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Successful business owners all know that nothing in business happens without negotiation. While developing one’s ability to negotiate is crucial to overcoming difficult situations, other skills also play a key role in the negotiation process.
To offer their insights, 11 Forbes Business Council members each share one underrated skill that can drastically improve one’s ability to successfully navigate negotiations.
Forbes Business Council members share what skills can contributed to one’s ability to navigate negotiations.
Photos courtesy of the individual members.
1. The Ability To Put Yourself In Someone Else’s Shoes
Putting yourself in the shoes of the other party helps in negotiating. It gives you an idea of what the other party wants from the transaction while also helping you negotiate from a point of strength. Most people negotiate thinking only about their ask, when in fact, you might be asking for too much or selling yourself short. – Nnamdi Nwizu, Comercio Partners Limited
2. Listening To Learn
Many times, people listen to respond instead of listening to learn. Listening is how one can truly understand what matters to the other side, gain their perspective and learn what their true motivations are. In my experience, this is consistently the best path to get to an optimal outcome. – Mark Costanza, MobileSmith Health, Inc.
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3. Emotional Intelligence
I think emotional intelligence is highly underestimated when it comes to business and negotiation. A lot of these situations cause emotions to run high and logic to go out the window. So yes, you can be a good listener, but if you don’t have the ability to truly understand how someone feels, you won’t be able to determine what they want. The ability to manage these emotions is powerful. – Sabrina Chevannes, Complex Creative
4. The Ability To Manage Stress
Stress resistance is a skill great leaders have that helps them keep their goals above any difficult situations that may arise during work-related and personal concerns. Great leaders are also great risk managers as they can drive teams to focus on solving problems in a timely manner. – Ihor Bauman, Workee
A skill that has helped me through various negotiations is curiosity. Approaching a negotiation with curiosity for what is important to the other party and uncovering why something is important has always been key to striking a balanced, win-win outcome. A curious approach requires asking questions to uncover the needed information, but in a neutral, non-invasive way. – Boris Sotnikov, KraftyLab
Vulnerability, and the willingness to show it, remains the most underrated leadership trait of our generation. Executives think they have to act strong and tough to be heard when negotiating, but the reality is that building a genuine relationship through transparency and personal connection leads not only to better business outcomes, but also to more enjoyable and longer-lasting partnerships. – Tyler Weitzman, Speechify
7. The Ability To Develop Trust
Be consistent in your interactions. At the heart of any meaningful engagement is trust. To show trust, honesty and authenticity, we must allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Trust is a unique emotion where the more we show it, the stronger it grows. When we develop a reputation of trust with our employees, clients, partners and investors, it is easier to find a mutual win for everyone’s success. – Kelley Powell, MacLaurin Group
8. The Ability To Read The Room
The ability to effectively read the other party during a negotiation is an essential skill. Negotiations are a give-and-take process, and it is important for both parties to feel like they are getting what they want out of the negotiation. The best negotiators can read the other party and know when to move or push for what they want. – Sheffy Kolade, Boxes and Baskets Limited
Observation is one skill that is often overlooked, but it can improve your ability to successfully negotiate when cultivated. While being prepared, confident, articulate and clear on your nonnegotiables and desired outcome are essential, skillfully observing the other person’s breathing, body language, tone, movements and more can provide you with invaluable insight into the unspoken things you can utilize. – Ellie Shefi, Made to Change the World, Inc.
A pause made at the right time in conversation is the best tool to achieve the desired outcome. Sometimes it can be a 15-second pause between questions, or there can even be days between finding a solution—it depends. Impulsivity in decision making may lead to a negative outcome, so remember to take pauses. – Michael Podolsky, PissedConsumer.com
11. The Ability To Communicate Your Truth
The most underrated skill in negotiation is having the ability to communicate your truth. We tend to hold back our thoughts and ideas due to the fear of being judged or rejected. It’s important that we get clear on our potential and limitations and then communicate that. The consequence of inhibiting your speech results in you not getting what you want and being left frustrated. – Yasmin Walter, KMD Books