The 7 business negotiation skills you need to master

Are you looking to improve your business negotiation skills? We can help. Read this negotiation training for a handful of ideas to help you second-guess your next negotiation.

In this article, we cover:

  • Successful negotiation techniques
  • Do’s and don’t’s of business negotiation
  • How to become a master of negotiation

Negotiation is a broad term that ranges from arguing to discussing. Friends negotiate with each other as well as enemies, and decision-making is a part of everyday life that each of us has to deal with both separately and collectively.

You don’t have to go to business school to be a good negotiator, but studying business negation skills with surely help you develop a good negotiation style and help you become a master deal maker.

Do you have a small business? Here are some communication skills for business success that will help you create the best possible outcome when sitting at the negotiation table. So sit back, relax, and use the following tips to help your startup/business gain success using systematic techniques proven to work.

Tough Talks D

Finding understanding, not agreement

Good negotiators build rapport with all parties involved in a business deal, so nobody feels uncomfortable or treated unfairly. Look at the United Nations, for example. Although the UN is composed of many different nations with different beliefs, they still manage to create an understanding of basic human rights, and they use collective discussion to help resolve issues throughout the world despite their differences.

It’s always good to be aware of your BATNA, or the best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Creating a fallback plan allows for you to not be let down if the situation doesn’t go your way, and it will also give you more confidence in chasing for what you want. Did the negotiation not go your way? The BATNA is your back door for getting what you want through a different means.

Effective communication allows for two parties to see eye to eye. Two people might not completely agree about something, but if they can define their points of agreement, then good things typically always happen.

business negotiation skills 400x350-1

Identifying a clear purpose

Problem-solving starts with clarifying the purpose of negotiation, or verbal communication. There are many reasons for negotiating, from deciding where to go on vacation to deciphering who to invest more money in. Negotiation falls in both our professional and personal lives, so defining what you want out of a scenario helps you both at work and home. We say find your reason, and go for it in any aspect of life.

The bottom line in business negotiation is that you want something, and you need to figure out how to get it. If the other party involved doesn’t even know exactly what you want, it’s impossible to get it. Manifesting what you want may not mean that you get it, but it will take you to the next step of action sooner than if you beat around the bush.

For most people, their purpose for business negotiation is gaining more of something, and the best negotiation happens when both parties benefit from the deal. In any case, use assertive verbal communication to lay things out in black and white at the bargaining table.

Maintaining emotional control

Taking setbacks in stride is a quality of an excellent negotiator. Considering emotional control when negotiating business is huge.

If you can’t control yourself when negotiating a deal, then how will you control somebody else’s decisions? Just read what Berkeley University has to say about emotions, and see how complicated the studies are about emotional control.

Emotional control isn’t complicated (although many people struggle with it). The best way to control yourself emotionally is by asking yourself what you are feeling. If you can identify why you feel the way you feel, it allows you to see it from a third-person perspective rather than reacting irrationally or extreme in response to a certain event.

For example, it’s sometimes wise to grimace or dismiss a low-ball offer with the wave of a hand, but don’t let another person’s attempt to control you knock you off your rocker. Keeping your cool at all times in the negotiation is an absolute must, so avoid pounding on the table with demanding notions at all costs.


Body language and confidence are what separates a successful negotiator from an amateur. There’s no need to be arrogant. That can even lose your fellow negotiator’s drive to make a deal with you, but if you have an air of confidence it’s easier to control the situation.

Not only do you need to be confident, but you also need to have confidence in your trade. In other words, you need to be the best at what you do. Having the skill and experience helps your confidence, and also gives you the knowhow to back it up. If you’re not the most experienced person in the room, what is your expertise? Find something in your experience or skillset to feel confident in.

Skilled negotiators use confidence as an influential motivator on other people. Pay attention the next time you’re in the room with a successful person. Are they confident? And how does their confidence affect the people around them? You’ll find that successful people confidently interact with others, and their outgoing personality tends to wear off on everyone else around them.

Knowing yourself and your communication style

Keep track of yourself before you start analyzing your opposing negotiation. Knowing your own tendencies means you can double down on your strengths and correct your weaknesses (or things that may be perceived as weaknesses). You may even decide to record your voice, actions, and tendencies for further self-evaluation.

Another way you can study yourself is by taking a personality test. There are countless different personality tests that you could take in an attempt to learn about yourself, so try a few. Don’t get too convinced by any particular personality test, take them all with a grain of salt, but they can be a valuable tool to get you thinking.

Once you know your personality, finding your own negotiation style shouldn’t be hard. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and successful negotiators are aware of their weaknesses in an uncanny form.

business negotiation skills 400x350-2Careful listening (aka don’t be a motor mouth)

Develop active listening skills to impress the person on the other side of the negotiation. Saying too much to a good negotiator could quickly get put you in a weaker position, and that’s not the ideal. You don’t want to give up too much information or play your cards too early.

You may want to say a bit more if the point you’re trying to get across is extremely important. Otherwise, listening is the best way you can influence the result of a negotiation.

What if the person you’re negotiating with isn’t very talkative? That’s where you need to start asking questions. Think of (or even jot down) any question you can to throw down in a conversation to become more familiar with the person you’re negotiating with.

Situational control

You want to be in control, and if you can’t have control, you can’t win the argument/discussion. Paradoxically, being a control freak isn’t having control and will likely harm others’ perception of you. It’s your job to stay in control of the situation without being hostile.

One simple way you can control the situation is by smiling. Oxford University confirms that smiling is in fact contagious, and Berkely University talks about how it’s easy for us to ‘catch’ emotions from the people around us. Therefore, sending a contagious smile to the opposing negotiator is a first step in controlling your situation.

Controlling the situation means you must have impeccable self-efficacy, or the confidence in your ability to handle difficult situations. Instead of seeing negotiation as a threat, successful entrepreneurs see constructive conflict as an opportunity to better their situation. The fewer variables there are, the better. But even better? Plan for the variables so you can stay calm and in control when they arise.


Abraham Lincoln advocated persistence because it helped him overcome difficulties. A big part of successful persistence is not getting distracted. According to, Honest Abe states that “You can not fail in any laudable object, unless you allow your mind to be improperly directed”.

Sure, being persistent is a repellant for certain personality types who stand in your opposition, so deciphering who to be persistent with and who to leave alone will help you create a win-win situation either way. Some people will fold into your persistence because they know you’re right, and others will get bored of your rambling and cut ties.

Negotiating from start to finish

From the time you wake up in the morning, to the time you lay your head on that pillow, virtually everything is a negotiation. Some scenarios might carry more significance from others, but the strategy for handling them is all the same.

Remember, you should be the one who decides when the negotiation is over. Don’t let the other person leave if you haven’t got what you wanted. And don’t be afraid to leave a situation if you don’t get what you want. Chances are, there’s someone out there who will succumb to your effective negotiation if your current situation is a struggle. Good luck!