When businesses come together to discuss possible deals or partnerships, they typically require the services of a business negotiator. It may be you or an expert negotiator you’ve hired to negotiate on your behalf.
However, did you know everyone needs good negotiation skills? We all negotiate and we start when we’re very young. Our survival and success depend on how well we negotiate. If you’re seeking a career in negotiation just about every industry has a variety of roles from sales to management.
To truly rise to the rank of one of the best negotiators, key skills must be learned and practiced. Keep reading to learn what these skills are:
The best negotiators are, beyond a doubt, strategic in their thoughts and words. There is a common saying about those who fail to plan and eventually fail as a result. A good business negotiator always has a goal and a strategy by which to arrive at that goal.
Having conducted thorough research on the opposing party, this person comes to the table with a plan to direct the negotiations towards the best-case scenario which would have already been predetermined.
Multi-stakeholder negotiations often fall apart when there is a sense of mistrust between the parties.
Skilled negotiators can earn the trust or at least respect of the other side by being open with their intentions and by communicating with inclusion and empathy. You can use strategies to present confidently and with transparency. Your goal is to get the opposing party to accept your best offer.
“You” and “I” statements are avoided and emotion is removed from negotiations. When you’re in control of your emotions the opposing negotiator will not find vulnerabilities in your negotiation style.
While experienced negotiators are capable of being empathetic and instilling trust in negotiating parties, this by no means suggests that they go with every request the opposing party makes.
A skilled negotiator presents consistently with a calm assertiveness that shows an understanding of the value brought to the table by the negotiator’s client. This should not be misunderstood as aggressiveness, as an experienced aggressor is never aggressive.
Although it is essential to be assertive about one’s expectations during a negotiation, an experienced negotiator also cultivates the skill of flexibility.
The negotiator understands that interests will sometimes collide, making it difficult to get exactly what has been asked for. In cases like that, things can get heated and negotiations can start to go sour.
Experienced negotiators find ways to adjust their position so that they get what they need even if they cannot get all that they want. By remaining flexible to changes, they are able to achieve their goals.
Your instincts or your “gut feelings” are very important to listen to when undergoing a negotiation. Many people have great instincts, however, when they actually perform, they freeze up under pressure and refrain from doing what their gut feeling tells them to do.
In order to become an experienced negotiator, you must have courage in what you feel and not be afraid to challenge anything that doesn’t seem right.
With instincts comes caution, another important trait that one must-have. If it is too good to be true, trust what your instincts are telling you, and use caution continuing on in the negotiation because it may be the deal at hand sounds better than it actually is.
The principle of non-attachment helps the best negotiators understand that no matter how promising the desired result may be, it is never too important to walk away from. In certain situations, the opposing party might present an offer that would negatively affect the negotiator’s client.
A negotiator who can say “no” and remain firm in that position and even walk away from the table retains options and will likely secure a better deal.
Mastering these five skills will give you a clear advantage in any negotiation and will put you among the top ranks of the best business negotiators. You can practice them by yourself, or enrol in a negotiation course that incorporates these skills into their curriculum.