The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

We can’t control the issues that arise during a negotiation or the attitude of the buyer, but we can control our own skill level and approach. The more we understand and manage our own behavior, the greater the influence we will have on others.

Good reputation and intentions
People may forget the finer points of a negotiation, but they will remember how we treat them. Burning people, or being too sharp or cunning, gives you a negative reputation. The aim is to win in business, and one deal is only one deal. Winning the battle and losing the war is for short-term transaction types.

Respectful, trusting, and trustworthy
Getting to a mutually satisfactory and beneficial outcome is the goal. If you treat your counterparts with respect, this bolsters your business reputation as someone who can be trusted, and that is worth a lot more than one transaction.

Confident and positive
Having the right intentions lends strength to find a solution that will be well regarded. Constantly look for a way through difficulties, seeking to find a solution to the other party’s issues.

Well prepared
Knowing the facts, the background, the individuals, and the market situation are all elements you can, and should, prepare prior to negotiations. Being able to quickly source key information is a tremendous booster to finding a successful outcome.

Composed
“Calm and considerate” is a good position to adopt in negotiations. Emotional control is a prerequisite for success.

Effective communicator
This idea often suggests being a good talker, when in fact being a good listener is often more important. Asking excellent questions and listening for what is not being said is an approach that will yield rewards. Diplomacy goes a long way to improve understanding and create agreement.

People skills
Helping people relax, finding common ground, and getting on others’ wavelengths are all critical people skills. Being able to remove barriers and reduce inflammation points through your treatment of others makes negotiations proceed smoothly.

People like to do business with others like them, and that is where individuals with strong people skills really shine. They are able to operate on a level that the counterpart likes and respects.

Open-minded
Flexibility is a source of strength in a fluid, shifting activity like negotiating. Rigidity can lock us into a position that precludes a final, mutually beneficial agreement, usually because we have let our own ego get in the way.

Creative
We are sometimes captives of our limited knowledge and experience, and so the world of possibilities seems small.

Finding a tangential solution through a creative approach can produce surprising breakthroughs when everything seems to be heading toward a train wreck in negotiations. Thinking about a problem from various angles helps us to see options that may be hidden.

A risk taker
In finding agreement there is always an element of risk. Caution, timidity, and fear drive us into corners from which it is sometimes difficult to emerge.

Having the capacity to take a risk—because you have thought through how to minimize that risk once taken—is a big advantage when it comes to finding creative solutions to end an impasse.

Business is not a one-time deal, so you make your mark in the community according to how you treat others and, especially, the way you do business. Bad news has always traveled fast and far, but with the current prevalence of business social media, we are talking another level of transparency.

Successful negotiators know this and never let their reputation become sullied for a small tricky gain. They play the long game and seek to permanently increase their influence.