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What Are Negotiation Skills and How to Improve Them?

Moustafa Ahmed August 24, 2022 3 min
A hand shake that implies that a settlement has been reached based on negotiation skills

What Are Negotiation Skills?

Negotiation skills are the characteristics that allow any party representative to settle differences and achieve the corporate’s goals through verbal and written methods during a framed period of time. These characteristics depend on other skills like communication, persuasion, planning, etc.


it’s a discussion that includes two or more parties, where each party enters this discussion seeking a certain benefit through a fair agreement. This negotiation could include a service exchange, a pay rise discussion, a partnership deal, or other sorts of benefit exchange.


Each party wants to win the full benefits of this conflict during this dialogue. At the same time, they avoid losing another resource or pushing the deal to a dead end. These parties could represent two independent businesses, an individual against a corporation, or even two coworkers in the same company.


What are the skills required for negotiation? 

Negotiation skills are considered your major entrance to reaching your strategic benefits. You will gain nothing if you haven’t interacted with the other party perfectly. Negotiation skills could also be your best ally in preserving your rights and establishing clear boundaries to protect them. Here we discuss the most important qualities that are considered part of negotiation:


  • Good Communication

The basis of negotiation makes everything clear and far away from being misunderstood. This includes all channels of communication: email, online and physical meetings, phone calls, etc. You should establish a professional relationship with the other parties to continue respecting each other even if the deal or agreement fails.


Good communication includes active listening, where you are ready to understand what your counterpart needs and wants from this negotiation process. It also helps you to be moderate, not too passive or too aggressive.


Communication depends on sending and receiving quotations, promises, and proposals that need concentration from all parties involved to avoid disputes on signing agreements or contracts. Here, active listening is essential to understand the purpose of each line and quote, and interacting properly. This makes negotiation a business type of communication.


  • Proper Emotional Intelligence

It’s the eye that helps you to determine the surface condition to recognise what’s underneath. Emotional intelligence is another pillar of negotiation. When you understand the variable level of the other party’s feelings, you will know your best trigger for remaining calm throughout the negotiation process. It will help you use suitable words at the correct verbal events.


Reading the other party’s emotions will help you easily determine what they are implying rather than what they are stating frankly. Getting this piece of information guides you to the subject that the counterparty fears losing or not gaining.


Even though you should control your body language with emotional intelligence in nonverbal interactions, perfect emotional intelligence will send orders to smile, frown, show open hands, make closed fists, and signal at the right times. Emotional intelligence builds a rapport with other parties, making relationships stand on solid ground. It gives you a full understanding of the other party’s real needs.


Focused Persuasion

People sometimes confuse persuasion and negotiation; they think they’re different expressions of the same function. However, persuasion represents an essential element of negotiation, where it depends on facts proved by pure numbers and statistics.


Persuasion speaks to the parties’ logical minds. It’s always been the cover for any agreement or contract. Without persuasion, any agreement is exposed to failure.


You can change the other party’s perspective on a certain topic. Changing how they see things to serve you is the perfect supporter at any bargaining table. Persuasion should take the right course and be based on facts and true events.


If other parties discover that fraud factors have contributed to changing their minds, this might risk the whole negotiation process.


There are two styles of persuasion: pulling and pushing. It is recommended to start pushing the counterparty towards you by delivering them the information they need to hear and grabbing their attention to consider an agreement or a contract with you. This style requires having a good command of attention-to-detail skills to determine the counterparty’s needs.


Then, you can ask the other party about their vision and ways to improve the situation. This is the “pull” technique, which allows them to show their interest.


Wise Expectation Management

Before the negotiation process starts, you set your expectations of what you seek to gain. You should also forecast the expectations of the other parties to balance between them if they are extreme or if they can meet at a midway point.


Here you have to know the adaptability of the other parties by checking their limits of negotiation, so you can as well put an extent on your adaptability and decide if you will keep your high expectations or if it’s preferred to lower them.


You should expect that the negotiation session could extend into sessions. Also, not accepting your opinions is probable, and you should know how to manage this refusal and transfer to the following items that could change the situation.



Negotiation needs plenty of patience because deals, agreements, and even job offers don’t end within a day and a night. It could produce better results than accepting the delivered terms and making quick decisions based on them.

Patience is the injector that makes you not feel the slowness of time and the static situation.


