Business negotiations – an art in itself or a matter of practice?

Achieving desired results in negotiations depends on many factors and requires meeting certain conditions. Undoubtedly, an important aspect is the passion for a job and personal abilities. Characteristics such as openness and resistance to stress are certainly irrelevant.

However, do only innate skills give a chance to be successful in negotiation processes? Are there any methods for training negotiation techniques and raising competences to the level of an expert in negotiations?

Hard and soft competences in negotiations – differences

The difference between soft and hard competences is clear and both play a significant role in business negotiations. It’s hard to value which are more important, they complement each other. Good negotiation training should be covering both elements. Personal abilities, natural talent for negotiation makes implementation of the knowledge easier however, practice and training can help to close the gap.

Soft competences in negotiations

This group includes individual traits that more aligned with the personality of a negotiator. As a rule, these are our innate characteristics, which, however, can be developed and strengthened. Soft competences include, for example:

  • Resistance to stress, self-control
  • Interpersonal skills and openness
  • Ease of conversation and contact
  • Independence, self-confidence
  • Personality type and EGO
  • Response speed
  • Team work
  • Flexibility
  • Empathy and assertiveness
  • Concentration
  • Speed of data processing

All of them are important for the negotiator. Properly conducted business training should help in development of soft skills.

Hard competences in negotiations

Among hard skills, we can precisely specify those that characterize a good negotiator and which will set the direction for reaching the expert level in negotiations. Hard skills are measurable and their level can be checked, thanks to which it is easier to identify deficiencies in individual areas, as well as to sustain the training of those that do not require supplementing knowledge. These are:

Among hard skills, we can precisely specify those that characterize a good negotiator and which will set the direction for reaching the expert level in negotiations. Hard skills are measurable and their level can be checked, thanks to which it is easier to identify deficiencies in individual areas, as well as to sustain the training of those that do not require supplementing knowledge. These are:

  • Acquiring and processing information
  • Knowledge about the subject of negotiation
  • Understanding internal and external constraints
  • Knowledge about the cost drivers and their fluctuation
  • Negotiation tools & technics
  • Awareness of manipulation technics
  • Managing negotiation team
  • Preparation & data collection technics
  • Persuasion
  • Project management
  • The ability to precisely formulate goals and set priorities
  • The ability to select the proper negotiation strategy
  • Management of the negotiation process
  • Valuation of the offers
  • Ability to conduct conversation and active listening
  • Negotiation strategy development and setting objectives
  • Dealing with monopolies & deadlock
  • Knowledge about personalities and EGOs
  • Rational conversation and separating people from the problem

None of the above lists is exhausting.  They outline hard skills that should be acquired or highlight soft skills that are important for the effective negotiator.

Negotiations are above all the art of conducting a conversation and achieving the assumed goals with satisfaction to both parties. They are part of our everyday life. Buying a car, discussion with a partner or friends can include an element of negotiation.

We believe, a good and effective negotiator does not have to be born, but you can definitely be one. When choosing the right negotiation training, practicing acquired knowledge and remembering about the soft skills, the success will be at your fingertips.