September 28, 2018 Last updated September 30th, 2018 1,834 Reads share

11 Tips for Improving Your Negotiation Skills

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Are you looking to advance in your business or career? If so then effective negotiation skills will be absolutely essential. This is especially true if you are in the business sector where negotiation can be the difference between a promotion or losing it to someone more aggressive.

Incoming managerial personnel will require acumen and strong negotiation skills to secure posts and execute daily tasks effectively. Every day, care provider organizations will rely on these professionals to conduct important business. Other duties that will need negational skills include creating positive patient outcomes and experiences, leading the enterprise in growth and settling internal disputes. Managing these tasks will prove formidable in a caregiving environment that grows more complex by the day.

The leaders of tomorrow must be adept at helping opposing interests find ways to compromise. This includes preparing for negotiations, communicating ideas effectively and following through with talks until all parties are as satisfied as much as practically possible. Executives prepare for negotiations by prioritizing what requires mandatory resolution, as well as which points represent areas of flexibility between stakeholders.

When conducting negotiations, leaders must also think about the needs of absent stakeholders who will be affected by talk outcomes. Skillful leaders also remember to infuse negotiations with levity. Levity can help ease tensions among stakeholders, making the process a positive experience.

Top level executives store a multitude of tools in their negotiating toolboxes. The following 11 tips highlight a few of the tactics that executives deploy to resolve conflicts.


Tip 1: Put Your Team First

At times, organizational leaders must resolve issues with their team members in mind. Corporate trust has dropped sharply recently, making it vitally important to take a team-centered approach during this kind of negotiation. With an onslaught of new operational privacy policies and technologies entering the business sector in recent years, teams need time to adjust. When conflicts with teams occur, executives must ease feelings of distrust that exist due to internal or external influences.


Tip 2: Know The Brain

Skillful leaders understand the psychology behind negotiations, such as how people respond to approvals, challenges and emergencies. How stakeholders react has a monumental impact on negotiation outcomes. For example, when an individual is highly stressed, they are more likely to experience clouded thinking and make poor decisions.


Tip 3: Go for the All-Around Win

When conducting negotiations, health care leaders must consider the best interests of all stakeholders. This concept is counterintuitive in a competitive society. However, a negotiation that ends with satisfaction among all parties is more likely to yield long-term success.


Tip 4: Build Rapport by Finding Common Ground

Commonality is fertile ground for building rapport. As effective leaders enter negotiations, they probe for shared interests among themselves and stakeholders. By bringing commonalities to the forefront, leaders foster talks that are minimally confrontational.


Tip 5: Stay Open to Alternatives

Skillful negotiators are careful not to get hung up on a single issue during talks. To move toward resolution, health care leaders explore alternative courses of action that solve the current dispute. By exploring optional possibilities, executives craft solutions that may provide more satisfaction than the original outcomes desired by stakeholders.


Tip 6: Time Is of the Essence

By being punctual, executives and entrepreneurs can be successful by setting the tone for negotiations by making a positive first impression. Timeliness implies competence and integrity on the part of the mediator. This can make stakeholders feel assured and more likely to accept the terms of a treaty. Also, health care leaders who arrive on time for the start of a negotiation enter the talk with a clear mind and relaxed demeanor that transfers to participating stakeholders.


Tip 7: Set the Right Tone

Much has been written about the importance of an effective handshake. However, handshake etiquette makes little difference in the real world. The most important thing that executives do when meeting negotiation stakeholders is extend a welcoming hand. Practices and techniques aside, any kind of handshake eases tension. Handshakes can also promote candidness and facilitates a positive negotiation process.


Tip 8: Ensure Sure That the Other Party Is a Decision-Maker

Sometimes, the individual that’s voicing concerns is not positioned to effect change. In this instance, executives find out who has the authority to deny or implement change in a given business unit. It’s important not to waste time resolving a matter when the person that’s authorized to enforce the terms of the agreement is not participating in talks.


Tip 9: Stay Focused on the Other Party

During negotiations, executives maintain eye contact to convey candidness, honesty and conviction. When communicating with others, poor eye contact can portray the perception of elusiveness or deceit, making it difficult to move forward during talks. However, too much eye contact can appear aggressive. This can make participating stakeholders equally unsettled.


Tip 10: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

During intense negotiations, it’s instinctive for all participants to want to voice their concerns first, making sure that all parties understand their point of view. When this happens, the desire to be heard can cause enthusiastic, overexcited participants to talk over each other. Executives leading talks under these circumstances do whatever it takes to calm all stakeholders before talks continue. Typically, leaders will facilitate this outcome by remaining calm and listening stakeholders intently, ensuring that all parties feel respected and acknowledged.


Tip 11: Keep Things Comfortable

When speaking with negotiation participants, health care leaders make sure to stay a comfortable distance away from other parties. Unintentionally hovering near participants can make them feel intimidated and uncomfortable. In American culture, effective negotiators maintain a minimum of four feet from others during talks so participants feel safe and respected.

Negotiation skills are a vital asset for fledging health care executives. It’s important for executives to remember that they cannot solve all disputes in a single day. Often, the factors that led to the dispute were the result of events that occurred over a long stretch of time. Despite the problem at hand, effective negotiators invest thought and practice in building their arbitration skills.

Executives that struggle with negotiation can improve their skills with practice and learn to enjoy the process of finding mutually beneficial solutions for stakeholders. By viewing negotiations as an opportunity for all parties to learn and grow, organizational leaders view the interaction as a positive exercise for resolving conflicts.



George Washington University

Maryville University

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Ryan Ayers

Ryan Ayers

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