What are negotiation skills?

Negotiation skills refer to the ability to communicate back and forth, for the purpose of reaching a joint agreement about differing needs or ideas. Negotiation is a collection of behaviours that involves communication, sales, marketing, psychology, sociology, assertiveness and conflict resolution.

A negotiator may be a buyer or seller, a customer or supplier, a boss or employee, a business partner, a diplomat or a civil servant. On a more personal level negotiation takes place between spouse’s friends, parents or children.

7 basic principles common to all forms of negotiation

  1. There is a minimum of 2 parties involved in the negotiation process. There exists some common interest, either in the subject matter of the negotiation or in the negotiating context, that puts or keeps the parties in contact.
  2. Though the parties have the same degree of interest, they initially start with different opinions and objectives which hinders the outcome in general
  3. In the beginning, parties consider that negotiation is a better way of trying to solve their differences.
  4. Each party is under an impression that there is a possibility of persuading the other party to modify their original position, as initially, parties feel that they shall maintain their opening position and persuade the other to change.
  5. During the process, the ideal outcome proves unattainable but parties retain their hope of an acceptable final agreement.
  6. Each party has some influence or power – real or assumed – over the other’s ability to act.
  7. The process of negotiation is that of interaction between people – usually, this is a direct and verbal interchange.

Characteristics of an effective negotiator

  • Good learner and observer.
  • Understands the body language of the people in the negotiation process.
  • Is open and flexible and yet firm.
  • Exercises great patience, coolness, and maturity.
  • Possesses leadership qualities.
  • Controls emotions and not show his/her weaknesses.
  • Bargains from the position of strength.
  • Anticipates the pros and cons of each move and its repercussions.
  • Creates the momentum for the negotiations and must know when and where to exit by closing the talks successfully.
  • Builds trust and confidence.
  • Has clear cut goals and objectives.
  • Radiates energy and enthusiasm and empathises with his/her opponents.
  • Is a patient listener.

ThinkTalent’s Advanced Negotiation Skills Programme helps to develop these skills to use on a daily basis at work.


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