What makes a good negotiator in your opinion?
It rests on mainly three legs. First, you must be assertive. This develops with an internal process of good subject matter knowledge, communication skills, self-belief and the ability to collaborate with internal stakeholders who will give you valuable input for the negotiations.
Secondly, you must have a high level of empathy and knowledge of what your clients need and want. Asking the right questions early in the process is essential. You must build trust with your clients. I think being empathetic rests on knowing that the aim is to build a long-term relationship that will reap future benefits. Being empathetic is key to finding a solution where both partners will gain value.
Finally, you must be adaptable. We always go in with a rough process. But once in the room, we are often dealt unknown cards. The key is to be flexible, read the situation holistically, foresee various outcomes – and then make a decision.