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The Optimal Negotiator 

The Definitive Program for Serious Deal Makers

Monday, December 12 - Thursday, December 15, 2016 

Program Brochure

Arguably the one skill today’s leaders must possess is the ability to get people to agree with them. Most assuredly, in any undertaking of significance, whether personal or business related, knowing how to get others to accept your point of view while seeing themselves as winners is crucial to your success, if not the prosperity of your organization. Indeed, one cannot ever expect to ascend the corporate ladder without a sound grasp of the fundamental negotiating principles and critical nuances or without the knowledge and skills to emulate those who consistently do it well.

Program Description (+)

This comprehensive program on the art and process of successful negotiating is the creation of Dr. Jim Murray who has been researching, teaching and practicing this time-honoured craft over the course of four decades. Hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life and professional callings have benefited from his unique, street-savvy insights, acclaimed expertise and direct, hands-on experiences in virtually every conceivable negotiating arena.

Dr. Murray’s many accomplishments at the bargaining table run the gamut from commercial transactions and collective bargaining to corporate acquisitions and international diplomacy, from training hostage negotiators and professional mediators to mentoring corporate CEOs, counselling big-league sports organizations and advising parents on the subtle art of dealing with troublesome teens. He has authored three best-selling books on negotiating, conflict resolution and influencing difficult people and been nationally honoured for his effectiveness in the classroom.

This intensive, universally practical and highly interactive residential learning experience was designed especially for those who are dead serious about wanting to develop their skills beyond mere competence. Realizing that your personal, professional and organizational potential depend on this critical skill, the primary objective of The Optimal Negotiator is to show you the way towards mastery.

Who Should Attend (+)

Negotiating is a delicate mix of art and science, of style and substance. It prizes intuition as highly as intellect, common sense as much as the hard numbers. To negotiate requires emotional detachment, an understanding of the critical importance of process and a high aspiration level. It can be a game of power - real, as well as imagined. While some people know how to play the game masterfully, others only dimly understand it.

How would you assess your capabilities as a negotiator? Especially, as Dr. Murray advises, it is the one skill that can immeasurably enhance the quality and meaning of your life as well as the lives of those significant people on whom you depend for your happiness. “Many understand the process intellectually but precious few are entirely comfortable in its execution or in their ability to consistently optimize deals”.

If you seek a higher comfort and confidence level in your ability to get others to agree with your position, whatever that might be, or if you aspire to mastery, then this residential learning experience was designed with YOU in mind.

Curriculum (+)

The format of this program is practical and highly interactive. Emphasis is placed on participation and “learning by doing.” Some attention is given to personal coaching and feedback where the attendee is receptive. Participants are encouraged to share their negotiating issues and challenges in confidence.

Attendees will be expected to complete some tasks (contained in a Pre-Course Workbook) prior to arrival.

Topics for the program include:

• The Conceptual Framework for Consistently Achieving Win-Win Outcomes 
The importance of your negotiating philosophy. Dissecting the Negotiating Jig-Saw Puzzle. Why we think we negotiate and why we actually do. The limitations of technically proficient and highly rational negotiators. Distinguishing content from process. Core needs: getting others to rationalize the outcome, Turning 80/20 outcomes into 80/80 deals: making losers feel like winners. Needs that drive the numbers: what negotiators really want. How to disguise and how to discover critical information.

• Tactic Recognition and Response
The negotiating spectrum; engineering a climate conducive achieving to your objectives. Gradient stress: getting people to see it your way. Classic stress (W/L) tactics, reasonable vs. realistic opening. Conveying a strong bargaining posture. Tactic Identification and appropriate counters. Emotional ploys. The power of aspiration level and objectivity. When Win/Lose works. The rudiments of Win/Win negotiating. How (and why) to use Win/Lose tactics in a Win/Win way. Understanding consequences and creating opponents of choice. Walking the talk when it comes to being a Win/Win negotiator.

