How to Become a Confident Business Negotiator

negotiation-smlDeveloping strong negotiation skills can enhance both your business and personal life and once you’ve mastered the art it can make a huge impact on the rest of your life. Learning to back up your communication skills with actions like openness, honesty and a confident demeanor can help to foster trust and rapport with others.

An article by practicing Bedfordshire psychotherapist Sally Hall reveals that body language and non-verbal communication has a far greater weight in a conversation than the words you speak. It may be tempting to place information on an index card and rehearse it over and over again while looking into a mirror; however, Hall states that over 50% of messages are conveyed by other means such as posture and hand gestures. Focusing on what you’ll say to a potential client may not be as important as you would think.

A perceptive person will be able to weigh your true intentions and attitude more easily by measuring your body language than by evaluating the tone of your voice. Factors such as showing up on time, perfecting a handshake, developing friendly eye contact, giving your potential client the proper personal space, being aware of your body gestures and keeping your hands away from your face are all appropriate methods to developing a good appearance. Remember that a person retains only 10% of information that is provided with spoken word and 20% of information that is presented visually, including body language.

Because confidence is such an important component of developing strong negotiation skills spending time practicing in five different areas could significantly improve how you feel when delivering a sales pitch and how a potential client views you. According to an article by Peter Stark being completely prepared and knowing all the important details of the business or person you are meeting with will give you more confidence during the negotiation.


If you are planning on meeting with the President of Bank of America research both him and the bank and learn about as much history, facts and information as possible before you negotiate. Having several different options available helps to create a win-win outcome; Stark believes the best negotiations are the ones that have many counterparts and allows both parties to feel like they’re winning. Visualizing success also plays a major role in the outcome of a negotiation as well; those who believe positive results will be achieved are usually the ones who get positive results.

In similar fashion having a vision of a status quo outcome will also achieve status quo results. Many negotiators attempt to stay in the middle of a pitch due to intimidation, hoping to keep their position but not necessarily win the negotiation; taking this approach will only ensure that success will never be attainable. Stark suggests that being a powerful negotiator is part knowledge and part trusting your intuitions and being able to determine whether a counterpart is trustworthy and has integrity.

According to Mind Persuasion social awareness is critical to being extraordinary. Asking questions that are open ended and easy to answer will keep a client from feeling put on the spot and asking questions a person actually wants to answer will allow them to feel instantly engaged. This is where the art of being well-researched comes into play: if you’re meeting with the CEO of a hedge fund firm who was recently divorced you’ll know to avoid attempting to make a positive initial connection by asking questions about his family or by talking about dinner plans you have with your wife that night.


Likewise, in your research you may have found that his hobbies include fishing and football and you’ll be able to use those topics to your advantage and engage him. Start the negotiation with the question, “What is it that you enjoy the most about fishing,” and see how easy it can be to draw a person in.

You may not feel like a confident negotiator yet but utilizing good body language can still make you appear that you are. Since appearance is the most important factor in a good conversation mastering the art of becoming a confident negotiator may be much easier than you might have thought.

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