When you think of negotiation skills, you may immediately think of salespeople and politicians. But, regardless of what your job is, you will most likely need to negotiate at some point.
In fact, you will probably also have to negotiate and compromise in your personal life as well. Few people have the key negotiation skills needed to maximize their odds of success in the workplace. Many complain about how ineffective their salary negotiations are.
But, anyone can learn how to master the negotiation process. Those who become effective negotiators often see their passion, productivity, and satisfaction rise significantly.
In this article, we will outline why becoming a stronger negotiator is so crucial and how you can acquire this essential skill.
What Are Negotiation Skills?
Before you dive deep into trying to acquire complex negotiation strategies, you should understand what negotiation abilities truly are. In general, negotiation skills are any ability that helps you reach a compromise with someone.
Negotiation is the ability to come to an agreement or compromise after a dispute. You get something you truly desire, and the other individual gets something they truly desire. It is an agreeable solution to the problem, and it avoids conflict.
In fact, negotiation and compromise do not necessarily have to mean you give something up. In some circumstances, using your critical thinking skills, you could find a way for both sides to get what they desire without missing out on anything.
Whether you are a student, a new employee, or the CEO of a company, knowing how to use negotiation is crucial. Being a skilled negotiator will help you reach great deals with your customers, benefiting both of you in the long run. However, many different kinds of skills are included under the broad category of “negotiation.”
Why Is it Important To Recognize Negotiation Skills & Their Benefits?
It is important to find and acknowledge your unique combination of negotiation skills. Negotiation skills are used every day by the best business leaders and employees who think critically.
Negotiation helps individuals get the greatest deal for both them and their clients. Although people who consistently negotiate are sometimes viewed negatively, these skills are definitely worth focusing on.
Specifically, some of the benefits you can gain include:
- An increase in both profits in revenue due to you being more productive.
- Building stronger bonds with clients and boosting your trust. Forming long-lasting relationships.
- Establishing solutions that last for the long term, rather than creating short fixes.
- Boosting your ability to set clearer goals and achieve the goals you set.
- Helping you acquire jobs that you truly enjoy.
- Increasing your motivation, passion, vigor, and positivity when at work.
- Boosting your self-confidence (but also your self-awareness) and helping you make calculated risks with clients.
- Decreases your stress and increases your commitment to your work.
- Helps you prevent potential problems that come along with settling for less than you deserve.
10 Examples of Negotiation Skills
After viewing the plethora of benefits that come along with gaining negotiation skills, you are probably interested in acquiring these abilities. But, what exactly are the skills included under the broad category of “negotiation”? There are many different negotiation skills.
The ones that you want to focus on could change the way you approach your negotiation skill-building journey.
Specifically, some of the top negotiation skills out there are:
Knowing How To Bargain
Everyone has a different approach to negotiation. However, bargaining is probably one of the most well-known forms of negotiation. You see it happening at sales events and markets all the time: someone knows they can get a better deal, and they push for it.
However, bargaining requires some serious skill. If you ask for too great of a discount, the merchant will ignore you. Too small of an ask, and you aren’t getting the best deal. Bargaining can help you acquire cheaper materials for your business, too.
Having strong bonds with your suppliers, coworkers, bosses, and/or clients will be extremely helpful when trying to be a better negotiator. If you have a strong rapport built up, you will feel more comfortable asking someone for a discount or asking them for a favor. Even a short conversation, if done really effectively, can boost your odds of acquiring a favorable outcome in a bargaining arrangement, for instance.
Learning From Mistakes
Negotiation requires you to be brave and take some risks. Sometimes, those risks will not work out exactly as you had hoped. You will make mistakes. But, the key is to react appropriately to them. Reflect back on why certain poor negotiation outcomes occurred.
Did you not build enough rapport in the beginning of the conversation? Maybe you pushed for your goals too intensely. Regardless, learning from your mistakes is far better than ignoring them or stressing over them.
