Negotiation skills

Negotiating successfully

Strong negotiators master written, verbal and non-verbal communication. They adopt a conscious, assertive approach to their communication.

Good negotiators are:

  • flexible
  • creative
  • aware of themselves and others
  • good planners
  • honest
  • win-win oriented
  • good communicators.

Assertive communication

During a negotiation, you may choose to use a passive, aggressive or assertive communication style. Using an assertive style will help increase your chances of negotiating successful outcomes for your business.

Passive communicators are inclined to use ambiguous language, adopt under-confident body language, and give in to demands too easily.

Aggressive communicators take a confrontational approach that tends to alienate other parties and destroy negotiations.

Assertive communicators, however, are both confident and considerate. These communicators are more likely to keep discussion going and facilitate mutually beneficial outcomes. They adopt a strong, steady tone of voice. They are factual, rather than emotional or critical. They describe their views, starting sentences with 'I', rather than direct criticisms starting with 'you'.

Learn about communicating effectively for business.

Tips for effective negotiation


  • confuse negotiation with confrontation – you should remain calm, professional and patient
  • become emotional – remember to stick to the issue, don't make it personal, and avoid becoming angry, hostile or frustrated
  • blame the other party if you can´t achieve your desired outcome.


  • be clear about what you are offering and what you need from the other party
  • be prepared – think about what the other party needs from the deal, and take a comprehensive view of the situation
  • be consistent with how you present your goals, expectations and objectives
  • set guidelines for the discussion and ensure that you and the other party stick to them throughout the entire process
  • use effective communication skills including positive body language
  • prepare for compromise
  • strive for mutually beneficial solutions
  • consider whether you should seek legal advice
  • ask plenty of questions
  • pay attention to detail
  • put things in writing.

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