5 Ways to Improve Your Negotiation Skills Using NLP Questioning


If there is one thing I have learned as an NLP trainer and coach, it is that life is full of negotiations. In teaching personal development and NLP I have learned there are many different reasons to negotiate. I tend to first think about that time in my life where I had to teach NLP and negotiation to people who trade guns for life and lawyers who work at the International Criminal Court. Most people tend to think of haggling over price and business deals. Sometimes people think about divorce or legal settlements.

During NLP training I find the concept of negotiation coming up everywhere. We don’t always call it negotiation. Think of things like:

  • Negotiating time off work.
  • What time your teenager needs to come home.
  • Where you and your partner negotiate about family staying home or what party to attend.
  • The temperature in the house.
  • Christmas!


What is the NLP Meta Model

The NLP meta model is a line of questioning that allows for the unconscious to become conscious.

It is the information that isn’t presented in our communication that can be revealed by asking the right questions.

The information that isn’t in the conscious awareness of someone, which through questions can be revealed.

Now to teach all of the NLP meta model would be too much for an article. But what it basically means is to pull any information into specifics by asking the type of questions that allow for this to happen.

Good examples are:
Who specifically?
What specifically?
How specifically?

5 Ways to Improve your Negotiation Skills Using the NLP Meta Model

1. What is each party/person after?

Ask yourself the following questions for each party:

  • What specifically is the positive intent?
  • What values or moral criteria specifically are at play?
  • What specifically are the rules? And how specifically are they applied?
  • How specifically is each party seeking pleasure?
  • What specifically is each party afraid of?
  • What specifically does each party want?
  • Etc.

Knowing the answer will allow you to much more clearly understand what each party may agree to or not agree to.

2. Understanding people on a deeper level

Yes, you can improve your negotiation skills greatly by stepping into the shoes of the other person. In NLP we call this the second perceptual position. But you need to go a little deeper than this.

Ask yourself the NLP meta model questions about each party:

  • What specifically is the culture & and how specifically could this be relevant inside the negotiation?
  • Is there a history of being marginalized, discriminated against? Or privilege? What about entitlement? How specifically can this affect the negotiation?
  • What about religion?
  • Gender?
  • Sexual orientation?
  • Age and generation?
  • Personality type?
  • Etc.

3. Studying the timeline

What would happen if, for each party, you imagined what their whole life was like?

In NLP we can observe a person’s life path:

Associated: you imagine what they saw, heard and felt at each stage in their life. What specifically do you learn by doing so?

Dissociated: you more logically study someone’s life in each stage. This is a place of logic, and non-emotion. What specifically do you learn by doing so?

4. What specifically is the apex?

Negotiations fail if one of the parties wants it all, and the other party gets nothing.

Figure out for each party what the minimum is they are willing to agree to. Draw a line on the left for party A and the minimum they agree on. And on the right do the same for party B.  The area in the middle (for better word let’s call it the apex) is where you can start negotiating for agreement.

5. What specifically is the emotion, need, thought, and feeling?

You need to tap into each party’s emotional world.

What is the emotion specifically each party feels? An emotion is a physical sensation and chemical response inside the body,

What need specifically does each party have? Each emotion represents a need. Think of things like love, a need to be seen, acceptance, safety etc.

What thoughts, specifically, are at play as the result of the emotion felt?

What feeling, specifically, is at play? The thoughts that interpret the emotion end up in a feeling. Like fear, anger, joy, love, excitement etc.


The NLP meta model offers a nice framework to prepare for a negotiation.