The Open Door Technique

If you are in deadlock or find yourselves 'stuck' on a particular issue in a negotiation, one of the most useful techniques is, "Just suppose…"

This allows you to look through the door to see what lies beyond without committing yourselves. Good negotiators do not close doors. They may need them later on in the negotiation. "Let’s say for the sake of argument"…."What if that were a possibility?"

This approach allows you to test the other party’s flexibility. "Just suppose we were able to be flexible on issue 'A', could you be flexible on issue 'B'?" If a solution is not forthcoming, recognise the other party’s willingness to be flexible and commit to using the approach the next time you need a creative solution to break an impasse in your negotiation.

5 Agenda Points for Preparation

  1. Information

Analyse the power balance - incentives and sanctions. What do they want from us? What may they wish to avoid? What do we want from them? What is it that they could do to us that we wish to avoid?

What information do we need to share in order to structure their expectations about our desired outcome?

What questions do we need to ask to understand what they want to achieve?

  1. Objectives

What are our 'main issues' for negotiation? What is our 'intend' (realistic and optimistic) position on each? Do we have any 'must achieves' in our 'main issues'? If so, what are they? Have we stress-tested our 'must achieves' and are they really 'must achieves'?

  1. Strategy

How will we plan to achieve our objectives? What are our plans 'B' and 'C' if plan 'A' does not work?

  1. Wishlist

What variables can we trade into the deal if it is reached too easily or if we are pushed from our 'intend' positions?

  1. Concessions

What variables would we be willing to concede or be flexible on?

Presenting a Multi-pointed Claim

A multi-pointed claim is when you are dealing with multiple variables. When presenting a multi-pointed claim to another party, it is more productive to tackle each variable individually and seek a response on each. This is the negotiating equivalent of eating an elephant one bite at a time.It would usually be much more difficult to seek agreement on all the variables at once.

Advancing Negotiation Skills Part 2

If you'd like to reinforce, fine-tune and refresh your negotiation expertise, this intensive two-day course will provide that opportunity. Practice five live negotiating cases which recreate everyday business situations and thus develop your skills further. Deep-dive into techniques and strategies to supplement your negotiation toolkit. And measure the return on investment that negotiation pays to your business. With a participant-to-tutor ratio of just 6:1 you will receive one-on-one guidance from our hands-on negotiation coaches.

This course is for people who have completed the Advancing Negotiation Skills Course and want to further enhance their negotiation abilities.

Courses are available as a one company course (in-house) or in the public format. Call us for more information on bespoke training for your organisation.

The public course fee is $3,790+GST per place. If you book and pay 8 weeks from the course date you receive the 'Early Bird' rate which provides a 10% discount ($3,415+GST).

The next available courses are:

17-18 May - Sydney

30-31 Aug - Melbourne


Our Open enrolment negotiation courses attract people of all levels of experience, industry, job function and skill. This diversity helps you to learn from each other as well as our expert negotiation training coaches. To improve your own negotiation skills or reserve places, sign up now.

One-Company Courses

Our One-company courses are built entirely around you and your business. You enjoy an exclusive teaching environment and pre-agreed course content shaped to match your needs exactly. Reserve up to 12 places per course for you and your colleagues.

"I can honestly say this is the best course I have ever been on. The cost of the course was quickly recuperated from employing the negotiation techniques I had been taught and achieving very impressive results."

Colin Moore
Head of Global Order Management - Mothercare

The Scotwork Experience

Comments from Scotwork Participants

Tutors Perspective

Annabel Shorter - Senior Consultant at Scotwork


Sign up for a Scotwork open negotiation course and become a stronger negotiator. Join our expert negotiation skills tutors and a mix of participants from diverse backgrounds. Get a taste of real-world negotiation in live, interactive workshops. Check out our next open negotiating course.

Find our next open negotiating skills course...

Course Start date End Date Location Sign up
ANS 22/09/2020 24/09/2020 BRISBANE
ANS 29/09/2020 1/10/2020 SYDNEY
ANS 12/10/2020 16/10/2020 ONLINE
ANS 26/10/2020 30/10/2020 ONLINE
ANS 10/11/2020 12/11/2020 ADELAIDE
ANS 17/11/2020 19/11/2020 BRISBANE

Latest Blog:

Be Specific With What You Want

You are out for a drink and the bartender asks you – “What would you like?” to which you reply “Guess!”. “Alright then” he says, “How about a red wine?”. You shake your head to this and say “No, that’s not what I want. Guess again.” After much back and forth, the bartender is justifiably irritated and through gritted teeth he tells you “I have other customers I need to serve, you look like someone who would enjoy a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc so I’ll pour you one of those. Enjoy your night.” This is a silly analogy to what I observe every week in most negotiations. Often there is a lack of specific disclosure as to what it is that the party wants or they take a long time to bring this information forward...

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