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Editor's Note

Give and Take

We get you settled for negotiating.




NEGOTIATING IS SOMETHING only about 1 in 8 members of our Brain Squad finds fun or loves doing, according to our January survey. For everyone else, it’s challenging at best, something they dread at the worst. Our main feature article this month delves into the challenges and common difficulties with negotiating, offering 16 specific ways to be more successful and confident at it (see this page).

While few profess to enjoy negotiating, 89% of the same squad members rate their negotiating skills as at least good (also including pretty good and excellent). Interesting then that despite feeling good to excellent, so few actually like it. Nearly 3 in 5 members — by far the most — describe their negotiating style as “rational,” so maybe the often adversarial situations, zero-sum game assumptions or the value placed upon “toughness” are among what they dislike.

The good news is that our tips bypass such thinking. “A collaborative approach entails building trust, creativity and sharing interests,” reads part of the introduction. One should prepare to both give and take — and sometimes to give before taking…

Because all sorts of people you deal with are hard to negotiate with, the Brain Squad split widely on who’s most difficult, with customers at 39%, vendors 17%, both staff and family (outside the company) tied at 12% each, partners 6% and others.

Good luck and may your ‘batnas’ serve you well.

If you’re the owner or top manager of a sign company in the US or Canada, join the Brain Squad at

mark-signature updated

5 Smart Tips from This Issue

  1. Look and ask for more electronically driven aspects to sign-installation vehicles. (Tech Products)
  2. Researching your opponent, practicing and preparing emotionally all aid negotiating. (Master Negotiating)
  3. Back halo letters with frosted clear polycarbonate of acrylic that you have sanded. (Light Fantastic)
  4. Have salespeople engage customers on design changes, not the designers themselves. (Maggie Harlow)
  5. Say “NO” to big, high-profile projects when they are outside of your wheelhouse. (Dale Salamacha)

Mark Kissling is Signs of the Times’ Editor-in-Chief. Contact him at



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