Best Practices for Business Negotiations

Whether you are looking to close a high-profile business deal or trying to increase your salary at a new job, strong negotiation skills are critical in the business world. Developing effective negotiation skills takes a great deal of effort and practice, but can pay huge dividends in your professional career. So, what are the best negotiation tactics and how can you master them? Here are some best practices to keep in mind when fine tuning your negotiation skills. 


One of the most important principles of effective negotiation is preparation. Research the person you will be negotiating with as well as the organization they represent. Learn everything you can about what problems or challenges they face, what deals they have made in the past, and what is motivating them. The more insight you gain about your counterpart, the better solutions you will be able to provide. 

Be an Active Listener

All too often negotiators make the mistake of doing too much talking and not enough listening. In order to be a successful negotiator, you must learn to restrain your desire to persuade the other person and take the time to genuinely listen to their needs. Not only does listening give you pertinent information about how to secure a win-win deal, but it also helps strengthen your relationship with your counterpart. The most effective negotiators follow the 80/20 rule: listen 80% of the time and talk 20% of the time. 

Be Open and Flexible

While it’s important to have goals in mind when entering into negotiations, you also need to be open to a variety of options. If you go into a negotiation with a closed mind, you may miss an unexpected opportunity. Instead, be flexible and open to other ideas. 

Negotiate with a Win-Win Approach

Some negotiators are so preoccupied with achieving their own goals that they lose sight of the bigger picture. That’s why it is so important to approach negotiations with a win-win approach. This involves understanding and appreciating how the deal can be beneficial to both parties. Arriving at a mutually agreeable conclusion sets the stage for better negotiations in the future. 

Don’t Get Caught Up in Emotions

When it comes to business negotiations, you never want to let your emotions get the better of you. Not only can it interfere with your judgment, but it can hinder your ability to reach an agreement altogether. Remember to separate the person from the issue and keep your emotions in check at all times.