Improve Your Negotiation Skills NOW



By Mahmoud Desouky

Doha, Qatar

Turn your beliefs inside out

Consider yourself to be a hostage negotiator. The kidnapper demanded 10 million dollars and a car for escaping with 10 hostages. Do you believe the “win-win situation” OR “let’s split the difference” technique applies here? Of course, you will not say “take only $5 million and 5 hostages”. You will instead demand that he leave the hostages unharmed and surrender.

When do we negotiate?

Negotiation occurs everywhere there is a desire. I want you to accept the $1 million USD offer, give me a discount on this shirt, give me a raise, or even go to bed.

Why are some of us afraid of negotiating?

Before Negotiation, people feel the Adrenaline surge, fear of the unknown, or fear of leaving the group (which is part of our evolution).

To relax, remember that negotiation is not forcing your opponent to do something he does not want. Your opponent is not stupid. We will simply give him what we believe to be a FAIR price.

I was negotiating a price with a vendor, and he kept saying his minimum price was 1500 QAR. I listened and used the tactics you’ll learn today, and we ended up with a fair price of 806 QAR (from 1500 to 806). He did not lose; he simply earned a fair price.

Where should you concentrate your efforts during a negotiation?

During negotiations, we don’t focus on “what he needs”. Instead, we concentrate on “why he requires it”.

Inside our skulls are two brains: a slow rational one for logic and a quick irrational one for emotional thinking.

Imagine you’re moving in a mall and come across a nice suite. Immediately, your irrational brain made the decision to buy, and your rational brain started making excuses to justify the purchase, such as it’s a good bargain, it’s good for business,…etc. (Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking Fast and Slow).

Use your opponent’s hidden fears and desires, and keep in mind that humans are a collection of various emotions that drive them.


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Editor’s note: This article is based on a presentation by the author at the 2022 Project Management South African (PMSA) Annual Conference in November 2022.  Article coordinated by PMSA, who approved its publication in the PMWJ.

How to cite this article: Desouky, M. (2023).  Improve Your Negotiation Skills NOW, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue III, March. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/pmwj127-Mar2023-Desouky-improve-your-negotiation-skills-NOW.pdf

About the Author

Mahmoud Desouky

Doha, Qatar


 Mahmoud Mohamed Hassan Desouky is Assistant Resident Engineer at KEO International Consultants in Doha, Qatar, leading the Mechanical/Electrical team with addressing client concerns, managing contractor’s claims, reviewing contractual concerns, etc. He has managed multiple projects while running his own business from 2010 till 2014. He has also worked in managing different projects in Qatar (both luxurious and Industrial). He holds a B Sc. in Engineering from Benha University in Egypt and holds a PMP (project management professional) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI).  He is a Chartered Engineer (in Mechanical Engineering, leadership and management) from Engineers Australia.

Mahmoud can be contacted at Mahmoud.h.desouky@gmail.com or on LinkedIn