We are all negotiators. Negotiation is a process of joint decision makingin which people with different preferred outcomes interact in order to resolve their differences. It can be an explicit process when, for example, we bargain with a supplier over the price of a component, seek to establish a new rate for a job with
a group of workers, or argue for an increased budget with our boss. However, it can also be an implicit process through which the nature of our relationships with others is determined. We all have many demands on our time, so if a colleague calls for assistance we have to weigh the costs and benefits of helping out.
Failure to help the colleague to achieve her desired outcome might provoke her to reappraise her priorities and offer us less assistance in the future when we seek help. Generous support, on the other hand, might cement an alliance that could be mutually beneficial. Much of the give-and-take of everyday life represents a process of negotiation. Some people are better negotiators than others and, consequently, are more successful in terms of achieving their desired outcomes. 

Negotiation is not necessarily a win—lose process: that is, it need not involve one party seeking to improve its lot at the expense of the other. Often negotiation can be a win—win process, through which an agreement can be reached that helps both parties to achieve their preferred outcomes. This chapter aims to help you develop a better understanding of the process of negotiation and will consider collaborative as well as competitive strategies. It will also help you to identify the skills you need if you are to become a more successful negotiator.

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