business negotiation skills
What are Business Negotiation Skills?
It’s often said that great leaders are great negotiators. That’s one reason that improving your business negotiation skills is so important.
Our business negotiation skills can help us reach a win-win negotiation where both sides are satisfied with their agreement, and the odds of a long-lasting and successful business partnership are much higher. Those skills may include anything from how you prepare for a negotiation to how you frame the deal to more subtle skills, such as how well negotiators’ personalities complement one another.
Some more “concrete” business negotiation skills that we can learn or improve upon include construction of a strong BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement, understanding the power of MESOs, or multiple equivalent simultaneous offers, and thorough preparation, not to mention familiarity with laws, ethics, and structuring a solid agreement.
One of the business negotiation skills that is often overlooked is an understanding of fairness when negotiating. Psychologist David Messick has found that people commonly choose among fairness norms based on their self-serving desire for more. That is, our greed determines how we define fairness in a given situation.
Of all the business negotiation skills, however, one of the most important is looking for a win-win outcome. Consider that people tend to view negotiation as a competition between parties fighting over the biggest piece of a “fixed pie.” Even when negotiators prefer the same outcome, they tend to believe that the other side’s interests are opposed to their own.
But in a win-win negotiation, when both sides are satisfied with their agreement, the odds of a long-lasting success are much higher. Finding your way to a win-win negotiation often involves reaching mutual gains by trading off your differing preferences to create value.
Discover step-by-step techniques for avoiding common business negotiation pitfalls when you download a copy of the FREE special report, Business Negotiation Strategies: How to Negotiate Better Business Deals, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
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