Gregory Best VOICE 2007New to the Art of Negotiation?
Are you in for a treat!
Let master negotiator Gregory Best show you the ropes on how to negotiate and use your negotiation skills to your advantage in the business of voice over.

Day three greeted VOICE 2007 with the smiling face of Gregory Best and his toolkit for negotiating success in voice over business endeavors. To start off, Gregory said that all small business owners and voice talent need to negotiate and a lot of negotiators are actors. The clarification was also made that voice talent are small business owners, a very important fact to remember. That’s right, you are in business for yourself!

Negotiation can occur anywhere, including at home, in business and or at work, daily transactions, and even voice acting.

Simple Definition of Negotiation:
Negotiation is the process of overcoming obstacles in order to reach an agreement.
That being said, the primary obstacle is the distance between both parties. Each party has different goals, desires and needs to be considered when negotiating.
As you may have already discovered, the art of negotiation is present in nearly every aspect of business from setting a fee to agreeing upon services to be rendered.

3 Core Elements of Negotiation
1. Information is Everything
We need the right information to understand what the job entails, how your voice will be used, and so on. Get all the information you can to quote appropriately. Remember, get as much information as you give.

2. Time is Precious
Time is something that we need. You have deadlines. Deadlines force decisions.
For example, I will be getting paid by X date, or, we™ll look at a product by X date. While you can often set your own personal deadlines for projects, you need to respect the fact that other people you may be working with have deadlines to meet, too. Try to negotiate deadlines with others to make them work for you.

3. You Have the Power
We all have power. Most of what you see in the world is perceived power. People only have the power that you give someone and vice versa. It™s what you have and you need to use it effectively for yourself.

Telephone is one of the riskiest forms of negotiation. You are not in person, info flows too quickly, skip key points, math errors, no visual feedback (e.g. body language), time frame is limited to the length of the call. * Use time to your advantage – preparation is the key of negotiating. Do research when time allows, always be prepared. Don™t be pressured by a perceived deadline. In the end, it™s about wants and needs. Use the time you have to your advantage.

What makes a good negotiation?
Strive for negotiations where both parties are satisfied. You have to come to something that everyone can live with, not necessarily both smiling about it. You both have to have your needs satisfied. If it comes across as unbalanced or unfair, you won™t work together again. What kind of a negotiator can make something like this happen?

Has the œnegotiation mindset or œnegotiation consciousness
• Attitude of those who make deals
• Everything is negotiable
• Assertive is stating what he or she wants and challenges everything
There’s a difference between being a servant and aggressive when negotiating – be a servant.

• Value your services
• Respect yourself – you are you – no one else is you
• You can always come down but you have to aim high enough in order to come out with what you want
• Eliminate negative self-talk – be positive
• Self-doubt limits our ability to be assertive
• Learn to say no

• The best negotiators are good listeners
• Listen to the other side
• Don™t be thinking of your counter point

• Good negotiators, like detectives, ask questions
• Better understand the other side™s position
• Learn as much as you can – write down your checklist to better understand your position and don™t leave anything out

• Top salespeople genuinely believe in the value of what they are selling
• Your expectation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy

• Most patient person is in the driver™s seat
• Being patient will force the other side to give in as their anxiety rises
• Flexibility – be able to change or shift gears

• Looks at situations from the other side™s perspective
• Realizes that everyone looks at the world differently
• How does the other person perceive the situation?

• Reasonable risks based upon reliable information
• Have a plan of action if it doesn™t work out

• Looks for mutually acceptable solutions – don™t take things personally, it™s only a game
• Doesn™t get sidetracked by personal issues when negotiating

• Always has an option
• Doesn™t mean you won™t return
• Avoid the œnew car fever mindset

The Negotiating Game
• Make it a game
• Don™t let it become personal
• Keep to the subject of the negotiation
• It™s not about personalities
Style Supercedes Substance!

Let’s look at Who You are. Who you are is your reputation:
Develop Positive Attributes
• active listening
• warmth and sensitivity
• patience
• sharing of feelings and consideration of others
• integrity and ethics

You will run into all sorts of people when you are negotiating, and for these different people, you will need to adopt unique styles to negotiate with in order to come away with a mutually acceptable agreement. For instance, there are the tough guys, the nice guys, the nitpickers, the procrastinators and many others. Gregory goes into quite a bit of detail on how to handle each of these personality types in the VOICE 2007 workbook. To conclude, you need to have strategies in place BEFORE you go to the bargaining table.

Your game plan may vary, but always know what it is and be confident. Know what it is you want out of a negotiation and what you can compromise on. One very simple but overlooked rule: If you don™t ask, you won™t get. Remember to be patient, check your personality outside of the deal at the door, and never accept the first offer. Also, don’t be the one to make the first concession, either. Concessions should never move slowly.

Have you learned a thing or two from this lecture recap?
If so, please leave a comment for Gregory to let him know what you think!
Best wishes,
Copyright Gregory Best, 2007

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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


  1. Stephanie,
    Your surveys of the presentations at VOICE 2007 have been so very helpful. Thank you.
    And Greg’s presentation was one of those packed full of valuable information.
    Be well,


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