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How to Negotiate Effectively and Build Trust in Negotiations

Whether you’re negotiating over a pay rise, a commercial property investment, or a divorce settlement, many factors could put you at a disadvantage. Unfortunately, though we have come a long way, things like gender, race, and age, can still place you at a disadvantage in the modern world.

In other cases, you may feel like you have fewer cards up your sleeve if you know you have more riding on the deal than the other person does. To make it through this situation and achieve a good result, it’s crucial to go into the negotiations well-prepared. The following tips should help you in this endeavor. Learn how to negotiate effectively, including strategies for building rapport, identifying interests, and finding common ground.

Strategies for Negotiating with Difficult People

How to Negotiate Effectively

You can never be too prepared

Research is the critical first step before you enter into any negotiation. You need a thorough understanding of the other party’s position, needs, wants, and priorities. You also want to give yourself an overview of comparable deals and market rates to ensure you know off the top of your head what’s reasonable and fair. Beyond simply acquiring this information, you need to study it so you can draw on it as needed amid negotiations.

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Find your leverage

You may be negotiating from a disadvantageous position, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a leg to stand on. No matter what your circumstances are, you likely have at least some form of leverage you can apply.

In a salary negotiation, this could be your unique expertise or the strength of your relationships with key stakeholders. In a divorce settlement, it could be your financial position or information you have about your spouse. The more leverage you have, the more power you’ll have when negotiating, so it’s worth taking the time to uncover all of your strengths.


Foster a positive relationship

This can be easier said than done in the more combative forms of negotiation. However, it always serves you well if you’re able to successfully build a positive relationship with the other party. To do so, you’ll need to be transparent, communicative, and open to their side of the story. By valuing trust and rapport, you communicate that you’re there to collaborate and find a mutually beneficial solution. This can take the sting out of an otherwise tense meeting.


Make your needs clear

Whether you’re able to diffuse the tension or not, it’s crucial to be upfront about what you’re looking for and why it’s important to you. By doing so, you present a more compelling case for why the other party should accommodate your needs. To ensure you nail it, practice presenting your case to a trusted friend or family member. Take on their feedback, and use it to hone your delivery.

Ask open-ended questions

While you must enter the room prepared, your research doesn’t end when the negotiations begin. The other party is your best resource for valuable information that can help you achieve your goal, so ask open-ended questions to find out as much as you can about their position.

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Manage your emotions

Negotiations can be anxiety-inducing at the best of times, but if you’re at a disadvantage, they’re even more stressful. Difficult though it may be, it’s crucial to keep your emotions in check if you want to secure a good outcome. If you feel things are getting out of hand on either side, consider asking for a break so you can clear your heads.

Prepare Thoroughly

Before entering into any negotiation, thorough preparation is crucial. Research the topic, understand the parties involved, and identify your desired outcomes. By gathering relevant information, you will enhance your credibility and confidence during the negotiation process.

Define Clear Objectives

Setting clear objectives is fundamental to successful negotiation. Determine what you want to achieve and prioritize your goals. Establish a range of acceptable outcomes to allow flexibility while maintaining focus.

Active Listening

Effective negotiation requires active listening skills. Pay close attention to the other party’s needs, concerns, and interests. This demonstrates empathy and helps build rapport. Active listening also allows you to identify areas of agreement and potential solutions.

Effective Communication

Communicate your thoughts, concisely, and confidently. Use simple and precise language to convey your message effectively. Avoid jargon or overly complex terms that may detract from understanding. This approach ensures coherence and aids in building trust.

Seek Win-Win Solutions

Aim for mutually beneficial outcomes rather than a win-lose mentality. Collaborate with the other party to identify creative solutions that meet both parties interests. By focusing on common ground, you can foster a positive negotiation environment.

Problem-Solving Approach

Approach negotiation as a problem-solving exercise. Instead of viewing the other party as an adversary, work together to find solutions that address underlying issues. This cooperative mindset encourages open dialogue and fosters constructive negotiations.

Flexibility and Compromise

Negotiation often involves compromise. Be flexible and willing to adjust your position to accommodate the other party’s needs, as long as it aligns with your objectives. Seek opportunities for trade-offs that result in a mutually beneficial agreement.

Maintain Professionalism and Emotional Control

During negotiations, it is essential to maintain professionalism and emotional control. Keep your emotions in check and focus on the issues at hand. Avoid personal attacks or aggressive behavior that may hinder progress.


Negotiating effectively requires a combination of strategic thinking, active listening, and effective communication. By employing these techniques, you can achieve favorable outcomes while maintaining coherence in your negotiation approach. Remember to adapt your strategy to each unique situation, and always strive for a win-win solution that satisfies both parties involved. You may still feel like you’re at a disadvantage going into your upcoming negotiations. However, if you follow the steps outlined above, you should have more leverage and, crucially, more confidence.


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