• Behavioural Patterns and Cross-cultural Differences in Negotiating Styles
Gender differences and tendencies in negotiating: strengths and weaknesses. Cultural chauvinism and empathy: diagnosing ethnic differences. Common pitfalls: language, proxemics, gestures and stereotypes. Negotiating globally: lessons and tips (dos & don’ts), Profiling Asian, Arab and North American negotiating styles. The cultural weaknesses and sins of Canadian negotiators. Negotiating with the Chinese: tactical insights. Building strategic negotiator profiles for insight and competitive advantage. Understanding and typecasting personality differences. Achieving behavioural insight and sensitivity through neuro-linguistic programming analysis.

• The Negotiating Process Simplified and Explained
Stages, key ingredients and rituals. Preparation: how to organize for optimal results, Setting objectives and distinguishing essentials from expendables. How to open: social amenities and agenda setting. How to respond loan opening. Achieving instant alignment, “connection” and rapport by design. Presenting (selling) for impact. Recognizing intentional and unintended signals. Overcoming resistance and dealing with objections. How to propose and package. Bargaining nuances and manoeuvres. Closing and reaching agreement: how and when. Evaluating and learning from your performance.

• Principles of Time and Timing
Distinguishing the event from the process, dealing with (and using) deadlines, the importance of acceptance time and handling the pressures of the 11th hour, The meaning of “no” In a negotiation. When (and how) to say “no.”

• Power: Accumulating and Sustaining Negotiating Leverage
Myths and fallacies about power, Developing personal leverage: rational presence and psychological Influence. Managing the power equation. Diagnosing the power of others. How to increase your power and when you need to decrease it. Enhancing your power at the bargaining table.

• The People Puzzle: Using Human Behaviour to Advantage
Seeing price” as a point of view. Perception-reaction dynamic: Influencing desired behaviours. Negative and positive interaction cycles. Perceptual barriers. Masking, ego defense and role playing. Mechanisms for self-control. Functions and dysfunctions of conflict. Recognizing the signals of escalating conflict. Creating defensive and supportive negotiating climates when needed.

• Essential (and Powerful) Communication Skills
The importance of questioning. Acquiring sensitive information. Phrasing to induce desired perceptions. Active listening for critical information: challenges, key skills and the 90:10 rules. The power of non- directive responses. Translation and “hypnosis” in negotiating. Reflection and deflection. Deciphering the language of hidden meanings. Understanding and using non-verbal cues. How to detect outright lies, fraud and deceit. How interrogators work. Smart alternatives to lying. Altering your communication ratios for success.

• Becoming an inventive Negotiator
The power of creativity: how to change the shape of any deal. The symbiotic relationship between price and the terms. Leveraging as buyer and seller. Negotiating the future. Applying the problem-solving mode to break impasse. Assessing appropriate strategic and tactical responses.

Working and Negotiating in Teams
Individual vs. team: strengths and limitations. When and how to use a team. Determining appropriate team size, roles and responsibilities. Optimizing your team’s strengths. Planning and working as a team: a practicum. Tactic recognition and response. Debrief/analysis and assessment of individual and team performances.

Optimal Negotiator Fundamentals and Attributes
Essentials of a good strategy. The difference between theory and reality. The things you never do. Attributes that define consistently successful (i.e., “optimal") negotiators. The pros speak: critical skill sets and thought processes of winning negotiators. The conceptual framework summarized. Achieving mastery — where to from here?

Dates and Times (+)

Monday, December 12 – Thursday, December 15, 2016

The program begins at 5:30pm on Monday and concludes at 3pm on Thursday.

Registration and Fees (+)
 Full package (program fees, meals and accommodations) - RecommendedDay package (program fees and meals only, accommodations not included)*
Members of CPA Ontario and out of province CPAs$3,550 (register here)$3,050 (register here)
Non-members$4,050 (register here)$3,550 (register here)


An early-bird discount of $200 is available for registering 60 days in advance of the program start.

*Please note: A limited number of program spots are available to those who do not wish to have accommodations. This program contains evening activities (group work and/or networking opportunities), therefore, this option is recommended only for those who reside nearby.

