Without good communication skills it is impossible to create an environment to come to an effective and workable deal.  When we go in to a negotiation of course we are out to get what we want – in the best terms – but we are not alone.  The other side is also looking to engage in the process and get what they want too. So how can you manage your communication to get the best deal?  Here are 5 key things to consider:


  • Communication is not just about telling the other party what you want.  It’s an opportunity to learn what they want and why.  It’s about really listening to their motives and getting a true understanding of what they want to get from the deal.  Only with understanding their side can we confidently create a proposal to come to a deal.

Too many deals are lost or sub optimal by rushing forward with proposals that don’t address the other party’s needs.


  • Active Listening. We are incredibly bad listeners!  It is an undervalued skill that I try to improve with all my students.  We (and I do include myself in this) tend to hear what we want to hear, or stop listening and start formulating a response instead of focussing on what is being said.

Learn to not only hear what is being said, but also understand what is being said.


  • Language is everything. Good use of language is also important in developing good communication skills.  And by that I don’t just mean using fancy language, showing off with acronyms no-one really understands or explaining every detail.  Language can be damaging if it’s used casually or without thought.   Misunderstandings can easily occur.  Be clear, concise and most important, careful.

Make sure that what you say is what you mean – and that the meaning is understood by everyone.

  • Know when to shut up. There is not a week that goes by when I don’t see people talking too much, with overly complicated explanations and justifications.   Keep it concise and instead try to employ some more constructive ways to make your point.  Also, make a habit of asking questions, and letting the other side answer without interruptions – even if you disagree with them!

Too much information at once can be off putting.  How do you feel when you are trying to listen to someone for more than 5 minutes at a time?  Break it down into manageable chunks, make it interesting and help them remember and understand by summarising at the end.

  • Sharing is caring. Sometimes the opposite of number 4 above is also true, where a party is too coy about sharing information.  Some people purposefully hold back important information – as they don’t want to give the other side an advantage!  I’m not advocating to share corporate secrets or profit margins, but if you want to create a deal that actually addresses your interests, it helps if the other party know what you are looking for.

Ever been given a proposal and think it doesn’t give you what you want?  Ask yourself, do they KNOW what I want – did I even tell them?

Good communication skills can help with all of the above.  Get in touch if you want to talk about how to improve the communication skills of your team before their next negotiation.