12 Important Negotiation Skills to Have

12 Important Negotiation Skills to Have

1. Communication
Essential communication skills include identifying nonverbal cues and verbal skills to express yourself in an engaging way. Skilled negotiators can change their communication styles to meet the listener’s needs. By establishing clear communication, you can avoid misunderstandings that could prevent you from reaching a compromise.


2. Active listening
Active listening skills are also crucial for understanding another’s opinion in negotiation. Unlike passive listening, which is the act of hearing a speaker without retaining their message, active listening ensures you’re able to engage and later recall specific details without needing information repeated.


3. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to control your own emotions and recognize other's; feelings. Being conscious of the emotional dynamics during negotiation can allow you to remain calm and focused on the core issues. If you're unsatisfied with the current negotiation, express the need for a break so you and the other party can return later with refreshed perspectives.


4. Expectation management
Just as you should enter a negotiation with a clear goal, the other side also likely has its own defined expectations. If you believe you might not be able to agree to each other's terms, you could try adjusting your expectations. Skilled expectation management involves maintaining a balance between being a firm negotiator and a collaborative one.


5. Patience
Some negotiations can take a long time to complete, occasionally involving renegotiation and counteroffers. Rather than seeking a quick conclusion, negotiators often practice patience to properly assess a situation and reach the best conclusion for their clients.


6. Adaptability
Adaptability is a vital skill for a successful negotiation. Each negotiation is unique, and the situation within a singular negotiation may change from one day to the next. For example, an involved party may change their demands abruptly. While it's difficult to plan for every possible situation, a good negotiator can adapt quickly and determine a new plan, if needed.


7. Persuasion
The ability to influence others is an important skill of negotiation. It can help you define why your proposed solution is beneficial to all parties and encourage others to support your point of view. In addition to being persuasive, negotiators should be assertive when necessary. Assertiveness allows you to express your opinions while respecting the other side’s perspectives.

8. Planning
Negotiation requires planning to help you determine what you want. You should consider what the best possible outcome is, what your least acceptable offer is and what you will do if an agreement isn’t reached. The ability to prepare, plan and think ahead is crucial to a successful negotiation. Planning skills are necessary not only for the negotiation process but also for deciding how the terms will be carried out.


9. Integrity
Integrity, or having strong ethical and moral principles, is an essential skill for negotiations. Being thoughtful, respectful and honest allows the other side to trust what you say. As a negotiator, you should be able to follow through on commitments. To demonstrate trustworthiness, avoid over-promising.


10. Rapport building
The ability to build rapport lets you establish relationships with others where both sides feel supported and understood. Building a rapport requires you effectively communicate your goals but also understand the other side’s wants and needs. Rapport helps ease tensions, promotes collaboration and increases the likelihood of reaching an agreement. To build rapport, showing respect and using active listening skills are critical.


11. Problem-solving
Negotiation requires the ability to see the problem and find a solution. If a price is too high, how can it be lowered? If a resource is in short supply, what can be done to increase it? Being able to find unique solutions to problems may be the determining factor in compromise.


12. Decision making
Good negotiators can act decisively during a negotiation. It may be necessary to agree to a compromise during a bargaining arrangement. You need to be able to react decisively. Keep in mind that your decisions may have lasting effects on yourself or your company. It is important to think through your options carefully without overthinking your decision. Going back and forth between your options without a clear answer might bring unnecessary stress.


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