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Needs, Wants and Likes


Disciplines > Negotiation > Negotiation articles > Needs, Wants and Likes

Needs | Wants | Likes | See also


By understanding Needs, Wants and Likes, you can identify your negotiables and ensure that you get what is most important to you.

Needs, Wants and Likes are sometimes also called Musts, Intends and Likes (MILs).


Needs are the things that you must get from the negotiation. If you do not get these, the deal is off. If you are prepared to concede on something, then it is a want or a like, but not a need.

Generally, the more needs you have, the more difficult the negotiation will be. This is particularly true when the other person is unwilling to let you have your needs. If your and their needs overlap, then you will, by definition, not reach agreement.

It is thus worth taking time to clarify your needs in some detail, stripping away any parts that can be traded as wants and likes.


Wants are the things that are important to you, but you might trade in exchange for getting your needs. Your wants will not come cheap and you are unlikely to concede on them with little thought. In particular, you will not trade a want for a like, which are less important to you.

Know your wants. Be clear about the trades that you will make for them. 


Likes are those things that you would like to get but will not be disappointed if you do not get them. This does not mean that they are of low value, as your likes can be the other person's wants or even needs (so listen carefully before giving  them away). You thus may be able to get quite a lot in exchange for giving way on your likes. For example, you can pretend that a like is a want or need and concede woefully in order to get wants or needs in return.

Likes are useful as exchanges to get your wants and needs. A typical exchange is that you will give way on two or three likes to get a want.

See also



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