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10 Questions to Negotiate Anything

Simon & Schuster,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

To reframe the way you negotiate and achieve greater results, ask better questions and listen more closely. 

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Insider's Take


Of the many people – including diplomats, lawyers and executives – who attend negotiation expert Alexandra Carter’s conflict resolution courses, 10-year-old girls are, generally, her best listeners. Learn to listen as they do to revolutionize how you negotiate. Carter, a Columbia Law School professor, walks you through the art of listening reflectively and asking open questions. The more information you uncover about yourself and the other party, the richer and more robust your negotiations will become. Carter’s expertise as a mediator shines in this must-read for any negotiator.


Ask, “What is the problem I want to solve?”

Fewer than one in ten people ask strong questions during a negotiation. Asking questions instead of making assertions can unlock valuable information, empowering you to get better results. Negotiation should be an ongoing process, rather than one which takes place during only a single meeting.

Open questions help you obtain the most information possible from your interlocutor. Effective negotiators need internal and external self-awareness. To nourish both, first answer five “Mirror” questions: queries which help clarify your own needs and desired goals. Then, ask the other party five “Window” questions: queries which help you understand the other person’s point of view. To get the most from the Mirror questions, do the following:

  • Set a firm appointment for yourself to think in a relaxed environment.
  • Write down your responses to increase your focus.
  • Write what you think, “not what you wish you were thinking.”
  • Summarize yourself in a few lines, noting repeated words.

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About the Author

Columbia Law School professor and Mediation Clinic director Alexandra Carter runs negotiation trainings for the United Nations, Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and non-profits.

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