Is Trump a Good Negotiator?

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Negotiations play a large role in politics. Currently, President Donald Trump is one of the most polarizing political figures on the planet. Whether you love him or hate him, we can learn a lot from his negotiations. In order to improve our negotiation skill sets, we need to look at the underlying nature of his skills, regardless of our political views.

In a recent episode of Negotiations Ninja, Marty Latz, author of The Real Trump Deal: An Eye-Opening Look at How He Really Negotiates, joins me to discuss how President Trump negotiates. Marty explains first and foremost, that financial success doesn’t necessarily equate to negotiation brilliance. The Harvard Program on Negotiation assessed a number of brilliant negotiators – shockingly none of them are multimillionaires. Instead, they have been responsible for ending some of the world’s most difficult crises, and include negotiators like George Mitchell, who negotiated the end of the Northern Ireland conflict.

There are alternative metrics and standards that are used to objectively evaluate how well people negotiate. Instead of looking at the money they make, it is necessary to ask the questions, ‘Do they understand leverage? Do they design effective offer concession strategies?’

On of Latz’s Golden Rules of negotiation is information is power, so get it. As negotiators, we need to set our goals, understand our interests, and understand the other side’s interests. All of these concepts seem simple; however, we often make decisions without having the power of information.

I believe informed decision-making is an essential tenant of negotiation. Within a negotiation, you need to quickly think on your feet; it is crucial you have made intentional and well-thought-out decisions before entering the room.

We also need to evaluate and brainstorm to find options that satisfy our interests. Lastly, we need to do a bit of strategic homework and do our due diligence.

In the case of President Trump, he maximizes his leverage in every negotiation he enters. Marty believes there are two elements in this negotiation equation: how much leverage you need and how desperate you are to get the deal done.

When assessing these two factors, it is essential to ask yourself, “How aggressive should I be when I make the first offer? Should I go back and forth? Should I bet against myself?’ These are very important strategic and tactical decisions we need to make when entering a negotiation.

These questions should always be at the forefront of your mind throughout a negotiation. It is vital to continuously adapt to the setting and tone of the room yet hold on to your objective and conviction.

There’s an unlimited number of variables in any negotiation. Even though we can formulate various strategies in advance, there are no guarantees. All we can do is plan as best as possible.

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