Negotiation Tactics: a Learned Skill

Negotiation tactics in the business world are an acquired skill. Negotiators need to have confidence, the ability to establish a strong rapport and be able to read people well. They also must know when to push harder and when to pull back and, above all, must possess knowledge of both sides of the negotiation topic.

Set The Tone

The beginning of negotiating a business proposition sets the tone for the rest of the process. If you are trying to purchase goods, it is better to start out with a higher figure - a figure you feel is too high.

If you are trying to sell something, flinch at the high number - be outwardly appalled at such an outrageous offer, while inwardly knowing this is a common approach to negotiation.

Start out strong; prevent the other side from construing any sign of weakness that he/she can use to take advantage of the situation.


The next step is contingent on the amount of research you've done on the issue at hand. Obviously, you need to know what you want and what you are prepared to concede.

However, it is equally crucial to understand the other side's position, needs and wants. The former will add to your confidence during the process and the latter will give you an advantage over your opponent.

When you know what to expect from the other side, you have the unique position of knowing what is at stake. You can rely on both instinct and data to know when to push for more or pull back.

This type of knowledge, when used correctly and subtly, can throw the others off their game. For instance, you can ask them if they've spoken to another party, about their experience in the field or the time constraints of the negotiation. Knowledge is power.

Body Language

Body language is another important aspect of negotiation tactics. Your visual reactions are just as important as your verbal replies.

If you are presented with an outrageous offer, it is far more powerful to flinch along with rather than make a remark alone. When you present yourself as stoic, the other person may think you are disinterested or bored with the presentation.

Similarly, if you remain silent and provide no verbal cues, the other negotiator may interpret this as a sign of disapproval.

Art of Persuasion

Another valuable aspect of negotiation tactics is the art of persuasion. You will have more success persuading if you create a comfortable, disarming atmosphere versus a confrontational one.

For instance, listen to the other person's position and concede to one or two minor parts if feasible, or merely state you understand their side of the argument.

This technique neutralizes the situation and transforms your opponent's argument into the beginning of your own.

Saying No

Finally, remember it is perfectly acceptable to say "no". The decision to compromise is a legitimate one, but not if it means compromising yourself, your beliefs or your business.

A bad deal is just that and there is no shame in politely declining and walking away. Another possibility may present itself with the same company or you may find the perfect deal elsewhere.

The important thing is to know your boundaries and stick to them.


Negotiation tactics in the business world can be a complex undertaking. However, you can be a successful negotiator if you take the time to know your limits, your wants and needs, as well as your opponent and when to make a deal or walk away.

Most importantly, you will exude confidence if you come to the negotiating table prepared.

To learn more about specific negotiation tactics that will be appropriate for your organization you should contact a qualified labour relations specialist. On this website we will continually be adding LR specialists who you can contact for assistance.