Negotiation in Business Settings


Mastering Negotiation with a Professional Touch

Negotiation is an aspect of everyday life. Whether it’s crossing the street or dining out, we all use negotiation in our daily routines. In a professional setting, negotiation can be a powerful tool to achieve positive results. By initiating dialogue and demonstrating a genuine interest in the matter at hand, negotiations can yield mutually beneficial outcomes.

When it comes to negotiation, it’s important to approach it with professionalism. There are several ways to address a negotiation process properly and here are some highly effective and strategic methods that one can utilize.


Tone and Language

During a negotiation process you must focus on your tone and body language as well as the questions you ask. It’s important to keep an open mind and show a genuine interest in what your communicator says. Maintain a friendly demeanor and speak in a calm, clear tone to show respect for the conversation. Avoid using harsh language as it makes your communicator feel uncomfortable or exposed. Remember, negotiations are a professional exchange, so conduct yourself accordingly.

Keep yourself calm and optimistic when negotiating, you don’t want your communicator to see your vulnerabilities or synchronize the same uncertainty as yourself. Always remember to smile and indicate an open body language to let them know you share their view. Using your arms when communicating indicates interest for your communicator rather than resting them in your lap or crossing them across your chest – this instead indicates offensiveness or dominance.

Some negotiations can quickly turn into interviews and you should therefore be cautious what questions you ask. Asking “what” and “how” is usually the way to go as your curiosity leads to the main answer of the communication. Avoid asking “why“! Asking your target “why” interferes with the relationship between negotiator and communicator – it creates defensiveness which easily turns into offensiveness. Having empathy matters because you want to show you care about your communicator. Consider using calibrated questions to shape thinking such as

  • how do I do that?
  • what do I get out of it?
  • what is the outcome?


Mirroring” is one of many negotiation tools that can aid in reaching an agreement or identifying communication sources. It’s all about reflecting the message back to the sender. Mirroring helps make your statements sound interested in your communicator – to use mirroring you repeat the last three words

“Do you love to read?”

“Yes, I love to read, because…”

Using questions to mirror the purpose of the conversation helps to establish relationship and understanding between sender and receiver – it’s all about showing genuine curiosity to get people talking. Your communicator should feel as if you are collaborating with them or harboring the same viewpoint in order to extract the requisite data from them.



Labeling” serves as a valuable negotiation tool that aids in defining your communicator’s problem or issue. As the negotiator, you gain a deeper understanding of the obstacles your communicator faces and how best to provide assistance.

“Sounds to me you are having troubles in school?”

“Yes, I do. I can’t focus, and I…”

It’s important to engage in active listening to gather as much information as possible while deliberately limiting the amount of personal information. This builds rapport and trust between negotiators and communicators, ultimately leading to a successful outcome. Achieving this requires a professional approach, prioritizing the exchange of information over personal disclosure.

Cross-Cultural Negotiation

When conducting negotiations, it is important to understand the individuals you will be communicating with. Understanding cultural differences in negotiation plays a significant role in affecting communication and preferences, attitudes towards time, hierarchy between the parties, and decision-making.

It is critical to conduct research to gain knowledge of the culture of the opposing party, including their values, customs, and beliefs. During research, it is essential to grasp the communication styles, negotiation tactics, and business practices of the opposing party. Different types of research include anticipating behaviors, identifying potential misunderstandings, and adjusting communication and negotiation techniques accordingly.

Effective negotiation relies on establishing trust and understanding shared values through respectful personal relationships. It is crucial to demonstrate curiosity and an open-minded commitment to mutual benefit, even regarding cultural differences. However, it is essential to approach with caution and avoid making assumptions or stereotypical statements that can damage communication and harm both parties.

Be sure to follow up on the negotiation to ensure that the agreement is being properly implemented. This demonstrates a commitment to professionalism and helps to build trust, strengthening the relationship for future negotiations.


Getting to Yes

Negotiation is a vital form of communication that can be learned and improved upon through practical experience. Alongside mirroring and labeling, there are numerous ways to approach negotiations effectively. “Getting to Yes” (Fisher & Ury, 2012) provides essential tools to understand the practical workings of negotiations and achieve agreements without compromising. Some of the tools involve

  • Don’t bargain over position
  • Seperate the people from the problem
  • Insist on objective criteria

Establishing a common ground between sender and receiver is crucial in an effective communication. It is imperative to focus on shared interests rather than positions to avoid condescension towards each other.



Negotiation is a process of persuasive collaboration that results in mutual benefits. Effective communication skills, including calibrated questioning and attentive listening, are essential in winning over business partners. It’s important to remember that there is no set timeline in negotiations. Don’t rush the conversation, take your time to understand and exchange information with your counterpart to build a long-term relationship.

The negotiation tools mentioned above are derived from the book “Never Split the Difference,” written by former FBI negotiator Chris Voss. You can watch the following video to witness the tools in action, and determine how to leverage negotiation to achieve your desired outcomes from your communicator.


Fisher, R., & Ury, W. (2012). Getting to yes: Negotiating an agreement without giving in. Random House.

Ltd, S. (n.d.). 10 Tips for Successful Cross-Cultural Negotiation | Scotwork GlobalScotwork.

Voss, Christopher, & Raz, T. (2016). Never split the difference: Negotiating as if your life depended on it. Random House Business Books.

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