The Do’s and Don’ts of Business Negotiations

Whether you are trying to increase your salary, propose a new solution for your company, or settle a high-profile business deal, strong negotiation skills are a must in today’s business world. That said, negotiation is an art form that takes time to master. Most business owners and entrepreneurs would admit that it took quite a bit of trial and error to develop a successful negotiation strategy. The problem with this approach, however, is that even a single failed negotiation can be detrimental to your company. That’s why it is so important for business owners, managers, and employees alike to pay close attention to the do’s and don’ts of negotiation. 


1.Do prepare.

One of the most important negotiation strategies is preparation. Prior to the negotiation, take time to research the person with whom you will be speaking, the organization they work for as well as general information about the industry, and also competitors and deals they have made in the past. A lack of preparation can cost you time, money, and credibility.

2. Do set goals.

It is important to clarify your goals and objectives before you begin negotiations. You want to have a clear understanding of your desired outcomes. This will help you plan and prepare a proper negotiation strategy. In addition to understanding your own goals, it is also important to understand the goals and desired outcomes of your counterpart so you can aim toward a win-win solution.

3. Do know your bottom line. 

Before entering into any negotiation you need to clearly define your bottom line. Once you do, you have to promise yourself that you will not stray from it, regardless of the pressure you feel from the other side. Setting a bottom line will allow you to know when to step back and when to push forward in a negotiation. 

4. Do listen to others. 

One of the most important things a successful negotiator can do is listen. When you are eager to strike a deal, it can be tempting to do all the talking. However, the most effective negotiators follow the 80/20 rules: Listen 80% of the time and talk 20% of the time.

5. Do use a friendly approach.

When it comes to business negotiations, courtesy and friendliness goes a long way. Take the time to make a little small talk and find common ground with the other party. Smile and be polite and respectful when someone else is speaking. This will lead to smoother negotiations and a better outcome for everyone involved. 


1. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you.

Business negotiations should never be taken personally. Therefore, you should never let your emotions dictate your approach or behavior. Stay calm and friendly, even if the other person is not. Don’t be afraid to take breaks if necessary to calm tensions in the room. 

2. Don’t be intimidated.

Some people rely on intimidation tactics to get their way in a negotiation. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by someone who makes threats, raises their voice, or tries to bully you. Stay calm and request for substantive data that will support their claims. 

3. Don’t give something away without getting something in return. 

Negotiations often involve concessions but this is bi-lateral. Make sure that any time you make a concession that your counterpart reciprocates. 

4. Don’t make unreasonable demands.

It’s important to remember that negotiations require give and take so you can’t have an “all-or-nothing” attitude. The best negotiators understand the importance of focusing on a mutually beneficial solution. 

5. Don’t underestimate your worth.

Never underestimate what you and your organization have to offer your counterpart. Write down a list of awards, accomplishments, achievements, or strengths before going into the negotiation and keep these in mind as you advocate for yourself and your company.