THE ART OF NEGOTIATION - GovTech Accelerator
Lightning Lab GovTech


Effective negotiation can make or break a new venture; it can help you attract new customers or turn them away. Learning the Art of Negotiation is an invaluable asset for everyone looking to do business, and it can give funders and entrepreneurs the jump start they need to succeed.

Stuart Van Rij, Head Coach for the Asia Pacific region with Camp Negotiation Institute, has worked with Lightning Lab GovTech teams over a series of two workshops to help them unleash their inner negotiator.

Are you ready to become a pro negotiator?  Here are four steps to get you started.


1# Nurture, nurture, nurture! 

All successful negotiations start with one simple step: the realization that each person we engage with wants one fundamental thing – to be heard. Learn to listen to your counterpart, understand what’s their drive and what they are hoping to achieve, and you’ll be unstoppable.

This is where the principle of nurturing comes into play. Nurturing your rapport with your counterpart catapults you into their world, it helps you engage with them on a deeper level and it brings down any barriers present in the conversation. When you step into the other person’s shoes, you can understand their reality, address their concerns and make them disappear.

Practice your “Active Listening” techniques: simple behaviours such as eye contact, encouragement and paraphrasing are all effective strategies to show the other side that you are present and fully concentrating on what is being said.


2# Ask more questions and access new layers of discovery 

There are many tricks & tips that you can start employing today to improve your negotiation technique and achieve a better level of engagement.

3 +’ing is one of the most effective technique you can test straight away. This is the act of sticking with a question three or more times to unravel further layers of discovery. By framing a single question from three (or more) angles, you are able to collect better insights, get to the underlying motives quicker, and get closer to the desired outcomes for all parties involved.


A key foundation to your influencing efforts is the ability to get into the other person’s world and see what they see.” – Stuart van Rij


3# Change your perspective with reverse questioning 

Creative solutions often come about with a simple change in perspective. Introducing the principle of Reversing. Simply put, reverse questioning is the ability of answering a question with another question. This technique can help you dig deeper, and will most likely open up the conversation to new directions, helping you gather new layers of information you might not have considered before.

Reverse questioning is closely related to the principle of “nurture”: once you’ve established trust with your counterpart, you’ll be able to guide the other person’s perspective and help shape their thoughts.


4# What’s your purpose?

Last but not least, in order to step up your negotiation game, you need to clearly state your mission and purpose. What are you trying to get out of this negotiation and what is your aim? Asking this simple, yet powerful question, is essential to achieve what you want in any negotiation.

Remember to always focus on the perspective of the other person rather than your own. When laying the ground for your requests, make sure to clearly state how the outcome will benefit them. Focusing on their win, rather than yours, will help you get them on board more easily.

3 Questions to always ask yourself:

  1. What do I have to offer? What do I bring to the table?
  2. How is that going to benefit them?
  3. How are we going to help them see that?


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