Become a master of negotiation with these powerful tips

John Sherman

Have you ever met people who seem to have a gift for getting what they want? Do you wish you have that same skill? You can by learning some powerful negotiating tips. The good thing about knowing how and when to negotiate is that you can apply various tactics to produce positive results.


Just imagine, the next time you visit a dealership to purchase a car, you get to drive away spending far less than the sticker price, or you’re able to close a big deal on behalf of your company that everyone thought was impossible. These tips will teach you the right way to negotiate, so you come out on the winning end every time.

Instead of dreading the negotiation process, learn how to use it to your advantage. Especially in the business world, making something happen is an excellent way to prove your value, which could result in a raise, bonus, or promotion. Interestingly, people negotiate on a daily basis, often without even realizing it.

What Is Negotiating?

  • Legitimacy – Virtually everyone wants a good deal, which is one thing that drives the decision whether to negotiate or not. You need to know when to keep negotiating and when to walk away. In other words, only consider legitimate negotiations.
  • Interests – Your basic wants and needs are another driving factor. When interested in something, people tend to negotiate, sometimes without recognizing it.
  • Plan B – When negotiating, you need to have a plan B just in case the deal goes south.
  • Relationship Management – For you to succeed with negotiations, it’s essential you manage the relationship with the other party. Regardless if the individual is a longtime coworker or someone you recently met, the connection you have plays a role in the outcome.
  • Commitment – There’s also a commitment factor involved, whether an offer, demand, promise, or agreement made by you or the other party. When negotiating, you need to commit fully.
  • Options – As for negotiations, options include trades, conditions, and contingencies. The goal is to capitalize on your similarities and differences with the other party.
  • Communication – Regardless of the medium used to negotiate: text message, phone call, email, or an in-person meeting, you need to become an excellent communicator. When negotiating, it’s not about coming across as forceful or threatening, but instead getting answers to questions that give you an advantage over the other party.

Stages of Negotiating

Preparing to Negotiate

In business, preparation is vital. When hosting a meeting, you need to research the topic, create handouts, request a whiteboard or projector, make an invitee list, and so on. The same applies to negotiations.

For this, you need to understand the facts of the situation, making it possible for you to stand your ground when presenting your position. Negotiating blindly will never result in what you want. Preparation not only places you in a stronger position but it also allows you to avoid potential conflict.

Having a Discussion

In this stage of negotiation, you and the other party state your respective sides of the case. Keep in mind that it is imperative you ask the right questions, listen as much as you speak, and clarify anything you don’t understand.

If you know there isn’t going to be a resolution that benefits your organization and you’ll need to readdress the situation at another time, take notes or even record the discussion. That way, you can refer back to this meeting in preparation for another engagement at a later date.

Establishing Goals

Both you and the other party have specific interests, opinions, and goals. Make sure you understand everything, followed by placing them in order of priority. The reason clarification is so crucial is that you might learn something new that gives you an advantage.

The purpose of negotiating is to reach an optimum outcome. While you don’t necessarily want the other party to walk away empty-handed, you want the negotiations to come out in your favor. Depending on the situation, you might find it hard to keep an open mind. However, if you want your negotiations to succeed, you may need to compromise to some degree.

Effective and Powerful Tips

Especially if you’re not a natural born negotiator, the following tips will help you succeed.

Maintain the Right Attitude

There’s a level of discipline that goes hand-in-hand with negotiations. Even if you feel strongly about your position, it’s essential you maintain the right attitude. Remind yourself that negotiating is a method used to settle differences. Ultimately, you want to reach an agreement or at a minimum, compromise while avoiding a dispute or argument.

The outcome of your negotiations depends in part on your attitude about the process, the topic, and the other party. Although you feel passionate about your position, negotiating isn’t a platform for a personal agenda. Keep things professional, respect the other party’s viewpoint, and avoid conflict.

The University of California describes the value of maintaining an excellent attitude as part of the negotiating process, broken down into distinct actions and attitude.

“Negotiation skills include being well-prepared, showing patience, maintaining integrity, avoiding the presumption of evil, controlling our emotions, understanding the role of time pressures, breaking down bigger issues into smaller ones, avoiding threats and manipulative tactics, focusing first on the problem rather than on the solution, seeking for interest-based decisions, and rejecting weak solutions.

Gain Knowledge

The more knowledge you possess on the topic of negotiation the better. With knowledge comes power. During the preparation stage, spend adequate time learning everything you can about the situation and the other party’s position. Developing a strong knowledge base will help you identify opportunities within the discussion, thereby creating an advantage for you.

Enhance Interpersonal Skills

Before you even talk to the other party, consider taking online courses to improve your interpersonal skills. As a result, you’ll become more effective during the negotiating process.

Beyond excellent verbal communication skills, the right training will teach you how to build rapport with the other party, reduce or eliminate misunderstandings, solve any issues that arise, make better decisions, and assert yourself.

