How to improve your negotiation skills | The CPD Certification Service (2023)

How to improve your negotiation skills | The CPD Certification Service (1)

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07 Apr 2023

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The ability to negotiate is a soft skill that encompasses good communication, persuasion skills, emotional intelligence and the ability to think strategically. Typically a negotiation is the coming together of different parties to reach an agreement that satisfies all parties sufficiently. Instances that require negotiation regularly occur in the workplace, from business to business to employees and employers negotiating working terms.

Tips for improving negotiating skills

1. Prepare thoroughly

Research has shown that underprepared negotiators are more likely to make unnecessary concessions. One thing that will immediately improve your ability to negotiate is to be better prepared. Here are some of the things that you should consider when negotiating:

  • What are your goals? (What exactly is it that you want to gain?)
  • Are these goals realistic?
  • What are the minimum terms you’ll accept?
  • What are your options should the negotiation fall through?

2. Be empathetic

Good emotional intelligence is incredibly useful when it comes to negotiating. Putting yourself in the shoes of whoever you’re negotiating with is an important step when strategising for a negotiation. Understanding your counterpart’s point of view and thinking about the goals and motivations that they might have can be very useful in helping to relate to their needs and, ultimately, help you to find a mutually beneficial outcome.

Find tips on how you can develop emotional intelligence in our related CPD articles:

Understanding emotional intelligence

CPD tips - Developing your emotional intelligence

3. Practice, reflect, repeat.

There’s no getting around it; one of the best ways to become a better negotiator is to build first-hand experience. This can be in the form of role-playing with others or simply by taking every opportunity to put negotiating skills to the test. Make sure to think about applying different techniques and tactics beforehand to test and learn, giving you a better idea of how to apply theory in practice.

It’s just as essential to reflect on negotiating practice as the practice itself. Think about what went well and what could be improved upon as well as how applying techniques in practice compares with your understanding of the theory. Try to keep a record of your reflections to build up a resource of what works best for you.

4. Don’t worry about making mistakes

The nature of many negotiations is such that mistakes mean potentially losing out. This is most true of distributive negotiations (also known as 'win-lose' negotiations) whereby any gain for one party means a loss for the other. Because of this, it can feel as though the stakes of making mistakes are high. Whilst avoiding any unnecessary concessions is undoubtedly the aim, making mistakes is a fundamental part of the development process - it’s through these mistakes that we learn most effectively. Try not to let the chance of mistakes deter you from practising wherever and whenever you can.

5. Take a negotiation skills CPD course

Learn the fundamentals of negotiation strategy and put the theory into practice with a dedicated course. This is one of the best ways to work on improving your negotiation skills.There are a number of different negotiation courses hosted on behalf of our accredited members you can choose from available within our CPD Courses Catalogue.

Become a CPD accredited training provider

We hope this article was helpful. Established in 1996, The CPD Certification Service is the world’s leading and largest CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors. If you are looking to provide training courses, workshops, eLearning or virtual events that may be suitable for Continuing Professional Development, please contact our team to discuss in more detail.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a free online CPD record tool to help manage, track and log your ongoing learning, as well as store your professional training records and attendance certificates in one simple place, go to the myCPD Portal page.

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