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Negotiation Terminology50 Definitions You Should Know

If you’re preparing for negotiation it’s important to be prepared. This list contains negotiation terminology and definitions you should know. Actually, you could even use this list as a mental checklist to make sure you’re fully prepared.

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Let’s get started with our negotiation terminology.

Negotiation terminology

1. Acting as a Principle

Negotiators who act as principles represent their own interests. If they are negotiating as part of a team, they may include agenda items that represent their interests alone.

2. Anchoring and Adjustment

An opening position, from which a negotiator incrementally moves away (gains or losses) during a negotiation. The choice of an anchor may be based on faulty or incomplete information, and can potentially be misleading.

3. Agenda

A plan for how a negotiation will progress.

4. Aspiration Point

Optimal settlement point that a negotiator hopes to achieve.

5. Avoidance negotiation

A negotiation style where you completely ignore the entire negotiation.

6. Bargain

To discuss the conditions of the agreement.

7. Bargaining Zone

The gap between the respective resistance points of each party.

8. BATNA (Best Alternative To a No Agreement)

This is your back-up plan.

9. Bottom Line

The most significant factor.

10. Buy-in

To influence the other party to agree.

11. Calibrated questions

These are questions to calibrate the thinking of the other party.


To meet the other party halfway.

13. Concession

To give into something to reach an agreement.

14. Concluding

To have a recap of the main points you have agreed or disagreed upon.

15. Consistency Principle

The need to appear consistent in beliefs, feelings, and behaviors, not only to others but to ourselves, too.

16. Counter Proposal

An alternative solution is when there is an agreement on the one that is already presented.

17. Distributive Negotiation

A negotiation technique and/or type that seeks to gain at the opponent’s loss. Any situation in which one person’s gain is exactly equal to the opponent’s loss is considered distributive. Haggling over $100 is an example of distributive negotiation.

18. Deadlock

The point of no agreement. Simply put, the point of the discussion is a dead end.

19. Dyadic Negotiation

A negotiation between two persons, as opposed to negotiations in which more parties are involved.

20. Dynamic Silence

To use silence as a tool to let each skill sink in and give the other party the opportunity to respond.

21. Haggling Strategy

Haggling is an approach to bargaining relentlessly for the purpose of getting more or giving less without concern for the relationship.

22. Highball

To ask for a lot more than you think the other party will agree to offer you.

23. Integrative negotiation

A negotiation style characterized by the intention of a win-win for both parties.

24. Label

It is the verbal observation of the emotion displayed in the negotiation.

25. Leading Questions

These are questions designed to generate only one possible answer.

26. Leverage

This is something that gives you power in a negotiation.

27. Limited Authority

A negotiating gambit whereby a negotiator says he cannot make a decision and must resort to a higher authority.

28. Linkage Effect

When one deal point of a negotiation is attached to another.

29. Lowball

You offer less than what you think is acceptable.

30. MDO

It is a short term for the most desired outcome. It is usually called the ideal situation.

31. Mirror

A communication technique where you repeat the last three to five words or a portion of what the other party has just said.

32. Negotiating Gambit

A strategy in negotiating that should be avoided because it damages relationships.

33. Negotiating Roles

Different people in a negotiating team can have different roles such as primary negotiator, Kinetic and paralanguage expert, etc.

34. No-oriented questions

These are questions that are designed to draw out “no’ as an answer from the other party.

35. Non-verbal cues

Body language gives away how a person is feeling and what s/he is thinking. This is closely related to kinesics.

36. Offer

To provide a term or condition for an agreement you are willing to be bound to.

37. Package

An offer that has many elements.

38. Paralanguage

Variations in speech — pitch, loudness, tempo, tone, duration, laughing, crying —how things are said.

39. Position

Statement of what a person/party wants in a negotiation.

40. Reach a Consensus

To agree on a matter that you first disagreed upon.

41. Reciprocity Principle

Occurs when a negotiating party feels obligated to return in kind what the other side has offered or given them. This principle might result in one side making a concession because the other side has done the same.

42. Reservation Value

For sellers, this is the minimum amount they are prepared to accept. On the other hand, it is the maximum amount that a buyer is prepared or able to pay.

43. Resistance Point (RP)

The point beyond which a person/party will not go. The lower limit of the range of acceptable negotiation outcomes.

44. RFX

It is the process of using formal requests for proposals, information, and price quotes.

45. Summary

The synopsis of the negotiation.

46. Tactics

These are measures taken to turn a negotiation to your advantage.

47. Ultimatum

A threat of no agreement. Commonly expressed as “take it or leave it.”

48. Walk-out

This is a situation where a party leaves the negotiating table and refuses to return.

49. Winner’s Curse

Occurs when your aspiration point is too low. You accept a deal and wonder whether your opponent would have given you a better deal had you been more persistent.

50. Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA)

This is the range of reservation values between each party in the negotiation. Also, It is the overlap area in which a party is willing to pay.

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