The Optimal Negotiator: For Serious Deal Makers Only

The Optimal Negotiator: For Serious Deal Makers Only

Arguably the one skill leaders must master is the ability to get others to agree with them. In any undertaking of significance, whether personal or professional, knowing how to get adversaries to accept your point of view while seeing themselves as winners is crucial to your success and the prosperity of the enterprise you lead. Nor can you ever expect to ascend the corporate ladder without a solid understanding of fundamental negotiating principles and nuances or the ability to emulate those who consistently optimize deals.

Negotiating is a delicate mix of art and science, of style and substance. It prizes intuition as highly as intellect, common sense as much as the hard numbers. It requires emotional detachment, an understanding of the critical importance of process and a high aspiration level. Many understand the “how to” intellectually but few are entirely comfortable in their ability to consistently “optimize” deals. It’s a game of power, real as well as imagined. While some play the game masterfully, others only dimly understand it.

This comprehensive advanced program is the creation of Dr. Jim Murray who has been researching, teaching and practicing this time-honored craft for more than five decades. Tens of thousands from all walks of life and callings have benefitted from his street-savvy insights, acclaimed expertise and personal experiences in virtually every conceivable negotiating arena.

Jim’s accomplishments at the bargaining table run the gamut from commercial transactions and collective bargaining to corporate acquisitions and international diplomacy, from training hostage negotiators and professional mediators to mentoring CEOs, from counseling big-league sports organizations to advising parents on the art of dealing with troublesome teens. He has authored three best-selling books on negotiating and has been nationally recognized for “innovation and excellence in lifelong learning.”

This intensive, practical and highly interactive learning experience is now available in an online format. The program has a limited enrollment and typically sells out early – don’t miss your opportunity.


The target audience remains those who are dead serious about developing their skills beyond mere competence. You’ll confront questions about the process you’ve never thought about before. Yet they’re the ones every negotiator must know how to answer. Otherwise, you’ll lose more often than you win. How would you honestly assess your capabilities? If you aspire to mastery, this executive program was designed with YOU in mind.


The best promotion we can think of is direct word-of-mouth testimonials from those who have already attended this life-altering executive development program. Here is what recent participants (with titles noted) had to say about their learning experience with Dr. Jim:

  • Confirmed my suspicion that I leave far too much on the table and settle much too quickly.  – VP
  • Provided a framework for me to recognize ‘subtle’ negotiating situations. – V.P.
  • The course will have a solid positive financial impact on my business and positive satisfaction impact for my clients. – VP
  • I will send other members of my senior management team to this program. – President
  • Gave me greater confidence to approach future business transactions, whether in the workplace or in challenging retail scenarios. – CFO
  • I wish I had taken this program 30 years ago. The torrent of information, savvy insights and real stories told me how I can get whatever I want.   – Consultant/Coach
  • Gave me the knowledge needed to build my power and be a better negotiator. – Sr. VP
  • Opened my eyes to my weaknesses and reminded me that everything is negotiable. – Sr. Manager
  • This course is similar to going golfing with a world class pro – you can’t play golf as well as him but you do discover where your “game” is. – CFO
  • You made me acutely aware of the hundreds of dynamics and intricacies that affect me every day and your astute packaging of all of them was a stimulating intellectual exercise. – CFO
  • You helped me realize I am not a bad negotiator – with your theories and methods, I can now release what’s inside me. – Product Manager
  • Provided me with invaluable insights into the behavioural changes I need to work on going forward to improve my life both at home and in the office. – Director
  • Dispelled the myths about negotiating and helped me to better understand ‘the art of the possible.’ – Sr. VP
  • Jim taught me more about negotiating in three days than I learned in three years at law school. – Corporate Litigator


This executive development program addresses the role, skills and attributes of optimal negotiators in a practical, insightful manner. Upon completion, you will be much better prepared to:

  • Enter into any negotiation with greater comfort, confidence and competence;
  • Remain focused on achieving your objectives regardless of the pressures or challenges;
  • Project a powerful, credible and controlled presence at the bargaining table;
  • Engage others in co-operative problem solving aimed at mutual profit improvement;
  • Not become the unwitting victim of the tactics and emotional ploys used by others;
  • Utilize savvy advice and insights to enhance your communications in cross-cultural encounters;
  • Embrace negotiating as an attitude and critical life skill that will result in greater happiness, prosperity and success, however defined;
  • Satisfy your personal, professional and organizational needs, change attitudes, improve relationships and influence the decisions that can potentially influence your lifestyle and your future.
  • In addition to two Pre-course Workbooks and a 100 page instructional manual of Supplemental Notes, you will receive a copy copies of the instructor’s best-selling book on bargaining principles and tactics The Optimal Negotiator: A Companion for Serious Deal Makers.


❏  Introduction: Objectives, methods, structure, caveats and roles. Generic life skills. The shoe store.

❏  The Framework for Optimal Outcomes
Dissecting the Puzzle. Negotiating facts and fictions. Why we think we negotiate and why we actually do. What you can’t be taught but must know. Ethics in negotiating. Distinguishing content from process. Core negotiator needs. The ‘magic’ of negotiating: A framework for success. Making losers feel like winners. Needs that drive the numbers. Disguise and discovery: How to find out what they don’t want to tell you. Deciphering “last and final” offers. The first principle of optimal negotiating. The six key discovery questions.

