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Top 5 Negotiation Skills You Must Learn to Succeed

Dec 20

Your ability to negotiate is important to keep you on the winning side. Negotiation skills are vital to achieving your objectives, reaching agreements, getting along with people and ultimately being more successful in what you do. Most importantly, your negotiation skills can help prevent conflict from escalating, thereby saving organizations the trouble of having to deal with conflicts and disputes in the long term.


In any organization, it's important to have leaders who have strong negotiation skills. If you want to be one, here are some of the most important negotiation skills you must learn to succeed.


  1. Communication skill


This is a critical skill that every negotiator should possess. To be a negotiation expert, you need to have the ability to clearly communicate what you are hoping to achieve at the negotiation table. It lets you participate in a civil discussion with the other party toward achieving an agreeable outcome. 


It's impossible to come up with a deal if parties are arguing instead of negotiating. There has to be a give or take. With this in mind, you should know how to listen and articulate your thoughts while considering what the other party has to say. 


In negotiation, it's important that you clearly communicate your viewpoints, preferences and perspectives civilly and be able to persuade the other party of their convictions. You won't be able to do these things if you don't have strong communication skills.

  1. Emotional Intelligence


Your emotions can significantly impact the overall outcome of a negotiation. What's important is not to let your emotions get in the way of coming up with a deal that is mutually beneficial to the parties involved. For instance, your positive emotions could significantly increase your feelings of trust at the bargaining table, which in turn could have a positive and negative effect on you. On the other hand, negative emotions such as nervousness could also impact how you articulate your ideas.


To be a good negotiator, you need a high degree of emotional intelligence to read the emotions of the person on the other end of the negotiation table. This allows you to easily pick up what they are implying even if they don't explicitly say it.

  1. Planning skill


Planning your strategy with a clear vision of what you hope to achieve is essential to the success of your negotiation. Without proper planning, you could overlook important aspects of the deal.


When planning, you need to consider your zone of possible agreement (ZOPA) also known as a bargaining zone. This is the zone where both parties can find common ground. A positive ZOPA is present if both parties agree to overlap while a negative ZOPA exists when no one wants to compromise and the terms don't overlap.


In the planning stage, you also need to understand the best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA). If your negotiation falls on a negative ZOPA, your BATNA serves as your alternative plan if the negotiation is not successful. Knowing your BATNA while still in the planning stage ensures that you have a backup plan to avoid going home empty-handed.

  1. Value-creation skill


This skill is one of the most powerful skills that you need to possess to be an effective negotiator. Simply put, in every negotiation, each party would want a bigger slice of the pie. Your value-creation skill allows you to think of an idea of how to grow the pie instead of how to grow the slice you can take. With a bigger pie, each party can get more value.


  1. Strategic skill


A good negotiator should also have a clear understanding of the different negotiation tactics. Knowing the different negotiation methods and identifying what works and what will not under the situation help you plan a strategy that would result in a favorable outcome. 


If you want to develop your negotiation skills, Change Works can help you. We have a program designed to master the art of negotiation that is essential for your business success and for developing meaningful relationships.