There’s an old saying that “80 percent of life is just showing up.” I’d expand on that with – “and negotiating for something.” Unfortunately, many approach negotiating as a win/lose proposition, when it shouldn’t be. It’s a communication process in which two parties are striving for a conclusion that is mutually acceptable. Negotiating, whether you are hiring someone, working out terms with a supplier for retail products, forming a partnership or purchasing equipment, is part of building a relationship so that it’s important both parties feel good about the outcome.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be born with an inherent talent for negotiating to succeed at it. Here are seven easy steps to take to boost your negotiating skills and get the outcomes you want.

Get Smart

In order to effectively negotiate, you’ll want to find out as much as you can about the objectives of the other party. Based on past experiences, you may be able to draw some conclusions. You can talk to others who do business with the party you are negotiating with. Go online and see if there’s any news or commentary in social media. There’s also nothing to stop you from being direct and asking the party what they hope to achieve from the negotiation. The other party may expect you to be equally forthright about your expectations.

Don’t Be Afraid To Aim High

Ask for what you want – as high as you want – as long as you can justify your objectives. Aiming high doesn’t mean setting a line in the sand. Negotiating isn’t about asserting a ‘take it or leave it’ position.

Provide Data

To help support your position, provide as much information as possible. Doing so can help the other party resolve any ambivalent feelings they may have about your position.


Just as you should provide as much data as possible about your position, also listen to the other side. Ask probing questions if the other party isn’t forthcoming. The more you understand the other party, the better you can come to a mutually satisfying agreement.

Avoid Egos

While you are in the process of negotiating, keep your ego on the sidelines. Even though you have something the other party wants, the objective is to agree to terms both parties accept. Listen to what the other party has to say and be respectful of their point of view and position as you work through a mutually beneficial solution.

Don’t Get Emotional

A lot of emotion may be generated during a negotiation. They key is to stay cool and be diplomatic at all times. When things remain calm and peaceful, you have a better chance of reaching mutually acceptable goals.


Accept that you probably will need to compromise. For that reason, decide what you are willing to concede even before you enter into the negotiation. Still negotiating doesn’t mean agreeing to terms that are unacceptable to you. If the deal doesn’t feel right or meet any of your needs, walk away and seek other options. The last thing to keep in mind about negotiating is don’t be in a hurry, The more you rush to come to an agreement, the more you may make mistakes and forgo some key elements of your objectives. Keep your eye on your objective and don’t leave the table until you are satisfied.