Active Listening Skills
When you think of negotiation, you probably think of someone who speaks often and pushes for their interests. While this is certainly a part of negotiating, you must also be a great listener. Active listening involves hearing your partner speak, engaging them in a conversation, and trying to understand their point of view. This allows you to suggest compromises that the other individual is more likely to agree to.
Asking Great Questions
You have probably been told that there is no such thing as a stupid question. However, consider this: if an arrogant student asks a teacher how to perform a simple problem, this reflects they do not understand the basics of a topic. This makes them seem unprepared.
So, although the question is not stupid, it’s certainly not a great reflection on that individual. On the other hand, if you ask great questions, you will seem engaged and interested.
Avoiding Anchoring Bias
Anchoring bias is paying too much attention to the first statement or suggestion someone makes while ignoring or placing less weight on statements made afterward.
Consider all suggestions someone gives you to be equal. This is a skill for negotiations of all types, whether you are purchasing food in a market or trying to create a business partnership. Overcoming this physiological phenomenon takes discipline, but it can help you get great deals in the long run.
Thinking In The Long Term
What may be great for you in the short term might not give you the most benefits in the long term. For instance, one agreement could give you hundreds of dollars up-front, but another trusted partner could wait and give you thousands in a month. Those that know how to avoid temptation and control their urges become the most successful negotiators.
Staying In Control Of Your Emotions
Even in difficult situations, great negotiations stay in control of their emotions. They know that showing too much stress or negative emotions can make their partner less likely to come to a consensus on core issues. It could also make you seem immature depending on the context of the scenario. By staying in control of your emotions, you can also think more clearly and analytically.
While letting your emotions get the better of you is clearly not ideal, you could also use your emotions to your benefit. Negotiations that are passionate and lively tend to be more convincing. They seem more engaged in the conversation and are better at encouraging the client to listen to them.
Those who never show any passion or positive emotions tend to get boring for clients, and they may also lose track of your suggestions as a result.
As previously mentioned, some clients can get confused if you suggest too many options at once. You need to know how to time your negotiation strategy. Those who can communicate clearly and specifically generally have a better grasp of the negotiation process. They stay in control of the conversation while still listening to the other side. This balance is what allows for the most effective negotiation.
How To Identify & Master Negotiation Skills
After reading the previously mentioned benefits, you could be quite impressed. And you should be! Negotiation skills can help you in many different ways.
But, how exactly does one go about acquiring them? Can it only be done through decades of practice, investment, and more? Can only certain individuals become great at making successful negotiations?
Luckily, anyone can build negotiation skills. In fact, you already have some skills that can help you succeed as a negotiator. And, finding those skills does not have to be a hassle. A fantastic way to explore your strengths is by taking a quick and easy online strengths assessment.
There are many available online, but the HIGH5 test is one of the best. The HIGH5 will not only show you your negotiation abilities but you will also get a list of your overall strengths. And best of all, it is completely free!
Another way you could identify your negotiation skills is by noticing what helps you create the best outcomes when negotiating. When you have a customer, do you do anything special to see things from the customer’s perspective? Think about your greatest deals.
What did you do differently to acquire those great deals? You probably used one of your strengths. Notice if there is a pattern, and if there is, you can identify your top strength. This is a bit more difficult and time-consuming than just taking the HIGH5 test, though.
How To Improve Negotiation Skills in The Workplace
After you take the HIGH5 test or find another way to recognize your negotiation skills, the next step of skill development is trying to improve your strengths. This is quite different from the standard way of approaching skill development: the weakness-oriented strategy.
Try to avoid this strategy when you are trying to improve your negotiation abilities. It will likely decrease your confidence and could also stop you from achieving your negotiation goals.
On the other hand, what you should do is focus on building upon your existing negotiation skills. Take every opportunity you can to use your strengths. After all, practice does make perfect, or close to it.
If you know that active listening and communication are your top skills, seek out opportunities for you to communicate with others. Attend many networking events, for example. If you know that you are a great bargainer, practice your bargaining skills by visiting local markets or bargaining with street food sellers. Even visiting garage sales could be helpful.