Facilities (+)

The Optimal Negotiator will be held at the White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa, a premium, four diamond, five-star resort that has achieved a reputation for outstanding comfort, service and atmosphere to ensure a memorable learning and retreat experience for all executives who attend.

Program fees include meals, accommodations*, wi-fi access, use of basic fitness facilities, and a hospitality room for evening networking opportunities.

*Excluding registrants who have opted for the day package option.

Getting There:

From Pearson or Buffalo airports:

The Niagara Airbus offers Shuttle Transfers to and from Toronto’s Pearson and Buffalo Niagara’s International Airports and can drop you off right at the facility front doors. If you book on-line you can get a 10% discount for Airport transfers. The Niagara Airbus website is

Another option is the Falls Livery & Taxi. They can offer private cars for transport to and from the airport as well. They can be reached at 905-356-4500.

From Toronto:

Average time to drive from Toronto to the Resort is an hour and a half*. Click here for a Google Map and directions.

*Please note that these directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, weather, or other events may cause conditions to differ from the map results, and you should plan your route accordingly.

CPD Information
Subject to CPA Ontario regulations, members may count up to 25 hours of verifiable CPD for the completion of The Optimal Negotiator program.
Testimonials (+)

Our alumni include participants from the following organizations:

Konica Minolta Business Solutions Ltd., Magna International Inc., Dare Foods Limited, Rowntree Enterprises Inc., Ricoh Canada Inc., Barrick Gold Corporation, Polaris Minerals Corporation, The Co-operators Group Limited, Environment Canada, The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board, Scotiabank, Queen's University, The Ministry of the Attorney General, Rogers Communications Inc., Toronto Hydro Energy Services, Kraft Foods Inc., and many more.

Here is what some had to say about The Optimal Negotiator program:

  • I wish I had taken this program 30 years ago. The torrent of information and real stories told me how I can get whatever I want.
  • The course will have a solid positive financial impact on my business and positive satisfaction impact for my clients.
  • Provided a framework for me to recognize ‘subtle’ negotiating situations.
  • Confirmed my suspicion that I leave too much on the table and settle far too quickly.
  • I can now negotiate with less fear and more confidence in the process.
  • Gave me greater confidence to approach future business transactions, whether in the workplace or retail scenarios.
  • Dispelled the myths about negotiating and helped me better understand “the art of the possible”.
  • This course is similar to going golfing with a world class pro – you can’t play golf as well as him but you discover where your game is.
  • Provided me with invaluable insights into the behavioural changes I need to work on going forward to improve my life at home and in the office.
  • This course should pay for itself next week.
Faculty (+)

Jim Murray has been teaching people how to become better negotiators for over 40 years. He has direct experience in virtually every negotiating arena and an extensive background in consensus facilitation and crisis interventions. He has been involved as a mediator in high-level strikes, was a government-appointed conciliator and consultant to Labour Canada on advanced mediation strategies. He specializes in resolving health care disputes, particularly between physician groups, and has designed an intensive week-long training program on cross-cultural negotiating techniques which he taught over a decade to senior military officers serving in various international “hot spots.” He is the sole Canadian member of Dealmakers International, a worldwide consortium of experts on corporate business transactions. His advice has been utilized in the development of training materials that support the network’s educational endeavors in over 20 countries.   

Jim has been teaching courses for accounting professionals since 1982. He is the architect of several residential executive development programs offered by CPA Ontario and other Provincial Institutes. These programs include Smart Leaders 2.0: Thinking and Innovation Skills and The CEO Program: Leading with Purpose. Thousands of attendee testimonials confirm his ability to 'connect' with the professional development needs of accountants today.

Jim is CEO of optimal solutions international, a firm dedicated to helping people and organizations reach their full potential. Described by clients as "a rare breed" and an "organizational therapist", he has been in the leadership development business for over 40 years. His life's quest is to liberate personal and organizational genius and to change lives. (To see his full bio, check out

Contact Us
For more information please contact Lawrence Wong, CPA, CA, at the CPA Ontario, at: 1-800-387-0735 ext. 4343, or at