9 Insights on What Makes a Good Negotiator


      Top executives in sales and purchasing ask, “What is the most important trait we should look for in selecting a good negotiator?”  If I were to restrict my answer to a single trait, it would be the ability of negotiators to deal with people in their own organization.  Good negotiators should be good networkers.  Only in that way can they understand the needs of those around them and balance their expectations and priorities.  A diplomat’s success in dealing with other world leaders in trade negotiations will, in the last analysis, be dependent on his or her ability to deal with the President, the Cabinet, the Congress, the press, the people, and the CEO’s of the major corporations involved.

Here are some other traits that good negotiators share:

ONE:  An ability to work with the other party in searching for creative win-win ideas to bring the parties together.

TWO: A logical mind.  The ability to present his or her position in terms of principles that can be easily communicated.  Abraham Lincoln once said of another politician, “He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas of any man I’ve ever met.”  That man, I’m sure, was not a good negotiator.

THREE:  A dedication to painstaking preparation and detail.

FOUR:  A willingness to tolerate disagreement and confrontation.

FIVE:  The ability to live with ambiguity for long periods of time. Things are rarely black or white in negotiation.

SIX:  Good judgment.  As the old farmer who was known for his wisdom said when asked why he was so wise, “I’ve got good judgment.  Good judgment comes from experience; and a lot of experience comes from bad judgment.”

SEVEN:  Patience and willingness to let the situation evolve. Remember, rushing to complete a negotiation can harm you.

EIGHT:  Persistence and a refusal to give up in the face of opposition. You might hear “No” many times before you get to “Yes”.

NINE: Hard work and stamina. Lazy people make poor negotiators. Negotiations take work and effort to be successful.

These are just 9 of the 18 insights on what makes a good negotiator. Watch the next post for 9 more.


Thanks for visiting! If you enjoyed this post, you can learn many more useful negotiation tips through our free download of Negotiating Tips.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *