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Negotiation is one of the most difficult jobs a person can do. It requires a combination of diverse traits and skills. The process of negotiating demands not only good business judgment but also a keen understanding of human nature. I know of no other area in business where the alchemy of power, persuasion, economics, motivation, and organizational pressure come together in so concentrated a fashion and so narrow a time frame. Nowhere is the return on investment potential so high!

Here are some of the attributes I look for in a good negotiator:

• An ability to negotiate effectively with members of their own organization and win their confidence.

• A willingness and commitment to plan carefully; know the product/project, the rules and the alternatives; and the courage to probe and check information. • Good business judgment; an ability to discern the real bottom-line issues.

• The ability to tolerate conflict and ambiguity.

• The courage to commit oneself to higher targets and to take the risks that go with it.

• The wisdom to be patient and thereby to wait for the story to unfold. • A willingness to get involved with the other party and their organization—that is, to understand all the various personal and business issues.

• A commitment to integrity and mutual satisfaction.

• An ability to listen open-mindedly. • The insight to view the negotiation from a personal standpoint—that is, to see the hidden personal issues that could affect the outcome. • Self-confidence based on knowledge and planning.

• A willingness to use experts; an understanding of how a team might be valuable in the negotiation.

• A stable person; one who has learned to negotiate with oneself and to laugh a little; one who doesn't have too strong a need to be liked so they can feel free to disagree when the need arises. Common sense and research tell us that skilled negotiators create better agreements. We are not born with these skills, it takes practice and persistence, but they can be learned!

About the Author:

Dr. Chester L. Karrass brings extensive experience, advanced academic credentials in negotiation techniques, and over 35 years experience in seminar delivery no other negotiator in the country can match. After earning an Engineering degree from the University of Colorado and a Masters in Business from Columbia University, Dr. Karrass became a negotiator for the Hughes organization. There he won the first Howard Hughes Doctoral Fellowship Award, and spent three years conducting advanced research and experimentation in negotiation techniques before earning his Doctorate from the University of Southern California

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