Typically, there are two types of negotiation. The first of these, more typical with short-term negotiations, tend to be more calculative and confrontational, with both parties clearly trying to get as much out of the other party for what are they putting in.

The other type, which can be seen more with longer-term negotiations, are based more on mutual trust and focusing on developing a win-win situation. A key way to facilitate this type of relationship is by making concessions without any expectation of the other party doing the same – a unilateral concession.

While a unilateral concession should typically be of little cost to yourself, it will also be of great benefit to the future relationship. In addition to establishing trust, carefully crafted unilateral concessions can demonstrate your competence by showing that you truly understand what the other side values.

So next time you enter into a negotiation, whether short or long-term, be prepared to make a unilateral concession by considering in advance the one or two things you are ready to give up without having to ask for something in return. In the long-run, your partnerships will benefit!


BCW Sports practice is the sport unit of global advisory firm Burson-Marsteller. We provide strategy and communication advice for sport clients around the world. For more information: bmsport.staging.wpengine.com