4 Steps to Mastering the Art of Negotiation

Negotiation is an invaluable skill in any setting. While the idea of negotiating may not come as easily to some, understanding the fundamentals can be the difference between things ranging from high and low salaries and even vacation days. It can also be the difference between winning over clients and keeping a robust customer base.

Below are a few helpful hints to improving your negotiating skills:

  1. Research

Before you ask for something, you need to fully understand what it is you want and what you could be up against. What is it that the other party wants in the situation and how can you best leverage what you have to offer? It’s important to understand the company’s history. Has what you’re asking for already been asked before? How did that situation end up? How similar is your situation? There’s nothing worse than being blindsided in the middle of negotiation talks. If you do your homework, you’ll be more prepared to take any punch that comes your way.

  1. Consider Your Approach

Different settings cater to different types of needs. Before negotiating, make sure to consider how you want your approach to be received. Does it make a difference if the conversation is in public or private? Will it be more effective if the conversation is informal? Is it more appropriate to schedule a formal meeting? Managers and coworkers react differently in different settings and understanding what works best for your company is imperative and can be the difference between a “yes” and a “no.”

  1. Never be Afraid to Ask

Mustering up the ability to ask a question, although daunting at times, can reap surprising benefits. The famous book on gender inequality in the workplace, Women Don’t Ask, revealed people who do negotiate average a 7% increase in salaries alone. If you never ask, you’ll never truly know what the limitations of your situation are. Also, it’s important to advocate for yourself and for others. Learning how to do so earlier rather than later will only help later down the road and will give you better insight on future negotiating power.

  1. Negotiate

During the negotiating process, be mindful of the fact that you may be confronted with conflicting ideas, not conflicting people. Negotiating can be tricky and remembering that things aren’t meant to be taken personally is important to understand. Whether or not you are the first person to make an offer, make sure to remember what your goals are and what the absolute minimum is that you are willing to accept. In today’s age you don’t have to scream the loudest or be the tallest person in the room to be heard. However, make sure to back up your points with data and facts. It is much more difficult to argue over facts than opinions.


As Chester L. Karrass once said, “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.” Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to improving your negotiating prowess!