Effective Communication Tactics for Business Negotiations

Negotiation is an important part of business. It’s the way in which businesses form partnerships and put themselves on the right path to growth and success. Whether it’s discussing business deals, resolving conflict, or making important decisions, negotiations are a fundamental part of any business. In order for business negotiations to be successful, it requires effective communication skills. In any negotiation, both parties aim to achieve the best possible outcome and this can only be made possible with effective communication. By utilizing effective communication strategies, negotiators can build trust, learn about each other’s needs, and reach mutually beneficial solutions. Here are some practical tactics and strategies to enhance your communication skills for business negotiations. 

1. Ask Open-Ended Questions

When you sit down at the negotiating table, you want to learn as much as possible about the needs of your counterpart and what is motivating them. The best way to gather this information is by asking questions. Always try to use open-ended questions to get the other party to provide detailed and thoughtful responses. Start your questions with, “where,” “what,” “how,” or “why” to prompt the other person to elaborate on their answer. The more information you can gather, the better you can position yourself for the negotiation. 

2. Practice Active Listening

Believe it or not, what you don’t say is equally as important as what you do say in a negotiation. Oftentimes it’s best to not do all the talking and instead, encourage the other party to do more of the speaking. When you listen to the other party, you not only build trust with them, but you learn pertinent information about their wants and needs. Practice active listening by giving your full attention when others speak, maintaining eye contact, and paraphrasing to ensure you understand. 

3.  Be Mindful of Your Body Language

Communication involves more than just spoken words. In fact, research shows that body language and nonverbal communication has a greater impact in a discussion than the actual words you say. Therefore, if you want to gain the upper hand in a negotiation, be mindful of your body language. Make eye contact, avoid crossing your arms, lean into the person as you speak, and don’t slouch your shoulders. 

4. Mirror Your Counterpart

Mirroring is when one person adopts another person’s body language, vocal tone, and behavior in order to build rapport. For example, if he/she is acting serious, you should act serious. If he/she is speaking with hand gestures, you should include hand gestures. Mirroring helps you connect with the other person and establishes an equal business stature. 

5. Practice Speaking Your Content Beforehand

In addition to outlining your main points and ideas, you should also practice saying your content out loud before the negotiation meeting. Practice reciting your introduction, opening statement, possible rebuttals, and closing statements. Saying it out loud will help you improve your confidence and appear more polished during the actual conversation.