How to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Published on: March 24, 2021 (Updated on: April 22, 2024)

To start with, I'll tell you why you need negotiation skills. Then, we can talk about how to improve your negotiation skills.

How to improve your negotiation skills
Learn to improve your negotiation skills

Why do you need negotiation skills?

Negotiation skills are the qualities possed by an individual that makes it easy for them to come to a compromise or agreement with others while avoiding dispute. The goal at the end of the day is to have a win-win situation.

Here's the thing; the world, generally, is a market place where everyone is either buying or selling something. Some people sell actual products, some others are selling a business pitch. Others sell their competence and professional skills when they go for a job interview and the likes. So, the truth is we all sell and buy. The question is how do you put the best price on what you are selling or trying to get someone to pay you for?

Again, a good negotiator has one goal. It is to reach an agreement that is suitable for both parties. So, you want to make more money on your product or with your professional competence, but it's also important to understand that the other party on the other side of the table wants what's best for them. Creating the best offer that suits both parties is what negotiation is all about.

Now that we understand what and why it is important to develop one's negotiation skills. Let's talk about how to improve them.

How to improve your negotiation skills

1. It starts with effective communication

To be able to negotiate properly, you need to be able to communicate clearly so that people would want to listen to you. Communicating effectively means that you are able to state your desired outcome confidently with a sense of reasoning as well. You also need to be able to communicate in a manner that the other party feels respected, valued and ready to push the negotiation to a favourable position for both parties.

Your communication with people should be able to build trust between both parties. You should also be able to build rapport with them in a way that they can connect with you while still maintaining a professional relationship.

When you are able to communicate effectively, it's easy to find out what the other party's goal is. With that in mind, it'll become easy to reach a friendly agreement or compromise that will leave both parties happy at the end of the day.

2. Know exactly what you want in the negotiation

Know what you want in the negotiation

To improve your negotiation skills, you need to know what you want or intend to propose. Know exactly what you want before you begin the negotiation process.

The problem with not having a goal is that you might end up with something less valuable than what you have to offer in exchange.

So, do your research and be prepared at all times so that you won't ever be caught off guard.

3. Know exactly what you are offering

Know exactly what you are offering

Next to knowing what you want is knowing how much value you intend to offer. Most times when we think of negotiation, we concern ourselves only with what we have to gain, forgetting that it's value for value. Money is a means of exchange of value. So, if you hope to secure a pleasant deal for yourself, then you should be willing to offer a pleasant deal as well. What value are you willing to offer for the amount of money you are negotiating?

So, to improve your negotiation, you have to not only know what you want but also know what you intend to offer.

4. Listen actively during negotiation

Develop active listening skills during negotiation

Active listening involves a person's ability to read body language/non-verbal communication as well as verbal communication.

To improve your negotiation skills, you need to be able to understand the message that the other party is passing across. So, instead of spending the bulk of the time debating or pushing for your interest, spend it listening to them. perhaps, in hearing them out, you will rethink your original position and arrive at an even better alternative.

5. Learn to explore other possibilities while negotiating

It's called negotiations (not conclusion) for a reason. So, don't be too rigid with your decision or standpoint. The truth is that being flexible is the only way to walk out with a satisfactory outcome. Do not approach negotiation with an all or nothing mindset. Explore other possibilities. You might get an offer that aligns with your goals.

Again, negotiation ought to be a win-win situation. So, always approach it with the intention of coming up with an outcome that's best for both parties, even if that means choosing something slightly different from your initial plan.

In a nutshell, create options that you can explore easily.