6 Skills of Good Negotiators

We all have unique qualities and skills that we bring to our professional careers.  For some, these skills make us great negotiators, but for others, these skills might hinder our abilities.  While the ability to negotiate may not come naturally for all of us, the good news is that with proper coaching, training, and experience, we can learn to acquire the skills necessary to become great negotiators.  The following are six skills that can help you to become a better negotiator.

  1. Preparation

The best negotiators are those who know things that can go wrong, oftentimes do go wrong.  Negotiation is a process that encompasses several moving parts, all of which can change at any given moment.  Good negotiators expect the unexpected and prepare accordingly.  They prepare for a variety of situations and come prepared to handle each scenario.  This might not always guarantee a successful negotiation, but without good preparation they know they are headed for certain failure.

  1. Patience

The advantage always lies with the patient negotiator. Negotiation can be a complex process that takes time and the person who is patient and persistent is more likely to come out ahead.  Impatient negotiators are so desperate to reach a conclusion that they often end up making costly mistakes.  However, good solutions often come to those who wait.

  1. Listening

There is no doubt that the best negotiators are the ones who spend less time talking and more time asking questions and listening. Gathering information and thoroughly understanding the needs of their counterpart is the best way to build trust and work towards a winning solution for both parties.

  1. Confidence

If you are negotiating with an aggressive party, they will quickly notice your lack of confidence and use it to their advantage.  Great negotiators understand the importance of exuding confidence during a negotiation.  Approaching negotiation with confidence will allow you to take more risks and ultimately end up with more successes.

  1. Emotional Control

It can be easy for some people to get really excited when they sense a negotiation is going well because they know they are close to closing a deal.  Likewise, these same people tend to let their emotions get the best of them and lose focus and their temper when things don’t go their way.  Great negotiators know how to control their emotions in order to stay focused and continue pressing forward with the negotiation.

  1. Flexibility

Negotiation is a process that can be changing at all times.  The opening offer or the counter offer is never the final solution.  Experienced negotiators understand this and know how to be flexible in order to work the deal.  They are prepared to offer a range of solutions rather than a black or white answer.  They propose solutions that will be beneficial to both parties and are more likely to work toward a win-win negotiation.