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25 Quotations About Compromise and Negotiation to Inspire Your Meettings

Tim Truzy is a rehabilitation counselor, educator, and former dispatcher from North Carolina.

End meetings with a fun activity like a round of golf.

End meetings with a fun activity like a round of golf.

Differences between Negotiations and Compromise

Negotiating an agreement and reaching a compromise have similarities but important distinctions. A compromise is an understanding with each party making concessions. Compromises can be unfulfilling when sacrifices are too large, leading to further disputes. On the other hand, negotiating is a deliberate process. The goal of negotiations is to arrive at an accord amiable to all parties.

Truly, there are many situations where agreements must be established. For instance, parents have to compromise with children on various topics. Furthermore, businesses have to broker deals to remain competitive. Finally, schools and governments must negotiate on a regular basis. Regardless, achieving settlements require patience and time from my experience. In this article, I've provided some useful steps to take when preparing to negotiate or discuss a compromise as well as twenty-five inspiring quotes.

Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve of the U.S. from 1987 to 2006.

Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve of the U.S. from 1987 to 2006.

Quotes From Writers and Insightful Thinkers

  • “Any negotiation has a limit. Otherwise, war is irrelevant.” —Toba Beta
  • “We're fascinated by the words—but where we meet is in the silence behind them.” —Ram Dass
  • “He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of a diplomat.” —Robert Estabrook
  • “Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.” —Sir David Frost
  • “Unless you are willing to compromise, society cannot live together.” —Alan Greenspan
  • “When you can't convince them with intellect, persuade them with sentiment.” —Amit Kalantri
  • “When the final result is expected to be a compromise, it is often prudent to start from an extreme position.” —John Maynard Keynes
  • “We’re all somebody’s prospect; we’re all somebody’s customer.” —Chris Murray
  • “Compromise is the best and cheapest lawyer.” —Robert Louis Stevenson
Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948), leader of a nonviolent movement in India

Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948), leader of a nonviolent movement in India

Timeless Quotes about Compromising and Negotiations

  • “In dealing with cunning people, we must ever consider their needs to interpret their speeches.” —Sir Frances Bacon
  • “In the end, the best victory is the one that looks like a defeat.” —Neel Burton
  • “All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.” —Mahatma Gandhi
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  • “We must be terrible negotiators to settle for reasonable dreams and unreasonable regrets.” —Adeel Ahmed Khan
  • “People make their decisions based on what the facts mean to them, not on the facts themselves” —Roy J. Lewicki
  • “Expression is saying what you really feel. Impression is saying what others want to hear.” —Krishna Saagar Rao
  • “Place a higher priority on discovering what a win looks like for the other person.” —Harvey Robbins
Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865), the 16th president of the United States

Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865), the 16th president of the United States

Quotes from Politicians and Business Professionals

  • “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people half way.” —Henry Boyle
  • “If you come to a negotiation table saying you have the final truth, that you know nothing but the truth and that is final, you will get nothing.” —Harri Holkeri
  • “To be on the same page, we need to be in the same book.” —Rahul Guhathakurta
  • “A lean compromise is better than a fat lawsuit.” —George Herbert
  • “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” —John F. Kennedy
  • “Basic rule of negotiation is to know what you want, what you need to walk away with in order to be whole.” —Phil Knight
  • “Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker, the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.” —Abraham Lincoln
  • “That is why everyone in politics, and we do it, must make sure that they do not depend on one single-interest group. A good compromise is one where everybody makes a contribution.” —Angela Merkel
  • “A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it. They say, ‘Huh. It works. It makes sense.'” —Barack Obama
Barack Obama (Born: 1961), the 44th President of the United States

Barack Obama (Born: 1961), the 44th President of the United States

Don’t Forfeit Core Values to Reach an Agreement

Respect your guiding principles when striving for a compromise or negotiating a deal. In fact, Margaret Thatcher (1925–2013), a former British Prime Minister, emphasized admiration is less crucial than awareness of critical values during meetings. However, positions on subjects can change without undermining important personal beliefs. For these reasons, I’ve provided several useful steps to follow to arrive at amiable resolutions. They are:

Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013), Former British Prime Minister.

Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013), Former British Prime Minister.

Five Essential Steps to Take when Negotiating or Reaching a Compromise

  1. Imagine different outcomes: Before your meeting, envision eventual solutions. Try to view the eventual agreement from everyone’s perspective. Remember: settlements can have mixed results.
  2. Consider strategies for monitoring the resolution before the meeting: Will the agreement be written? Will it be monitored through phone contact? Present your ideas at the conclusion of the meeting.
  3. Location matters: Select a positive setting. For instance, a restaurant may be appropriate. In essence, refreshments can enhance talks whether in an outdoor or an inside environment.
  4. Exhibit Empathy: During the meeting, allow the other party to express sincere concerns. Listen and don’t opt for a quick solution. Pay attention to the other person’s view of the dispute.
  5. Focus on the problem: Do not become distracted by topics outside of the scope of the meeting. Discuss realistic outcomes. Review the points and the goals everyone accepts. Close the deal with a positive sign when appropriate. I’ve provided a few useful activities when concluding meetings with the purpose of obtaining an agreement:

Examples of Positive Gestures at the End of Meetings

  • A celebratory toast
  • A group prayer or meditation exercise
  • A handshake or fist bump if circumstances are appropriate
  • A reassuring smile and a funny joke
  • Briefly discuss similar fond childhood experiences
  • Congratulatory cheers
  • Fun statistics about unusual things
  • Kind words emphasizing good intentions for the future
  • Offer a riddle to think about
  • Play a short game of cards or any appropriate recreational activity like golf
  • Sing a familiar song together


  • Kennedy, J. F., & Sorensen, T. C. (1991). "Let the word go forth": The speeches, statements, and writings of John F. Kennedy. New York, NY: Dell Pub.
  • Lincoln, A., & Stern, P. V. (1961). The writings and speeches of Abraham Lincoln. New York: Crown.
  • Thatcher, M. (1998). The collected speeches of Margaret Thatcher. Norwalk, CT: Easton Press.

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