Negotiation is a natural part of our interactions. Whether you’re a new student, about to graduate, or looking for full-time employment, negotiation can be found in our daily lives. We negotiate for countless reasons, and many situations don’t require deep thought like buying food or clothes in the market.

These negotiation situations seem small but are great for practising the negotiation skills that can make you a sought-after leader in your community and business. Each time you’re in a situation where two or more groups have different needs, fundamental negotiation skills help give you an edge and ensure everyone walks away happy.

In this article, we look at key negotiation skills you can train yourself to master that can serve you inside and outside of the classroom.

Understanding Problems and Outcomes

Often, it’s easier to focus on what you want and ignore the outcome that appeals to the largest number of people involved in the negotiation. When you go through a sales negotiation training seminar, one of the main points a facilitator emphasises is how to gain a deeper understanding of the issue at hand.

With information about the core issue, you’re better able to arrive at outcomes that participants in negotiations are happy with. Ask simple questions that reveal the deeper motivations behind someone else’s stance. Here are a few questions you can ask to get you started:

  • “What’s stopping you?”
  • “Why is this point so important?”
  • “What else do you think I should know?”

These questions are a starting point to better understanding who you’re communicating with.  Use the answers to these questions as a way to tailor your message or address the underlying motivations and root problem.

Establish Credibility

If you’ve been in a negotiation class or have taken sales training, you’ll know that establishing credibility is essential. You can have an objectively good offer, but if you’re not credible, then people may not listen.

We live in an increasingly skeptical world. Some people consider it a mark of intelligence to doubt what others say, but skepticism presents a unique challenge during negotiations.

Before you focus on closing the deal, work to establish credibility in the eyes of others involved in the negotiation:

  • Use well-regarded sources, such as trade magazines, presentations by experts, or research papers to bolster your position.
  • According to many negotiation experts, pointing out at least one imperfection or disadvantage in your offer helps you earn credibility as someone who can be trusted to share the full facts.
  • Establish a connection with the other team by highlighting similar values you both share.

Part of Negotiation Training Is Conducting Your Research

Preliminary research can be helpful whether you’re negotiating your first salary or buying new clothes. Comprehensive background research may reduce the likelihood of making serious mistakes.

Here are a few ways to conduct preliminary research to help you go into negotiations more prepared:

  • If you’re not familiar with the price range of a product or service, reach out to people who have a better understanding of the product’s pricing.
  • Use the internet to get exact price points for different brands and retailers.
  • Talk to people who may not be experts but are in a similar situation to get qualitative insights into the buying process.

These are just three data points for your research. There are more methods that you can use to get the information you need for successful negotiations. Keep researching until you’re confident with the knowledge you have.


This article covered three negotiation practices you can master when trying to take your negotiation skills to the next level. Taken together, you’ll likely see more success in your negotiations without resorting to high-pressure tactics.