Negotiation and Persuasion Skills in Business

Persuasion and negotiation are two important concepts in business just as they are in other aspects of our lives. All organisations value the impact of communication especially when it is a process which includes negotiation and is finalised with persuading the other party.

Persuasion Discussion Business Life Awareness Motivation
  • Release Date: 28 December 2021
  • Update Date: 15 March 2024
  • Author: Speaker Agency
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Persuasion and negotiation are two important concepts in business just as they are in other aspects of our lives. All organisations value the impact of communication especially when it is a process which includes negotiation and is finalised with persuading the other party.

This article is about the key elements of negotiation and the art of persuasion as well as the techniques to look into during the process. Conflict management is a part of our topic, as it should be, so we can have some insight on the matter.

The Art of Persuasion and Negotiation and Its Key Elements

Negotiation is a method and a process by which people try to settle differences and agreement is reached while avoiding argument. During this process, the parties may need to compromise certain aspects which helps to reach an agreement again while avoiding dispute. 

In any given disagreement it is perfectly understandable that the indıviduals aim to get the best possible outcome for their position or maybe the organisation they represent. Nevertheless, the principles of fairness, seeking mutual benefit and preserving a relationship are the keys to a successful outcome. 

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There are specific forms of negotiation for different situations: international affairs, the legal system, government, industrial disputes or domestic relationships. Although each area is different and specific, general negotiation skills can be learned and applied through a wide variety of activities. When resolving differences arising between you and others, negotiation skills or persuasion skills can be a great benefit. In this article our focus is on resolving differences in work life but the knowledge is about general negotiation skills.

The most important component during the debates at work is the human factor. Character differences, communication skills, awareness, observational skills, listening and learning by focusing and learning from mistakes are the items we can list when we talk about human factors. Work life also requires one other key element which is proactive presentation. Once you get a good handle on the human factor and proactive presentation, you’ll have no trouble in debating, negotiating and convincing people at work.

One of the key concepts in persuasion is trust. People who trust the counter party, feel valued and believe that they’ll leave the room with gains in their bags are more likely to be persuaded. You’ll benefit from any situation where you are trusted and make people understand that they will gain something at the end of the endeavour.
Before we get into the effective techniques for ‘Negotiation and Persuasion at Work’ let us first take a look at the stages of negotiation briefly. It is important to follow a structured approach to negotiation in order to achieve a desired outcome. The stages of negotiation includes the stages in the following:

i) Preparation
ii) Discussion
iii) Clarification of goals
iv) Negotiate towards a win-win outcome
v) Agreement
vi) Implementation of a course of action

Understanding the stages of negotiation helps to form effective techniques for negotiation involved and make it easier on the parties to work together.

Effective Techniques for Negotiation and Persuasion at Work

It’s essentially important for organisations/businesses to consider the negotiation and persuasion process strategically and carry out actions accordingly in today’s competitive business life. Here are some of the techniques for effective negotiation and persuasion at work.

  • Planning the Negotiation Process: Planning and preparation are the critical duo in every negotiation process at work. Identifying the matter, clarifying short and long term goals, estimating possible gains and guessing possible problems, evaluating opportunities and determining the strengths and weaknesses of the involved parties are the preparation topics at this stage.
  • Grand Entrance and Powerful Presentation: A grand entrance with a statement and a powerful presentation will definitely help you to get your message across. If you’re able to explain complex issues, ask the right questions and use technology in your presentation, it means your presentation is a powerful one.
  • The Power of Body Language and Tone of your Voice: Your body language and the tone of your voice make a difference when it comes to persuasion techniques. Interpersonal communication studies have shown that the effect of body language is 55% where the effect of your tone is 38% and the effect of your actual words is 7%.
  • Different Character Types, Being Aware of it: Being aware of the main character traits of others is an advantage. Extrovert or introvert, the perfectionist, aloof, nervous, the optimistic and the pessimistic, all these different types of characters might need separate approaches.
  • Proactive Listening, Speaking and Empathy: Proactive listening, speaking and feeling empathy are significant concepts in persuasion techniques. The key is to make others feel that they matter, their opinions are valued and that way you’ll go through a better communication process.
  • Persuasion Techniques Directly Addressing Human Nature: There are a few techniques where the communicative dynamics are directly related with human nature and these are widely used in work life. Returning a good deed with a good deed, being consistent with what you do and how you do it, respecting authority and respecting social norms, displaying interest in things that are rare... All these traits are basic human values and should you need them, you must use them effectively in your quest of persuasion.

It wouldn't hurt to mention a few more aspects on the matter such as the basic negotiation skills which can be a benefit for every professional. 

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The first one is communication. It’s essential to communicate clearly about what you want to achieve at the bargaining table. You need to make sure you are expressing your desired outcome clearly and where your boundaries lie. The second most important skill is emotional intelligence (EI). For better or worse, emotions play a role in a negotiation. It’s very important not to let them get in the way of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement but use them to your advantage. In order to understand the implications at the bargaining table, you need a high degree of emotional intelligence so that you can read the other parties’ emotions. Emotional intelligence helps you manage and use emotions advantageously. 

The third skill you need to have is planning. We cannot emphasise the importance of planning enough for it gives you the chance to build a structure in negotiation. Value creation is another skill you need when it comes to negotiation skills. One of the most powerful instruments in your bag is value creation. Imagine this: in a negotiation each party is understandably concerned with getting the biggest ‘slice of the cake’. Each party aiming for the biggest slice evidently means that in the end, some will be forced to leave with a much smaller piece. 

Now, if you break fee from this traditional idea of negotiation, you can shift your goals from growing your slice to growing the whole cake. The benefits are two ways: each party can realise a greater value and a sense of rapport and trust is established. Last but not the least, strategy is another negotiation skill you need to have. You need a clear understanding of effective negotiation tactics in addition to preparation and the ability to create value. 

In order to create a tailored strategy for every negotiation you participate in, you need to know what works and what doesn’t. It’s crucial to have a grasp on what will produce results. So, in a nutshell negotiation skills can be listed as communication, emotional intelligence, planning, creating value and having a strategy. Working on these topics will help you to get the outcome you desire for yourself or the organisation you represent. 

The Role of Conflict Management in Negotiation

Skills for negotiation and persuasion in conflict management are vitally important. The fact that negotiation in itself has a potential to turn into a conflict makes it a sensitive matter to begin with. Hence the need to understand the dynamics of conflict and how to manage them for the desired solution. Identifying types of conflict, destroying prejudice, an attitude with self confidence and discipline, being fair and relieving tension are some of the necessary topics you may find interesting.

Making use of these techniques and learning from your own experience will guide you through your share of negotiation and persuasion. If you need more information about the topic please click on the Speaker Agency’s website and meet the speakers like Jonathan Bowman-Perks, Kevin Gaskell, Perry McCarthy and Mark Denton who will be inspiring for your team. 


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