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Negotiation Skills: Is losing always the second best? 

Is second place really as bad as they make it out to be? 


Author and wellness expert Ryan Fahey says not: “Too often in life we forget how important necessary critical feedback can be. Finishing a race in second place or finishing in a runner up position within a competition can give us specific thoughts about how we could have won first place. For example, in 2016 I finished second in an obstacle course race in Lloydminster. After realising I had finished second I thought about specific feedback from different parts of the race that could have allowed me to take first had we raced a second time. I knew exactly what I had to do to win. Finishing in third, fourth or fifth wouldn’t have allowed me to focus in on specific critical feedback to win. There would have been too many variables.”


Ryan makes a very valuable point about finishing (particularly) in second spot. Second place is so very often really close to first. Oftentimes just a very small percentage separates first from second. Minute differences. 


So the feedback would firstly be that you only need to change, tweak or hone skills to a very small degree and Voila! You're there. Second place also gives you the very real close-up opportunity to look at what the opposition is doing right now. It’s a chance to evaluate what they are doing that makes them just that much better than you and then determine how you can get there. 


Let’s face it, the world places a massive amount of importance on winning. But the winner would not be there was it not for the person, team or company in second place. 


Should you bother to look at many of the television game and competition  shows, such as The X-factor, Britains’ Got Talent or Idols’ it’s stands out that more often than not, the person who took second goes on to become more successful. This is attributed to the fact that once they finish second, they work just that bit harder with greater effort as well as smarter than the winner and their markedly greater effort pays off. 


In an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, Jerker Denrell of the University of Oxford and Chengwei Liu of the University of Warwick reported on experiments that modeled the results of a game played in many rounds. Over time, the most skilled players came to inhabit a second tier of reliable competence. Those who succeeded spectacularly — who took their places in the first tier — were often not the most skilled, but rather were those who got some lucky breaks early on or took big risks that happened to pay off. Emulating these top performers would probably lead to disappointment, since imitators would be unlikely to replicate their good fortune. Because luck and risk play a dominant role in extraordinary outcomes, Denrell and Liu write, “Extreme success or failure are, at best, only weak signals of skill,” and top performers “should not be imitated or praised.” Better, they advise, to learn from individuals “with high, but not exceptional, performance” — those whose success can be attributed to solid skill and not to a rare lightning strike.


This course will help you to understand why second can often hold the key to unlocking the door to first place.

Negotiation Skills

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