❏  Tactic Recognition and Response
The spectrum of styles. Classic Win/Lose maneuvers. Reasonable vs. realistic openings. The power of properly framed numbers. Conveying a strong bargaining posture. How to increase your aspiration level. Responding to unreasonable demands. Emotional ploys and consequences. Anatomy of a tactic. Evaluating tactics. The six principles guiding tactic selection. Counterintuitive tactics. When Win/Lose tactics work. Dealing with overly aggressive, controlling and pathologically difficult adversaries. The fundamentals and essential element of Win/Win. Creating opponents of choice.

❏  The Process: Simplified, Explained and Illustrated
Conflict resolution skill sets. Stages, ingredients and rituals. The #1 error negotiators make. How to organize, set objectives, develop bargaining chips, deal with blind spots and distinguish essentials from expendables. Inventory of preparation tools. Social amenities and agenda setting. Discovery: Questions people never think to ask. Determining who cares about what. How to open: Framing, priming and anchoring. Discovery: Getting them to open up. What to say when you don’t know what to say. How to respond to difficult openings. Achieving alignment and rapport. Presenting proposals for impact. Recognizing intentional and unintended signals. How to package. Bargaining maneuvers. When to deadlock and how to break impasse. Closing: how and when.

❏  Behavioural Patterns and Cross-cultural Differences
Gender differences: Negotiating strengths, weaknesses and tendencies. Dissecting and typecasting cultural differences. Understanding trust across ethnic lines. Building negotiator profiles for competitive advantage. Negotiating globally: do’s & don’ts. The weaknesses of Canadian negotiators. Tactical insights on negotiating with Asians, Brazilians, Arabs, Americans, and others. Translating personality types and behavioural styles for tactical advantage. A negotiator typology. Networking opportunity.

❏  Essential Communication Skills
The 90:10 principles of negotiating. Questioning: How to acquire sensitive information. Trurning a no into a yes: Phrasing to induce the desired response. How to listen (differently) to get what you need to know. The power of non-directive listening. Translation, mirroring and hypnosis. Reflection and deflection skills. Deciphering hidden meanings. Understanding and using non-verbal cues. Negotiating in a virtual world. How to detect outright lies and deception. Negotiating with liars. Alternatives to lying. How successful interrogators work. Disagreeing, persuading and selling. The hardest thing to say that brings the greatest rewards. Altering your communication ratios to get what you need.

❏  Principles of Time and Timing
Why people say NO. The six meanings of NO. The informative NO. How time affects a negotiation: When to ask for what you really want. Distinguishing event from process. Dealing with the 11th hour and deadlines. Handling resistance and objections. Artful phrasing when time matters. How to say no when you have no alternative. Networking Opportunity.

❏  Human Behaviour & Neurobiology
The difference between price and value. Perception-reaction dynamic: getting others to do your bidding. Negative and positive interaction cycles. Establishing rapport through neurolinguistic programming. Overcoming perceptual barriers. Masking, ego defense and role playing. Relevant negotiator biases. Mechanisms of self-control. Functions and dysfunctions of conflict. Reading the signals of escalating conflict. Engineering a climate conducive to achieving your objectives.

❏  Power: Understanding Leverage
Myths and fallacies about power. Leverage: rational presence and psychological influence. Managing the power equation. Dealing with overwhelming power. Power audits: Diagnosing the power of others. How people give up the power they have. The downside of power as a style. The art of compromise. How accountants deal with conflict. Negotiating Win/Win outcomes with the powerless. How to increase your power and when to decrease it. Testing the power of legitimacy. Hard vs. soft power.

❏  Becoming an Inventive Negotiator
How to change the shape of any deal. The symbiotic relationship between price and terms. Leveraging the terms as buyer or seller. Loss aversion and reducing buyer remorse. Negotiating the future. Applying the problem-solving mode to break impasse. Dealing with job offers to get more. Assessing tactical responses. How to make seemingly impossible deals. What to say when you get the job. Beyond creativity: avoiding the pitfalls and barriers.

❏  Working and Negotiating in Teams
When to use a team: Strengths, limitations and caveats. Caveats: What you need to be wary of in managing a team. Determining appropriate and optimal team size, roles and responsibilities. Tracking progress. Networking Opportunity.

❏  From Negotiator to Mediator
Resolving values and behavioural conflicts. The primary barriers. Negotiating issues vs. beliefs. Antidotes. To mediate or not? The role, attributes and objectives of mediation. Essential elements for achieving success. The process from beginning to end. Dimensions of conflict. The three levels of tactics. Bad assumptions. Final Q&A.

❏  Becoming an Optimal Negotiator
The difference between theory and reality. When NOT to negotiate. Essentials of a good strategy. Things you should never do. The one skill needed to succeed. Attributes that define optimal negotiators. Critical proficiencies and thinking skills. Why negotiators succeed and why they fail. The conceptual framework: revisited and summarized. The final exam. Achieving mastery – where to from here?