a place to turn to in order to rethink strategies and personal development for leaders who need a break from their day-to-day grinding problem solving activities. After all, how often do you take 1-2 full days away from pretty much everything and engage a Coach to help you proactively structure and plan for your own future and the future of your organization?

Invitation: To celebrate our presence in 9200 Mosonmayaróvár, Magyar utca 19/1 we are having a reception with some drinks and breadrolls on June, 15th, 2013 in the late afternoon. If you are interested to see our premises or just have a chat with us, drop us an e-mail and come by. We love to hear from you!

Coaching facilities


If you don´t find time that particular day but would like to know what we can offer with Executive Coaching or Ghost Negotiating or Negotiation Sparring, simply contact us anytime. We´ll find a convenient time and place.

Squeezing Out Interests of a Recalcitrant Negotiator

You might have experienced the situation: 

You are finding yourself talking to a negotiation partner who you have had no chance to establish a trusting relationship with just yet. And, let´s face it, sometimes you never will get that chance. So, coming forward with open questions does not seem to get you anywhere close to where you want to go. You are finding yourself asking them questions like “What is it in my offer you like most?” only to have them ask you back “And what is the best offer you can make me?

No matter how you seem to phrase your question, they don´t seem to come out with any useful information for you.

What is the actual problem here? 

Well, if little or no trust has been established with a negotiation partner, it might be difficult finding out any interests. In fact, this is rather the rule than the exception. And for this reason, I recommend you focus on the relationship and building trust at least in the beginning of the relationship. But let´s say it is to late now for that to happen. You counterpart is being rather nasty with you.

The biggest mistake you can do!

Of course you could just proceed with your argumentation, your product highlights and your offer. However, if you do have no clue about the needs and intentions of the other side, it is a matter of pure luck to hit the right spot if you offer now. So even if it might seem tempting to take a shortcut here and just put together a package with a “convincing” argument (which most people including your competitors do), I strongly advise you to hold back and exercise a little more patience. DO NOT present your best arguments just yet.

So, what can you do?

You do have 2 good alternatives here:

Option 1: Try the indirect track.

Since asking “why” does not produce any good answer, try asking “why not doing/assuming/trying this and that”. To the above mentioned counter question “And what is the best offer you can make me? you should propose one specific offer. Often they want to hear just a number, any number, and are not ready to go into details yet. But make sure they know about your (bad, but not catastrophic) assumptions and thus your option.  Then ask “What would be wrong with assuming/doing it this way?”

Example: You are consulting on company retirement schemes, but no useful information is forthcoming apart from the official data like number of employees. 

Say: “OK, you are telling me you want to introduce a scheme in your company and want a quick rough estimate for my best offer? [short break, wait for a nod, “yes” or such].
I take you want to include all 800 employees from day one, also the ones that  might only stay for a short time. I also assume you are not interested in a bonus scheme to motivate dedicated people to stay with your company. I also guess you need the plan right away and don´t have time for us to outline you the specific tax saving options we´ve hammered out with tax advisories and that could save you up to an extra 30 per cent [this first part has to be said very fast, don´t give him any time, but look up now and see if he is ready to correct you, if not, go on]
…well, to give you a quick ballpark number, that would cost you up to XYZ. However, I might be wrong in some of my assumptions here…? (Stress as question and resist the temptation to speak on!)

Option 2: Find out how much he likes to criticize (you)
Many people are reluctant to disclose their concerns for fear to become the target of criticism themselves. (It is less likely to be criticized if you keep information to yourself). So the trick is to get your counterpart´s criticism out, and the information you need along with it.
Example: You are in an internal budget negotiation and face every increasing conference, training and client duties but are supposed to keep travelling costs the same. You try to find a possibility to negotiation this, so you need background information. Ask “We do have to attend two more conferences, i.e. 25% more next year than we had to last year. What would be so wrong about increasing the budget for travelling to conferences also for 25%. Sounds reasonable, doesn´t it?

He might let you know “This is impossible also because we just invested a fortune in our new conference and congress system. The board will demand to know why we establish costly IT in several subsidiaries only to find out that travelling expenses continue to rise!
Bingo: You just established where his interests lie: He is concerned about pressure from the board and having to justify his decision to establish a conference call system. Now you know what to work on: Finding arguments that address these concerns.


Why Amin Talab is the right person to choose…

You hear clients coming forward with many reasons for choosing Amin Talab to support them with their negotiations.

However, the most straight forward one is this: He delivers and improves their negotiation output.

Because operating in a globalized world shows them one truth: It is not sufficient to understand your own culture and negotiation practice. You better know the pitfalls and tricks used on the international level. It is helpful to understand and compare different approaches and ways of thinking.

That´s where Amin Talab´s knowledge and background proves very useful..

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