From the May 2007 issue of Entrepreneur

Like it or not, negotiation is not only a key business skill, but a key life skill as well. If you've got no game, you will rarely get what you deserve, no matter what the situation.

Sure, there are plenty of reasons not to like it--negotiation can be petty, nasty and time-consuming, to name a few. Start with a little introspection. If you don't like to negotiate, ask yourself why.

Does it make you feel like a beggar? Look at it differently. Sure, there are times when whining is your best tactic. But there is nothing demeaning about it because you ultimately have the power to accept or refuse any deal. Or would you rather overpay because you're too proud to haggle?

Perhaps you're pathologically nonconfrontational--you can't get to yes and you can't just say no. If that's you, get someone to do your bidding, for now at least. More important, find a way to change.

For most, however, it's just about learning a new skill. Get some coaching. Buy a book. Take a seminar. Bring someone along to egg you on. Make an on-going commitment to become a better deal-maker. Even the average consumer can save thousands of dollars over a lifetime with a few good moves at the bargaining table.

Above all, try to have fun. Negotiation is one game that can pay off big-time.

A speaker and attorney in Los Angeles, Marc Diener is author of Deal Power.