You should also make sure that your goals are extremely clear before you start to improve your strengths. Ask yourself: why do you want to become a great negotiator? This can give you a feeling of purpose behind your hard work, boosting your dedication and motivation.
How To Highlight Negotiation Skills In Resume & Job Interview
After you develop a skill, it is natural to want to show it off. What better way to do so than by adding your newly acquired negotiation skills to your resume? Well, convincing an employer you have a skill is a bit more complex than just saying you do. Remember: these individuals do not know you yet. They will not just trust your words without any proof.
So, when writing your resume, try to include specific evidence to prove you do indeed have negotiation skills. One of the best ways to do this is by including examples of you using negotiation skills during your prior jobs.
Specifically state how you used these skills, and how your prior organization benefitted from your negotiation. This will show the employer what you bring to a team and how you could benefit their company.
If you have any statistics, including them makes your statement even more powerful. For example, you could state that after using your negotiation skills to land a client, your prior company’s revenue increased by 10%.
Use a similar strategy when you are performing a job interview. Be specific when they ask you questions relating to your skills. Describe prior moments when your negotiation truly made a big difference in your company’s (or department’s) success.
If you can add statistics, do so here as well. And, be lively as well as enthusiastic when describing these prior successes. This will show the positive energy you can bring to the company.
Bonus Tip: How To Make The Best Deal In Procurement Using Negotiation Skills
To get the best deal in procurement, you want to perform some planning in advance. Prepare a budget if you have one. Get together any lists of items you must acquire and generally get yourself organized. Think about what is important to acquire from this deal before you meet your potential partner.
Next, clearly share the goals of the deal with your potential partner. Outline the plan you have in mind for this agreement. Listen to them about their goals as well. Remember that active listening is as important as clear communication when it comes to being a skilled negotiator.
After that, ask questions if necessary. Make sure you are both clear on what both sides of the deal desire. Now, it is time for you to give your proposition. Based on what you know about the supplier’s goals and your own, create a potential plan of action and share it with the other side. They will likely do the same.
If the deal goes well, the supplier will simply accept the proposition you give. It is more likely, though, that you will have to bargain. Think about the compromises you are willing to make and give suggestions to the other side. They will likely be willing to make some compromises, too.
The next two steps are the most exciting. After you both make some compromises and reach a consensus, you can create an agreement. The desired outcome has finally been reached, so sign a document or simply shake hands.
Negotiation Skills FAQs
What is a good negotiation skill?
Negotiation skills are abilities that help you acquire the best deals and most success, both for you and your clients. Almost every negotiation skill will benefit you and be “good.” But, the best negotiation skills for you would probably differ from someone else’s best negotiation skills.
In general, some of the best negotiation skills include active listening, great bargaining, long-term thinking, clear communication, relationship building, learning from mistakes, asking great questions, and far more.
What are the 7 rules of negotiation?
Everyone has a different style of negotiation. Even the top business leaders of the era negotiate slightly differently from one another. But, there are some rules you should keep in mind when trying to be a better negotiator.
The top seven principles for negation are: being clear with what you want to accomplish, planning before you meet your negotiation partner, trying to understand your partner’s desires and point of view, attempting to create solutions that benefit both you as well as your partner, waiting for your partner to respond before making another proposition, clearly declining unfair or mean-hearted propositions, and not getting emotionally attached to any deals (as well as also being honest!).
What is the key to successful negotiation?
Negotiation works differently for each individual. To find your unique key to successful negotiation, you must experiment. Every client will have different desires, but you should always try to understand your partner when you are trying to negotiate.
Ensure you actively listen to them and incorporate some empathy into your negotiation if you can. A general rule to keep in mind is that 2/3 of the time you spend negotiating should be dedicated to listening, and 1/3 of the time you should be speaking.
When you do speak, ensure you are clear and specific. Plan some of the topics you will bring up in advance so you are not lost when the negotiation begins.