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How to Improve Negotiation Skills?

The article deals with the ways how a person can improve negotiation skills. Use our pieces of advice and recommendations.

how-to-improve-negotiation-skills

Absolutely everyone must know how to negotiate efficiently.

You constantly use negotiation skills – at home, work, in a shop…

And not only with other people – you have to negotiate with yourself very often.

In any situation, when you try to patch up a rift, to level the differences, to settle the conflict, to influence people, to create and improve relationships, you to enter into negotiations.

Negotiations are one of the most important games in life and business.

They determine the character of your relations with other people.

When you master negotiation skills, you can improve the results of the communication with other people a lot.

So, let’s try to figure out how to improve negotiation skills.

Which skills you are obliged to improve in order to negotiate successfully?


Efficient negotiators with high emotional intelligence possess three important negotiation skills:

  1. The skill called The Scanner.

    Improve the skill to analyze your own emotions, the dynamics of the negotiation process, emotional condition of an opponent in negotiation.

    It will allow you negotiating flexibly and efficiently, even during difficult and critical situations.

    In order to improve this competence, everyone should ask himself the following questions:

    • Which emotions I have during the negotiation?
    • Are the emotions I experience while negotiating adequate?
    • Are they helping me to negotiate or prevent me from negotiating?

    Even simple observation of your feelings can lessen the emotional channel.

    • What happens with the negotiation process?
    • Are we moving ahead or making no headway?
    • Which emotions does my interlocutor have during the negotiation?
    • Do they assist in progress of negotiations or deadlock them?
  2. The skill called The Secret-service agent.


    A professional negotiator clarifies the position of the opponent, diagnoses his deep interests and principle values.

    It’s not a secret that the position may differ from the opponent’s values and interests.

    If a negotiator is clearing out the position of the negotiation’s opponent, he will ask the qualifying questions.

    For example, during signing of the contract for goods delivery they will be the following:

    • How much do they cost?
    • How big is the parcel?
    • How fast will they deliver the goods?
    • How can I pay for them?
    • Have I cleared out all parameters of a negotiation situation?
    • Are there any other special conditions?

    If a professional negotiator is revealing the opponent’s interests, values, worries and fears, he will use the questions about values, sense and reasons:

    • What is the most important for you?
    • Which criteria do you use to choose a supplier?
    • Is it the question of principle?
    • Under what circumstances will you work with us?
    • What will it give to you?
    • What are you afraid of?
    • What causes your concerns?
    • What is the risk for you?
  3. The skill called The Driver.

    Controlling the course of negotiations and managing your emotions as well as opponents’ emotions.

    In the course of negotiations a professional negotiator knows how to switch on the needed emotions, which correspond to the set goals and improve the negotiation situation.

    Our emotions, if they are strong enough, are transmitted to the negotiation’s opponent (the theory of mirror neurons).

    Evoking the needed emotional states in you, another person will start having analogous emotions.

    Here the emotional intelligence skill is a very powerful resource.

    In order to control and rule the opponent’s emotions and the course of negotiation itself, I suggest you asking yourself the following questions:

    • Am I successful in controlling the opponent’s emotions?
    • Am I controlling the course of negotiation?
    • Am I reaching my goals?
    • Do I rule the negotiation?

    An efficient negotiator rules the opponent’s emotions using the whole arsenal of techniques. In order to achieve the results he uses verbal as well as non-verbal influence.

6 simple pieces of advice on how to improve negotiation skills

  1. Listen more than talk.

    The most ironical in being a good interlocutor is that the most important is not the talking.

    Your ability to listen will leave good impression about you.

    Unfortunately, not so many people practice listening and improve this skill.

  2. There is no need to share your experience all the time.

    Good interlocutors do not talk about themselves, when it is not necessary.

    If someone is speaking about the loss of a close relative, you should not say you’ve had experienced the same.

    If someone tells you about his problems at work, you should not tell him how much you hate yours.

    It’s not the same thing. It’s always different.

    Everyone’s experience is individual.

    Moreover, the topic of the conversation is not you.

    You should not use this moment to prove how cool you are or how much you suffered.

    Communication is not a way of self-advertising.

  3. Admit it when you don’t know something.

    improve-negotiation-skills
    Good interlocutors are not afraid to show that they do not understand something.

    If you feel you can’t understand something, you’d better ask: “I wanted to make sure I really understand what you are talking about.

    Can you explain it in other words?”

    Not only that the interlocutor will feel how attentively you listen to him, he will be glad to explain the essence in some unusual way.

    What books to read to become smarter?

  4. Read more and improve the negotiation skills by it.

    Read and learn a lot about various topics: from the situation in the world to the culture events.

    Do not be afraid to switch to more difficult and interesting topics from time to time, because it is sure to enliven the conversation.

    Try to find the points of contact with every person, with whom you communicate and inquire about his views and interests.

    Erudition will allow you thinking and telling stories from different points of view.

    When a businessman wants to support his thought, he often grounds on the idea, point of view or story from the world of business.

    However, all these stories get old very soon.

    Good interlocutors induce the conversation.

    For example, if you speak about efficiency at work, it’ll be quite normal to touch upon the issue of black holes or the ideas from Elizabeth Hilbert’s books, because it somehow correlates with efficiency.

    Using ideas from other spheres is sure to maintain the interest of people and, actually, paradigm’s shift happens this way.

  5. Watch the signals in order to improve the negotiation skills.


    Good interlocutors listen with eyes and watch the changes in body language or in mood, which signal about the change of person’s interest towards the conversation.

    It helps to redirect the conversation in time or to improve something in the process of communication.

    Attention to details allows defining goals or hidden motives of an interlocutor.

  6. Finally, avoid details.

    We all come across the situation when the interlocutor interrupts the discussion in attempts to recall someone’s name or the firm date.

    Small pieces of information overload the speech, that’s why good interlocutors do not pay attention to the dates, names and other tiny details.

    Listener does not care.

    He cares only about you.

    It is important for him what you like and you have in common.

    So, forget about details.

    Simply get rid of them.

How to negotiate in order to use your skills?

to-improve-negotiation-skills

  1. Firstly discuss those questions, in which you have the same view as the interlocutor.

    Then deal with those, where small disagreements may occur and only after it you can pass to more difficult ones.

  2. Control the situation, even if the other party shows emotions.

    At the beginning of the negotiation you should try to stick to the neutral policy.

    Excess emotions may negatively influence on the decision made.

  3. Use the ways of convincing with strong arguments.
  4. Accept the partner’s point of view; be open to his objections and arguments.

    It will allow you coming to the mutual decision.

  5. Keep a written “record” – note on a piece of paper the main ideas, facts and data.
  6. Maintain the contact with the partner, involve him in the discussion of different questions, consult and listen to him.
  7. Give correct information.

    False information complicates the argumentation and lowers partner’s trust.

  8. Treat your partner as a professional in his sphere.
  9. Express your positive emotional spirit, “advance” benevolence.
  10. Demand to the maximum.

    You can always come “down”, but almost never go “up”.

  11. Build “active” phrases.

    Instead of “can consider” say “consider”, instead of “need to prepare” – “prepare”.

  12. Create a feeling that a partner makes a really good deal just as well as you do.

In general, the success of negotiations depends on the spirit of every party involved.

For example, in some cases one party can be too aggressive, in others on the contrary – show no initiative at all and agree in everything.

That’s why you should always adjust your behavior during the business negotiations, choosing the option, which seems optimal under the definite circumstances.

We hope that now you know how to improve negotiation skills and you will easily put them into practice, achieving what you desire.

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