What Makes a Successful Negotiator so Good?

Renisa Barnwell  |


This has long been a question that has both perplexed and bewildered people in business and life in general. There are some individuals who know how to use the right words at the right time, in order to get exactly what they want in life. When such individuals apply these tactics in the field of business, it can lead to great things for a business.

What if the person conducting the negotiations on your behalf could get you a contract at a lower price than anyone else on the market?Or a lawyer who could get you a deal that sounds too good to be true? These aren’t figments of imagination. There are multiple examples of negotiators who add value to their companies, saving time, resources and money, at the same time. Most of the top organisations in the world today provides all the skills required for their negotiators and in some cases offer them negotiation courses that would give them an advantage in the negotiation room.

But what makes a successful negotiator so good? Below are some of the key characteristics that a good negotiator should possess.

No matter how good a negotiator might seem, there’s always a logical explanation to what makes them so great. One primary reason is because they don’t rely on lady luck; rather they invest their time in preparing for every possible contingency. The prior research they conduct prepares them for the likely scenarios and the unexpected ones.



In such cases, a good negotiator is not thrown off because they’re prepared. They know exactly what to do if things don’t go exactly as planned. This unwavering commitment to being equipped with the knowledge and ability to handle any situation makes them the masters of their trade.

Just like the slow and steady turtle winning the race; patient negotiators are always bound to end up on top. The reason for this is patience, because it allows them the time to evaluate all the latest developments that take place in front of them. Whether things are going in their favor or against them, they know how to use time to their advantage. Impatience is the one trait that could lead to costly errors and serious lack of judgment. When the stakes are particularly high, nerves of steel are a valuable characteristic to have.

Successful negotiators have one common mantra; there’s always more to be gained by listening rather than speaking. A successful negotiator knows how to use time to their advantage. They’re always asking multiple questions about multiple aspects, listening to every minute detail with care and taking mental notes of useful information that may aid their case going forward. This allows them to understand precisely where the opposition party stands and to evaluate both of their positions. This characteristic is always the key to building long lasting relationships and trust between the two parties.

Successful negotiators don’t play well by the rules. They understand that while rules can provide good guidelines, they can easily become barriers if too much emphasis is placed on them. They rely more on their intuition and sense of innovation to come up with unique solutions to each problem. These solutions that tend to be outside-of-the-box end up benefiting both parties. That is the mark of a truly successful negotiator.

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