Negotiation Traditions and Customs You Should Never Ignore

Experienced negotiators are familiar with common practices and etiquette that are widely accepted at the negotiation table. When it comes to negotiating, it is important that all parties adhere to a few common courtesies and understand the basics of negotiation traditions. While there are no formal guidelines for negotiating, there is a generally accepted set of rules that is helpful in maintaining civility throughout the process. It is highly recommended that you become familiar with these practices so you can foster better working relationships with your peers. This will ensure that your counterparts will be willing to negotiate with you again in the future. 

Be Genuine and Respectful

A negotiation should never be seen as a confrontation. While it is perfectly acceptable for both parties to advocate for their positions, the goal should not be to declare a winner and a loser. Rather, the goal of a successful negotiation is to reach a win-win outcome. Therefore, it is important to always have a respectful attitude toward your counterpart. You want the other party to see you as a sincere, honest, and approachable person that would be willing to do business with you again in the future. 

Be a Good Listener

All too often negotiators have a detailed plan of everything they want to say during the meeting but they forget that there are two sides to a negotiation. Even more important than what you want to say, is listening to what the other person has to say. When you take the time to listen, you will learn important information about what is motivating your counterpart and how you can help each other accomplish your goals. You will learn about their point of view, goals, and objectives, and this will help you reach a win-win agreement.

Give Advance Notice

Most professionals do not appreciate ambush negotiations. This is not well received and will most likely not yield the results you want. Rather, you should always establish the time and details of the negotiation in advance and notify everyone involved so both parties have time to prepare. 

Be Fair

Inflexibility is not typically in your favor when it comes to negotiating. If you enter into a negotiation refusing to make concessions and compromise, you will most certainly irritate your counterpart and this can hurt your chances of closing the deal. Instead, you need to be open to conversation and be prepared to offer concessions. Negotiations are a two-way street so you need to be prepared to accept alternative outcomes. 

End Gracefully

Regardless of whether or not the negotiation ends the way you want it to, it’s important to end on a positive note. If possible, you should try to mitigate any negative feelings so you can leave the door open for future negotiations and possible business opportunities.