Patience could allow you to gain more information that supports your side in the negotiation. It can also lower the counterparty’s expectations, so they can be easily satisfied. Time could be a great factor contributing to changing the counterparty’s representatives in a negotiation who make the process smoother.


How to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

With every negotiation process, you practise more and get more skills. Besides time and repetition that uplevel your abilities, there are also other practises that enhance them, like:



Getting prepared for every new negotiation will always give you dominance. Putting different scenarios that produce various results will help you take the lead and stay a step ahead. Make a checklist of your strong points and opportunities that you must illustrate during negotiation, and do intensive research on your opponent’s pain points.


Putting Your Goals

Determining what you exactly need to gain will help you define the borders. This guides you to your starting point in the negotiation. Exposing your goals from the beginning lets your opponent lower them, so you should start a bit higher than you wish to leave room for your opponent’s debate.


Taking Account of Alternatives

When your requirements are higher than the opponent’s, you have two alternative sources that you can consider; the first source is the opponent. Most of the time, they offer alternatives they could deliver to you to replace your original needs. This happens when you are in a weak position, so the method you should follow is to negotiate the alternatives and upgrade them.


The second alternative source is you. Prepare a backup plan that needs implementation when the negotiation does not go well. Whether you offer your opponent alternatives you accept, or you have prepared another deal in advance in case this negotiation reaches a dead end.


Why Negotiation Skills Are Important in Business

Negotiation has always been a needed skill in employees to guarantee a successful career. Studies claim that negotiation is an everyday skill in the workplace.


Dealing With Clients

You could be in a position that directly deals with clients. If you are a salesperson, negotiation always helps you to find a way to win your client’s purchase or subscription. If your product is more expensive than a competitor’s product, negotiation skills teach you how to illustrate the true value it delivers, which is higher than any other product.


Solving Daily Workplace Conflicts

Different opinions and perspectives produce conflicts between individuals or departments. These conflicts leave marks on work cooperation and communication efficiency. Only negotiation can help make opponents meet and start to talk, thereby creating a win-win situation. This remedies any scars and reinforces relationships to be better.


Building an Attractive Reputation

To be known for exceptional negotiation skills is an important characteristic, that every employee wishes to have. This means becoming the company’s saviour at critical times; difficult deals, hard partnership procedures, or even an angry client.


How to Demonstrate Negotiation Skills on a Resume

Based on Whitecollars’ wide experience with resumes, we deliver a full guide that clarifies how to illustrate your negotiation skills according to your profession or department.


  • If you are working in the supply chain department
  • Illustrate how you settle premium deals with vendors or third-party logistics.
  • If you are working in the customer support department
  • Mention how you handle customer complaints and turn them into negotiation opportunities.
  • If you are a salesperson
  • Highlight how you close deals and achieve customer satisfaction simultaneously.
  • If you are a team leader
  • Determine how you put realistic project deadlines that achieve win-win situations.
  • If you are in a PR or Partnership department
  • Indicate how you signed distinctive contracts that grew business opportunities.
  • If you are an employee relations specialist or in the HR department
  • Illustrate how you solved workplace disputes while keeping a healthy and peaceful environment


Is Negotiation a Hard or Soft Skill?

Negotiation gathers a group of soft skills that enable a settlement between two parties, including communication, persuasion, planning, strategising, and cooperation. However, according to Nick Dimitressis, executive Director at BCNA, states, “Negotiation, is more than a soft skill.”


He quotes: “Unlike hard skills, which are about a person’s skill set and ability to perform a certain type of task or activity, soft skills relate to a person’s ability to interact effectively with coworkers and customers and are broadly applicable both in and outside the workplace.”


Throughout the article, Nick proves how important it is to be an employee with good negotiation skills, and it’s not the type of competency that should be labelled as “nice to have” but a “must have.”


according to a study from Insider: More than 40 percent of U.S. employees don’t feel confident in their negotiation skills. If you feel so, Whitecollars deliver career counselling sessions that make you trust more in your negotiation skills.  

Want To Make Sure You Are Reaching Your Best?

Whitecollars has numerous packages that will give your career the push to rise to the climax. Through our science-based methods and techniques inspired by our long experience, you’ll have the opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Now, choose the best package we’re offering through the career counselling service.

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