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The Importance of Negotiation Skills

Happy woman leader coach mentor talking to employees at meeting

The importance of negotiation skills is present in every sphere of life, but these skills are particularly important in the business world. The ability to negotiate well is a highly coveted leadership skill in today’s competitive market. For executives, sales managers, and other high visibility positions, negotiation skills are essential. Having strong negotiation skills can be the difference between closing a lucrative deal or a loss.  Businesses increase not only their bottom line but also goodwill when they engage in successful negotiations.

Negotiation skills are useful not only in our professional lives but are also helpful in daily life. Learning to negotiate effectively involves acquiring a variety of relationship management skills including communication, strategy development, persuasion, conflict resolution, decision-making, and rapport building.  Specifically, in order to achieve successful outcomes, negotiators must analyze a problem taking into account the interests of each party and identify the priorities of its counter-party. A skilled negotiator plans for the negotiation well in advance, looking for areas of mutual interest, synergies, and researching their counterparty to find commonalities to discuss before the bargaining session starts.

Successful negotiators listen attentively to the other party. This involves verbal communication and also reading body language. Active listening is very important to find areas of mutual interest and gauge when your counterparty is on board or reject your proposal.  Negotiators must not only communicate clearly during the negotiation to avoid misunderstandings, but a skilled negotiator will also know how to use language to influence their counterparty with deliberate framing.

A skilled negotiator must be able to state his reasoning using objective criteria that are acceptable to the counterparty in order to obtain the desired outcome. Effective negotiators are competent collaborators, viewing their counter-party as a team member. They use strong social skills to maintain a good relationship with all those who are involved in the negotiation. This helps in maintaining a positive atmosphere during the negotiation and after.

The importance of negotiation skills cannot be overstated. That’s why, as a business skill, negotiation is here to stay. By understanding why negotiation is important in business, and prioritizing having good negotiators on your team, you create the perfect environment for business success.  When parties to a negotiation feel they have accomplished their goal, not only are they more likely to uphold the agreement, the door remains open for future business transactions.

View a webinar on Winning Negotiation Strategies for the Professional Deal-Maker, here.