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Negotiation can be a scary word. Unfortunately, when starting a business being able to negotiate is an essential skill. Aspiring entrepreneurs should seek out how to be a better negotiator in their everyday lives. At the end of the day, most interactions we have as individuals are actually negotiations, we just don't perceive them as such. Fortunately for us, learning to become a better negotiator is like any other skill. All that's needed is a basic overview of the bits needed, and practice.

In this post, we're going to uncover the secrets to becoming a better negotiator. These are talents you can practice on the daily, not just when negotiating, but with any person-to-person interaction. ultimately, being a good negotiator is about being a good, apt, social communicator. If that sounds interesting to you, then let's dive in!

Understanding Other Party

So really what is a negotiation? A negotiation is a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. Furthermore, a negotiation involves two or more parties, both of which want something from the discussion. Knowing this allows you to recognize the first skill in becoming a better negotiator: learning the interests of the other party. You will be able to communicate more effectively when you understand what the other party wants from the discussion.

Typically, it is simple to understand the basic wants of the other party. Maybe they want a deal? Or maybe they want to make more money off of you? However, good negotiators are able to pinpoint the reasons behind their interests. Doing this will allow for far more collaborative communication.

There is a fantastic example that covers this very point that I heard once. Imagine there are two people who both want an orange. If neither of the people involved took the time to realize the reasons why the other wanted the orange, neither of them would have realized that they could both get exactly what they wanted. You see, one person wanted the orange to make orange juice, and the other wanted the rind to make cake. Before assuming what the other party wants look to see why they want it. Potentially, you both can get what you want.

Preparing Ahead of Time

On the topic of understanding the other party, doing your research ahead of time will help you. When it comes to learning to be a better negotiator, learning about the other party before you enter the negotiation will only help you.

It's important to not think about negotiation as manipulation. This is not the case. Not to mention, thinking this way will lead to you poorly understanding the situation at hand. Both parties have needs, and collaborating should be better for the both of you. Your goal is to understand the needs of the other party, your own needs, and what you should accomplish at the end of the negotiation. This should improve the flow of the negotiation. Also, this should allow you to more effectively create a win-win situation. Ultimately, proper negotiation is about crafting win-win situations, not about manipulation and getting what you want.


To become a better negotiation, you must first recognize what you can control. Ultimately, the only thing you are in control of is yourself. Accept this. You are in control of how you respond when things don't go your way, and perhaps more importantly, how you respond when things do go your way. Everything outside of you is not controllable by you. It may be influenced by you, but not under your command. Being able to distinguish this difference is key when it comes to being a better negotiator.

When it comes to influence, actively pursue steps that give you the most influence possible. Amongst these, is the choice to make the first move. This may seem as though it will make you more vulnerable because it allows the other to know exactly what you want, but no. On the contrary, this allows you to understand what the other person will tolerate, what is still beneficial to them, and it shows them that you are confident in your wants, and what is beneficial to you.

Accepting Silence

In Minnesota there is an anechoic chamber so quiet that the longest anyone has every lasted in there is 45 minutes. It's said that you can hear your own heartbeat, your stomach gurgling, and even your lungs. The point here is simple, as human beings, we do not like silence. Silence forces us to come to terms with our own thoughts. Even more so, in conversation silence is terrifying. A pause in conversation can cause nervous rambling. And this, can make or break your negotiation. There's a famous quote by Roy T Bennet:

"Silence and smile are two powerful tools. Smile is the way to solve many problems and silence is the way to avoid many problems."

Not only does silence allow you to prevent nervous rambling that can lead to rash decisions, but it also gives you a "mental breath", meaning time to process and think.

Mindfulness of Body Language

Studies have shown only 7% of communication is done directly through the words we use, 38% through our tone, and 55% through body language. However, being mindful of your tone and body language is no easy feat. This one will take consistent practice throughout your daily life, but will most certainly lead to you being a better negotiator.

Luckily for us, there have been numerous studies to help us understand what positive and negative body language looks like. Funny enough, when you see it it's almost second nature and we know what the person may be thinking. For instance, when talking to someone, and they cross their arms and slouch over, it's pretty easy to understand the person is bored. This is a vast topic, but here is a fantastic resource to guide you along!

Searching For Compromise

Compromise is commonplace. And everyone talks about it. The thing that isn't talked about is knowing the things you cannot compromise on, no matter the reason. Invest time in understanding this boundary for yourself. This boundary should be closely tied into your values. Know your values, know what not to compromise on.

As crazy as it may sound, there is a great line in a Marvel movie:

"Compromise where you can. Where you can't, don't. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say 'No, you move'"

The same goes for negotiation. You must be value-centered. No matter where the conversation goes, no matter what is asked of you or said of you, remember your values and make compromises based off of those. Those are the healthy compromises that lead to victories for all parties involved.

Catch you on the flip,


P.S. If you are wanting to, or have ever wanted to start a business, but are lost on where to start, click here and check this out