I once had a boss, who often used the phrase ‘fair and reasonable’ when discussing a negotiation. Any deal should be judged by whether it met these criteria for all parties. I like this approach.
The best book I’ve read about negotiating technique is ‘Getting to Yes’ from the Harvard Negotiation Project. Like all things business, it produced a couple of line extensions, but the original is enough.
The book teaches the reader to focus on interests and not positions. Of course negotiations are difficult even if you do this, but it helps a lot.
When combined with the techniques in another 1990s favourite of mine, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, negotiations become more enjoyable. I always like ‘seek first to understand before being understood’. Easy to say, hard to do if you know you are right!!!