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The 5 Best Negotiators in the Business

Tyler Hall

If you’ve ever tried to negotiate something – a corporate merger, a commercial conflict, a new salary or even a family dispute – you’ll know there’s an art to resolution and an art to influencing an outcome that satisfies both sides.

The truth is, no one’s born a brilliant negotiator. Right? We all learn to negotiate as we grow and we all engage in negotiation training and education to try and make ourselves better mediators and better “solution influencers.”

In one of our recent training sessions, one of the participants asked a great question –Who are the best negotiators in the business? Who should we listen to and learn from?

It’s been tough to narrow it down to a list of 5, but below, I’ve put together an overview of the top 5 negotiators who I feel stand out in the world of negotiation and mediation:  



Areas of Expertise:International negotiations, Asia Pacific investments, risk management, mitigation, governance & advisory and East-West negotiations. 

As the Director of Australia Resources Consortium, Esther Oh is a woman who knows how to negotiate – not only across different business areas, but across entire sectors, locales and even continents.

After developing an incredible career in the mining and resources sector, Esther took her expertise into the areas of international commercial negotiations and governance/advisory, with the goal of connecting businesses across the Asia Pacific and fueling strong, successful negotiations for all.

Esther’s extensive experience in the Asia Pacific is what makes her stand out in my eyes, as does her ability to understand and encapsulate business negotiating for what it really is: an ongoing, two-way street where both parties walk away with something valuable. 


Learn More About Esther:

Twitter: 58k+ followers Follow Esther Here

Cool Factor:  She was a judge at the International Business Awards in 2011 & 2012.

Wise Words: “In negotiations, focus on the benefit, even when the underlying purpose of the message is in your favour.”







Areas of Expertise:  Information Technology Lawyer, Negotiator, Programmer, Business Mentor, Investor

Having negotiated multi-million dollar disputes whilst being a computer buff and computer programmer, Philip Argy is one of the most unique negotiators on the list. After all, there aren’t many whose skills have afforded them a government security clearance in order to assist cases involving classified information.

Having graduated in both law and commerce, Philip has gone on to take part in a huge range of cases and negotiations, including franchising, patent law, food and drug regulation, and trademark litigation. It is his work within tech, however, which has led to many calling him one of the best information technology lawyers in the world.

Philip currently has a place at the WIPO panel of neutrals, and is the founder and director of the Technology Dispute Centre, whilst also being an experienced angel investor and business mentor.

Learn More About Philip:


Twitter: 1k+ followers Follow Philip Here

Cool Factor: Was voted in the 50 most influential people involved in information technology in Australia.

Wise Words:  “Start with family, friends and fools until concept proven to point where angels will be interested.”





Areas of Expertise: Career negotiations, salary negotiations, business negotiations, customer/supplier negotiations, negotiation training and American law.

Victoria Pynchon is truly a one of a kind of negotiator. With a background in literature and law and a career in mediation and arbitration, you can imagine the creativity and hard-bargaining attitude she brings to the negotiating field.

Her specialty involves working with individuals to help them negotiate new jobs/roles, higher salaries and compensation packages and improved career relationships all round.

She also works with businesses to ‘design deals’ and negotiate various affairs, from partnerships and joint ventures to shareholder, client and supplier agreements and even employment agreements.

What I also admire about Victoria is that she’s an avid blogger and writer. She contributes regularly to Forbes Magazine, and posts career wisdom on her own Tumblr site, Short Attention Advice for the Short Attention Spanned.Victoria works out of Los Angeles, USA.

Learn More About Victoria:

Twitter: 11k+ followers Follow Vickie Here

Cool Factor: She wrote a book titled A is for Asshole, the Grownups' ABCs of Conflict Resolution (I love it!). 

Wise Words:  “Your bargaining partner has his or her own set of needs, fears, desires, preferences, priorities, hidden stakeholders and constraints …  [frame] your requests as good for those interests.”





Areas of Expertise: Alternative conflict resolution,dispute resolution, arbitration, life coaching and conflict prevention. 

If you’ve got a no-holds-barred conflict or disagreement that you need to settle, Bob O’Connor is your guy. He’s also a business coach, a leadership coach, a life and wellness coach and an all-round business and personal trainer and negotiator.

Bob’s strong background in law and Alternative Dispute Resolution in the UK led him to pursue his passion for conflict navigation and to found both the private practice,Conflict Resolution Specialists, and the Institute for Conflict Resolution.

In addition to this, Bob resides in Asheville and also serves as a mediator for the North Carolina Superior Court.

Learn More About Bob: or

Twitter: 10k+ followers Follow Bob Here

Cool Factor:  He calls himself an “innerpreneur” and holds a Master of Divinity from Yale. 

Wise Words: “Imagine yourself as an earthen cup. Now see the chips and cracks that life has wrought, and imagine each of them repaired, filled in and honored with solid gold.”





Areas of Expertise: Commercial negotiations, international conflict resolution, negotiation education and training, TED speaking. 

When you’re the co-founder of theHarvard Program of Negotiationand also a Distinguished Fellow of the Harvard Negotiation Project, it’s hard to keep low profile.

Over the years, William Ury has become known as one of the biggest and best negotiators and mediators in the world. He has stepped into settle all kinds of feuds, from disputes between corporate conglomerates to international conflicts in the Middle East and other areas around the globe.

Needless to say, he’s been seen around at the White House a fair bit and he offers his expertise and training to a huge range of professionals, including business executives, business leaders, military officers and corporate organisations.

His books include (and I recommend reading one or more): “Getting to Yes”, “The Power of a Positive No” and “Getting Past No.” He also spends much time presenting talks on

Learn More About William:

Videos: 1million+ views Watch William Speak

Cool Factor:  He assisted both the US and Soviet governments in the 1980s to implement nuclear crisis centres.

Wise Words: “Every negotiation is different, but the basic elements do not change.” 





Whether you agree with the choices or not, these 5 negotiators are undeniably excellent examples of what can be achieved when you combine talent, experience, and creativity. Between them, they have handled everything from socio-political crises to patent suits, and have each blazed their own individual trail through the worlds of commerce, government, and law.

Whether you’re a negotiator yourself, or applying the principles to any other endeavour, there is something in the experience of each of these people to inspire and educate.


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