Can we learn anything about negotiation with E. Macron?

It is not easy to get examples of negotiation processes. There are several reasons for this:

  • Commercial negotiations are confidential. Participants will rarely or never share their content with outsiders. I would have loved to have recordings of all the negotiations I have been involved in! These recordings would have contained many examples of good and bad practice.
  • Many negotiations are informal and are not even recognized as such.

So when you have a recording of someone applying negotiation techniques, it is best to use it. Even if, in the case we are going to analyse, it is only a unilateral negotiation.


E. Macron’s negotiation objective

Of course, without knowing the objective, it is difficult to analyse the effectiveness of the process in achieving a favorable outcome.

For this practical example, I consider that the objective was as follows:

Obtaining the agreement of all to remain in confinement until May 11th and to respect the rules.

The steps followed by E. Macron in negotiating with us

E. Macron does not begin his speech by immediately asking French citizens what he wants to achieve. He does not impose it (although the rules of confinement will be mandatory). He tries to build acceptance by following carefully chosen steps.

The experts in negotiation will also recommend these steps for your commercial negotiations. It is therefore very useful to go through them step by step.

Step 1: Showing empathy; Empathy is the ultimate weapon for making a connection.

Step 2: Thanking; Thanking is an effective way of valuing your counterpart.

Step 3: Self-accusation; Recognizing your own weaknesses and mistakes removes your counterpart’s potential angle of attack.

Step 4: Arguments / Actions; Only after you have gone through the three previous steps can you come up with your arguments. And always with empathy and on the basis of objective criteria (facts & figures).

Step 5: Labelling; Express – once again – any objections your counterpart may have and make them your own.

negotiation with E. Macron
At this point, you should have gotten recognition for what you said with a “that’ s right” from your counterpart.

Step 6: A positive message; pivot with positive messages about actions.

Step 7: Only then can you ask for something; you have now waited long enough and reached the point in negotiations where you can actually request what you want.

Step 8: Explain why you are asking + conditions; You must explain the reasons for your request!

Step 9: Finish with empathy; Close with another message of empathy.

The video extract identifying the stages of the negotiation (in French)


Whatever your political appreciation of E. Macron or your views on containment rules, we can all learn from this speech about how to negotiate.

Rarely do we have the steps so clearly identified – including a lot of empathy, self-accusation, praise & thanks. With arguments only at the end after a ” that’s right ” moment and a rationale with objective criteria (facts and figures).

Yes, I think we can learn something about negotiation with E. Macron.

About AfiTaC is the blog on commercial and contractual subjects for the Project Businesses (Construction, Infrastructure, Oil & Gas, Power & Renewable, Water Supply & Sanitation, etc). Its objective is to stimulate reflection, learning, convergence to balanced contracts and positive dispute resolution. You can subscribe to our newsletter by writing to “”. You can also connect to our LinkedIn page. Engagement with the readers is what keeps us going. So, don’t hesitate to exchange with us by commenting here below, liking our publication on LinkedIn and writing to us “”. 

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