Don’t Automatically Accept the First Offer

While you might feel tempted, be cautious about accepting the first offer thrown on the table. An easy yet powerful way to let the other party know you’re not impressed is by reacting verbally or physically. By coming across as surprised that you would even consider it sends a clear message. If the initial offer surpasses your expectations, that’s a clear indicator that you can accomplish more.

Choose Your Words Carefully

While it takes time to learn how to become an excellent negotiator, an excellent tip is to use your words carefully. Regardless of what you’re negotiating, you want your viewpoint to always come across as positive.

As an example, if you sell residential properties and a potential buyer wants the seller to leave behind the Jacuzzi, rather than say they can include it in the price for $2,000, break the cost down into a monthly figure. A better approach is to let the buyers know they can have the Jacuzzi paid off in two years for only $83 a month.

Never Disclose Deadlines

If you let the other party know you need to finalize the negotiation within a specific timeframe, then you’re giving them the upper hand. Instead, use a little more assertiveness and point out the pros of closing the deal with what you want. Without the other party having any clue that you have a tight schedule, you succeed in your quest.

Use an Authority Figure as a Scapegoat

As part of your negotiating strategy, assign to another person the power to make the final decision. With that, you have more time to mull everything over. Especially during a negotiation where you’re sitting “on the fence,” you need the opportunity to ensure your decision to agree is the right one.

At the same time, letting the other party know that someone else has the authority to give the green light applies a little pressure. If there’s one sticking point the other party doesn’t want to budge on, yet that individual knows the deal is a good one, using another person as the scapegoat could prompt them to relinquish the one thing holding them back.

Ask for What You Want

Not asking for what you want is a common negotiating mistake made by a lot of people. Even the best negotiators often start discussions feeling a little on the defensive. For you to succeed in negotiations, remember to assert yourself. In fact, you shouldn’t ever hold back on challenging everything.

You can refuse to take “no” for an answer and still come across as professional and charming. Rely on your newly developed communication and interpersonal skills to accomplish this goal. With a little bit of practice, you’ll soon become a master of negotiation.

Being assertive isn’t the same as showing aggression. By genuinely listening and caring about the other party’s viewpoint, you show respect, whereas having no regard makes you appear aggressive.

As for challenging the various aspects of the deal, the other party expects this just as you anticipate they’ll counter your position. Rather than believing what you hear, learn to think for yourself. Challenging the different aspects of the deal is all part of negotiations.

Put on Your Listening Ears

How many times did you hear that growing up? The same goes for negotiations. It’s worth reemphasizing that listening is sometimes more insightful than talking.

Excellent listening skills actually put you in a position of power. When you listen more than you speak, you learn things that might otherwise remain hidden, including things you can use to benefit your position.

Never Feel Nervous About Walking Away

Allowing pride to enter the picture is another mistake some negotiators make. Remember the comment about not making a negotiation a platform for a personal agenda? Yes, you want to come out the winner, but so does the other party. Unless the deal benefits you in the way you need it to, don’t feel nervous about walking away.

Just because you say “no” doesn’t mean at some point you and the other party can put the negotiations back on the table. Of course, you want to pull out all the stops to prevent that from happening, but if it does, it’s not the end of the world.

Never Rush Negotiations

Even if you have a set deadline, you never want to rush negotiations. Especially when there’s a lot of money involved, you want a controlled process that takes time. While you might think not rushing puts you at a disadvantage, the opposite is true. Often, the other party begins to feel antsy, prompting him or her to sweeten the deal in an effort to get you to make a move.

Reach for the Sky

The more you expect out of negotiations, the more you’ll likely receive. An excellent strategy consists of starting the discussion by putting yourself in an extreme position. Just like buying a car, the seller is going to set the price as high as possible in the hopes of getting it. Based on leading experts in the art of negotiations, aiming high will help you do better.

Focus on the Pressures of the Other Party

Instead of focusing on the pressures you face, turn your attention to those of the other party. Stop working against yourself and work for yourself. How? Learn why the opposing side should give in. If you can identify the pressures of your rival, you can exploit them to help you achieve an optimal outcome.

Along with that, show the other party how meeting your demands benefits them. The best negotiators in the world know success comes from looking at things from the other person’s viewpoint. Rather than trying to win the negotiation, understand the other party, and show them how accepting your offer will help them.

Tit for Tat

With negotiations, you should never give anything away without receiving something in exchange. While this might seem childish, the fact is if you don’t do this, there’s an excellent chance the other party will push for more and more. Feeling entitled puts that individual in a position of power, which you want to avoid at all costs.

Never Take Negotiations Personally

Negotiations sometimes become heated. In the moment, both parties can say things they didn’t mean. Sure, you want to be careful with your words but at the same time, if you hear words that don’t sound nice, don’t take it personally.

Give Yourself an Advantage

At Go1, we serve as a leading Learning Management System with a vast library of podcasts, articles, and videos designed to help you become a successful negotiator. We invite you to visit our site or contact us about membership. Give yourself an advantage, so you win every negotiation, whether big or small.

Go1 helps millions of people in thousands of organizations engage in learning that is relevant, effective and inspiring.
Latest stories and insights