Business negotiation skills may seem like a daunting accomplishment that takes years of studying to obtain, but that need not be the case, as this article endeavours to present.
 Prepare and Plan
Business negotiation can be anything from getting colleagues to co-exist professionally, to establishing an agreement or contract of business interaction. One essential negotiation skill that is often overlooked is the one that precedes all others, namely planning and strategizing the negotiation in advance. This involves doing research and gathering all information into a cohesive format which may be easily conveyed to others once the actual negotiations begin. The information should be relevant, reliable and should be the essential information needed to ensure a productive and effective negotiation.
 Find mutual ground
The ultimate aim of any negotiation is for two winners to emerge.
The mutual goals of all parties involved should be the primary focal point. Negotiation skills pivot upon effectively keeping the focus of the entire negotiation centred on the mutual goals of all parties, and how your suggestion or service is able to satisfy or in minimalist terms oblige their needs and goals. In a competitive or corporate environment it is then specifically important how your company is able to do this better than any of the competitors who are able to provide the same satisfaction.
 Be logical
Bear in mind that most human beings depend on hard evidence when making decisions, it is how we survive in life and this is equally true in the business world. Thus, it is a good strategy to put forth solid evidence which shows all other parties why they would benefit from working with you. This can be done by emphasizing your past experiences with other clients like them and how those clients benefited from their interaction with you. Including clients’ testimonials is a solid strategy, but be careful not to use too many as this may become tedious and laborious to the extent where you alienate instead of attract clients.
 Deal with yourself
A very effective stratagem is to put yourself in the shoes of those with whom you intend to negotiate. Try and ask yourself why you would do business with you or take you up on your offer if you were one of them. Be very critical and honest with yourself because they wouldn’t hold back criticism, so you have to try and emulate their thoughts and feelings as accurately as possible so that you are able to cover all your bases and rectify any problems that you may find with your proposal. This will help you to make your negotiation as attractive as possible, before it has even begun.
If you are unable to be critical of yourself, the best thing you could do is to get a friend or family member to screen your proposal or offer. To do this effectively you should let them pretend to be the other party while you present your proposal, and ask them to react honestly and critically so that you will be prepared for anything that the client party could possibly throw at you.
These are simple strategies, but they are extremely effective business negotiation skills.
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Jonas Ezeanya is an executive speech coach and presentation expert based in Lagos, Nigeria. Connect with him on LinkedIn.