What are the Essential Skills of a Great Negotiator?

The ability to negotiate is an important part of doing business. Whether you are a job candidate discussing your potential salary or a sales manager trying to land a business deal, you will have far greater success if you learn the art of negotiation. In fact, this is one of the main qualities employers look for when recruiting new employees. While some people have the natural ability to take charge of a conversation and persuade easily, many others aren’t as naturally gifted. However, with time, practice, and dedication, anyone can improve their negotiation skills. If you want to become a better negotiator, consider these essential skills and qualities every successful negotiator must have.


Patience is one of the most important attributes of an effective negotiator. Negotiation is a complex process that takes time, so patience is important because it equates to more time and with more time you can discover key ideas including strengths and weaknesses. It also allows you to discover the other party’s needs and wants. Patience brings more information to the table which, in turn, can equate to more money and a better outcome for everyone. 


Some of the most naturally effective negotiators are children because they possess this important skill. Children are some of the most persistent people on the planet and they just won’t take “no” for an answer. While it is certainly not recommended to act like children when you are in a professional setting, we can still learn from their persistence. When you hear the word “no” in a negotiation, that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. It simply means it’s time to get creative and uncover new solutions. 

Active Listening

The best negotiators know how to listen attentively to the other party during a conversation. They spend far more time listening and asking questions than they do talking. Active listening allows you to gather important information so you can thoroughly understand the needs of your counterpart. When you listen, it also helps to build trust so the negotiation can move forward. 

Emotional Control

It is important that negotiators have the ability to keep their emotions under control during the conversation. It’s easy for things to get heated when negotiations get frustrating but allowing your emotions to take over can worsen the situation. There will be times when you are dealing with difficult personalities but you need to be able to remain calm during the negotiation process. 

Verbal Communication

Great negotiators have the ability to communicate clearly and effectively. They must be able to state their case clearly in order to avoid misunderstandings. 

Problem Solving

Another essential skill for a great negotiator is the ability to find multiple solutions to problems. Instead of only focusing on their own desired outcome, great negotiators look for solutions that benefit both parties.