Five Exercises to Improve Your Negotiation Skills


By guest blogger, Nick Rojas

Want to improve your negotiation skills? You certainly can, utilising these exercises during daily negotiations.

Negotiations are a big part of life, and you may not even realise it. You negotiate at home, work, the gym and even with the family pet. Negotiations simply can’t be avoided.

Harnessing the power of negotiation skills should not be avoided either. People who possess powerful negotiation skills get the most out of life. But being a savvy negotiator does not always mean someone has to lose.

“A good negotiator will work toward a win-win scenario, always considering the deal from the other side’s perspective,” according to Fortune.

How do you become a powerful negotiator? Employ these exercises to enhance your negotiation skills, and get the win-win in nearly every aspect of life.

1. Negotiation Skills Begin with Saying No

The word “no” is not something most people say very often. You may have trouble saying no to your friend who needs help moving, or someone who wants to cut the line at the supermarket.

However, saying no is an essential exercise for honing your negotiation skills. Saying no more often will allow you to become more comfortable with saying it, and you will be more successful.

Warren Buffett says, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”

2. Exercise Your Research Muscle

Research is another vital aspect of honing your negotiation skills. Before you approach any negotiation, you need to have done your due diligence.

Whether you are buying a new sofa or closing a million dollar business deal, research is at the forefront. Exercise your research muscle by learning best practices.

You want to become a master at following breadcrumbs that will get you the answers you need for the win-win at any negotiation table.

3. Become a Body Language Expert

You may have heard that nonverbal communication accounts for 90 percent of communication. Some believe this to be true, and some think it’s less, explains Dr Jeff Thompson in a Psychology Today article.

Whether nonverbal communication is 90 percent or 55 percent, it is an important element of your negotiation skills.

Excessive blinking and uncomfortable shifts in a chair are subtle hints that can give you better insight into another person’s mind and decision-making process.

Unfortunately, the only way to use this exercise is to practice a lot. If you like people watching, you are in for a treat. Start with people you know, and expand to strangers when you’re ready for a challenge.

4. Practice Makes Perfect, Employ Negotiation Skills Everywhere

Practice certainly makes perfect, and this remains true when developing your negotiation skills. The more you negotiate, the more savvy and confident you will become.

Exercising your negotiation skills everywhere will make you a better speaker, and you will also begin building a rhythm in each negotiation. From doing the dishes to the boardroom, never stop negotiating.

5. Negotiation Skills Depend on Your Active Listening Abilities

Active listening is one of the most essential elements of becoming an expert negotiator. You may think you’re a great listener. However, “listening” and “active listening” are actually quite different.

You need to paraphrase, inquire, and acknowledge for powerful active listener development. Active listening will allow you to ask crucial questions and respond to your negotiation partners in a meaningful way.

According to Harvard School, “The skilful negotiator orchestrates these aspects of active listening to draw out the other party’s concerns and feelings, with an eye toward asserting his own viewpoint and engaging in joint problem-solving.”

Exercise those negotiation skills and become more confident in every aspect of life. You will find success following those newly honed negotiation skills, and you will begin negotiating everything. Personal and professional development are important, so take a powerful approach with negotiation.

Need more help boosting your negotiating skills? Check out our webinar, Getting to a Win-Win: How to Hone Your Negotiation Skills, presented by P.J. Timmins of TAB Ireland.


Top 10 Tips for Effective Business Meetings

For those chairing business meetings the following are my top 10 tips :
1. Get all the key stakeholders represented at an appropriately senior level.

2. Communicate a clear agenda and outcome expected from meeting in advance.

3. Agenda should be finite and capable of being covered in the time available.

4. Set a time limit for meeting and stick to it, unless there is a compelling reason for continuing and all are in agreement.

5. Chair effectively – Ensure that everyone present contributes/stop individuals dominating discussion. Play back discussion at the end of each topic to make sure that everyone is in agreement.

6. Be sensitive to body language and what is being said ‘between the lines’.
7. Be flexible – if direction of meeting changes redefine objectives during meeting e.g. defer discussion of some issues to another meeting.

8. If  issues come up which do not require general discussion take them ‘off line’ e.g. as a follow up point/next step from meeting.
9. Agree clear actions and next steps at end – what? by whom? by when?.

10. There should be timely circulation of minutes after meeting, plus opportunity for attendees to comment on content before finalisation.
Attendees are entitled to expect that meetings will be run efficiently. For example, papers circulated in advance (be selective) should be taken ‘as read’ unless there is particular reason for a presentation.


Simple Business Planning

PJ Timmins – TBO Dublin, Ireland

Once you have decided on your vision, the simplest business plan has three elements: Analysis, Choice and Implementation.

  • Analysis: Where are we now, what is impacting us today, tomorrow and next year.
  • Choice: What is the risk elements of each option we could chose for our future.
  • Implementation: Who is going to achieve what by when and what can be provided for them to achieve it.



Learning to Let It Go

David Wacker

I recently hired a new service tech and promoted an existing one to the manager position, which replaced me in that role. The new tech is working out great and, equally important, the new service manager is doing a terrific job.

The impact upon me has been significant. Having a service manager in place has taken a lot of stress off me and enabled me to focus more strategically on the business. I can even take more vacation time!



Tying Compensation to Skill Level

Charles Knapik, TAB San Antonio

We publish wage ranges for every position. It solves the problem of employees asking “How much more will you pay me?” on each anniversary. When they max out in a position, they know they have to learn new skills or stop getting increases.