Personality Traits All Good Negotiators Have in Common

There is one thing most people can agree on: Successful negotiation is no easy feat.  This is a skill that most people would love to improve.  Although there are hundreds of books about how to negotiate more effectively, sometimes this advice can be difficult to apply because the ability to negotiate has a lot to do with personality.   Some personality traits are indicative of good negotiation potential.  This isn’t to say that others can’t be good negotiators, but their success will depend largely on their ability to understand their own personality and build on those traits that are essential for negotiating successfully.  Nobody has all the traits of a world-class negotiator but the following skills are worth developing if you want to improve your negotiation skills.

Patience is the act of bearing pain or trials without complaint or frustration. In this day and age where immediate gratification is expected, the single most important word that a negotiator needs to remember is patience. Patience is the one thing that allows both sides to work through things that might be preventing the deal from happening.  When you slow down your natural desire to rush through the process, you give yourself time to fully understand the needs of your counterpart.  If you want to be successful you have to remember that being refused, delayed, or criticized is part of life.  Success comes to those who are patient.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.  In other words, you need to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.  In a negotiation, empathy is important because it allows you to see the other’s perspective and conduct the negotiation in a way that is beneficial for both parties. It is the foundation for good communication and is a necessary trait for great negotiators.

Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles- both of which are necessary for others to trust you in a negotiation.  A negotiation is more than just a discussion or a signed agreement.  It is an unwritten judgment on the character and integrity of the participants.  Without integrity, no deal has very much value.  It is a necessary component for good negotiations.

Flexibility in negotiations refers to the willingness to change or modify.  You have probably set your goals and devised a negotiation strategy but midway through the negotiation, you realize the discussion isn’t going the way you had planned.  The key to closing the deal is learning to be flexible and modifying the situation.  If one approach doesn’t work, try another.  All good negotiators understand the need to be flexible.

Stamina is the ability to sustain prolonged mental effort.  Great negotiators are willing to keep working and moving right along when others seem to give up.    They know that you can’t win if you give up the fight.  Stamina is an important attribute of all great negotiators.