What We Can Learn About the Art of Negotiation from the Game of Thrones

Interpersonal and Communication Skills - © Performance Management Consultants

The art of negotiation is an important skill to have, both in the business world and your personal life. Few people understand how crucial good negotiation skills are more than the characters of the hit book series and HBO original television show Game of Thrones. Keep in mind this article is referencing the TV series only, so some of the details may vary from the books.

1. Know the other party’s needs

– no matter who you are negotiating with, having an understanding of the other person’s/people’s needs is an important first step. Just as Catelyn Stark demonstrated when negotiating with Walder Frey; she knew he would likely be willing to allow Robb’s army use of the bridge if he was getting something out of it, in this case a promise to marry some of his children to the Starks.

2. Be prepared to compromise

– as mentioned above, Catelyn offered to marry some of her children to Walder Frey’s children. Though she knew they would be less than pleased, nor was she happy about the deal, she understood that it was necessary to secure valuable resources for Robb’s quest to take the Iron Throne.

3. Practice makes perfect

– nobody can deny what a powerful leader Daenerys Targaryan is. Her rise to power taught her the importance of negotiation, and how to master it. Throughout the series she has demonstrated what an exceptional leader she is through her ability to communicate her vision for Westoros and its people. By season 6, people are flocking to her from all over the world, to serve at her side.

4. Know your options

– when in negotiation, it’s important to be aware of all possible options and outcomes. Tyrion Lannister knows this better than most, which is extremely important, given how easily he gets himself into tense situations is extremely important. He always has a backup plan, and someone on his side to defend him. Though thankfully trial by combat is not an option you’ll ever need to worry about.

5. Stay strong and calm

– during a negotiation it’s important to remain strong and calm. It’s also important to stay true to your values, something that Daenerys believes. Throughout her rise to power, she had to make many compromises, and make deals with some not -so- trustworthy people. B, but the one thing she did not waiver on was her belief that all slavery should be abolished.

6. Adapt to new situations

– looking back on season one of the series compared to now, none of the remaining characters are where they thought they would be. One character’s journey stands out from the rest; Arya Stark. From running away from King’s Landing, to masquerading as a boy to hide her identity, and finally her training to become ‘no one’, Arya has adapted to every situation thrown at her and always comes out on top.

Though the problems and politics of Westoros are a far cry from the type of negotiations you would deal with, there are many important lessons and tips we can learn from many of the characters on Game of Thrones. If there is one lesson to take away from all of our favourite characters, and that is to be bold and confident. With that and the other tips from this article in mind, you may just make it to the Iron Throne.

To learn more about negotiation skills, check out our Powerful Negotiation Skills workshop.

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