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5 Strategies to Master Negotiation and Communication

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According to the PayScale Salary Negotiation survey, 2014, 57 percent of women and 43 percent of men do not ask for a pay raise. The reasons for the 57 percent were: ‘my employer gave me a raise before I needed to ask for one (38 percent), ‘I’m uncomfortable negotiating salary’ (28 percent) and ‘I didn’t want to be perceived as pushy.’

Negotiation is vital in business and education where project work form the basis of modules. Whether you are asking for a higher wage, communicating with difficult workmates or you simply want your point to be understood, negotiation and communication go hand in hand. Mastering both can lead to better trust levels, confidence and a network.

  1. Active Listening and Empathy

‘Actions speak louder than words,’ or in the case of listening, ‘listening speaks louder than words.’ Have you ever considered what you are saying before you say it? For many, words seem to tumble forth without proper consideration, immediately reacting to comments and opinions. Important business leaders often invest in negotiation training and courses to improve their active listening skills, making it a key component of their success.

Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher and writer once said, “Silence is a source of great strength.” Rather than talking over one another, listening shows that you care and value the other person’s opinion. It also allows you to get a wider perspective of ideas, noting down the most effective strategy.


Bernard Baruch, financier and political adviser said, “Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” This may be due to the fact that they are comfortable holding their thoughts to give space to others to express themselves. Therefore, as an exercise, try listening 70 percent and talking 30 percent for one day. Make a note of the observations you make in this period.

In a study by Orick, 2002, compiled by Laura Janusik, Ph.D, Rockhurst University, leaders were able to relate accurate messages to a third party, showing that they listened and remembered what the original speaker had said. Therefore, listening improves retention and increases the amount of information input.

  1. Trust, Networks and Relationships

In an age of twenty-four hour media coverage and instant feedback through social media, it is easy to become part of the noise. With so much content, it is now harder than ever to establish a trusted brand when there is so much competition.

According to The Gap Partnership, the leading training specialists, they estimate that up to 42 per cent of the total potential value of a transaction is lost during negotiations. However, what can stand you apart in business and negotiations is trust.

Trust is established when you identify the other person’s need, desire or problem and try to solve it. In negotiating a deal or working with difficult members on a group project, the need could be to resolve a challenging task quickly and efficiently. Therefore, if you outline what they need and aim to deliver 100 percent, adding value, trust is more likely to be built.

According to, 2015, a global marketing firm, 81 percent agreed with the fact that, “A company can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the community where it operates.”

Furthermore, 55 percent agreed with the fact that new developments were not tested enough.

When negotiating, making sure thorough research from reliable, valuable sources is conducted before a meeting. This will allow for clear, effective communication. Where possible, provide a bibliography of sources used in presentations so if needs be, the client or team worker can validate your findings, calling question to any holes in the argument.

  1. Engagement, Presence and Active Voice

Communication happens every day, from the moment you walk out the door, whether it is a transaction of goods, or whether you conduct a presentation at work.

Consider what you are saying. Clear, concise and effective communication relies on getting to the point in the shortest amount of time. However, it is not necessary to speak in bullet points as this would appear unnatural. You are not a robot after all. Keeping a balance between formal language and informal delivery gains in an audience.

Allowing your personality to shine through makes the content of what you say resonate with others. Understanding the style and preferences of your audience is also important to try to cater to them, making content consistent and appealing.

Being positive, engaged, whilst talking in the active voice in the present tense can open up conversation, immediately grabbing the other person to respond. A flow of conversation between two parties is what eventually leads to relationship and network building.

  1. Objectives and Goals

Richard Branson, once said, “To me, business isn’t about wearing suits or pleasing stockholders. It’s about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials.”

Having a clear objective and outcome before setting foot in meetings sets a professional tone. Letting the other person know what you need and expect fastens up the process of communication and gets both parties to understand each other’s needs.

Long-term goals also allow you to focus on a larger strategy, rather than reacting from one business deal to another with little foresight. If you can see the larger picture, predicting trends and changes within your industry, it will be easier to navigate negotiations and challenges.

  1. Confidence and Preparation 

Fredrik Eklund, the famous millionaire real estate broker, karate-kicks before important meetings, releasing endorphins.

He told the, “The high-kick symbolizes everything I stand for in business, who I am. I’m in a very conservative suit and I’m in a conservative board room environment, high pressure, multibillion dollar New York real estate world, and at the same time, I high kick right in front of everyone.”

You don’t need to develop a high kick but you can explore what makes you confident and happy. Athletes often have a pre-game ritual. Visualization and being active with your body can gear you to perform at your peak.

Therefore, ask yourself what makes you confident? Is it standing in front of a mirror, legs apart, hands on hip, saying a mantra, “I can do this.” Or is it closing your eyes for a minute, visualizing the meeting going successfully? It is up to you to find your style and ritual that empowers you to be your best.

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