Negotiation is something that can be learned.  You need not be born with some extraordinary talent and for as long as you are willing to learn, the negotiator in you can be developed!  Negotiator qualities may be classified into attitudes, knowledge/skill and actions they undertake.
Attitudes Espoused
Patience coupled with a sense of timing is critical in negotiations. Overly aggressive people on the other hand, often end up in unnecessary deadlocks that could have been avoided if proper patience and sense of timing have been used instead.  Procrastination, misconstrued to be patience lacking in sense of timing proves to be detrimental instead of helpful in most cases.
Another attitude needed is perseverance balanced with realism. There needs to be a desire to find creative solution options albeit cognizant of the gravitational pull of reality. Bullheadedness on the other hand, serves front seat tickets to deadlocks while lack of realism propels one into an eternal loop of possibility searches far exceeding the limits of what are probable.
Finally an attitude to seek genuine fairness indeed sets a course for negotiating effectively.  This attitude manifests through non-verbal language and influences counterpart attitudes, thus significantly contributing as to which quadrant of the negotiating atmosphere (open, war, endurance and deception) the parties would tend to linger in.
Knowledge and Skills Required
First of all, good negotiators clearly understand the difference between persuasion and negotiation as well as between bargaining and negotiating. Secondly, good negotiators know and are skilled to draw interests instead of being fixated with drawbacks and issue objectives. Thirdly, good negotiators understand the dynamics and maneuverings among the different elements of negotiation namely, relationship levels of parties, offers and counteroffers, issues, stonewalls, impasses, deadlocks, parachute options and back door exits.  They do this to the extent that they can take snapshot pulses to determine agreement-deadlock probabilities at any given moment of the negotiation, or better yet navigate through these even while in a weak position vis-à-vis their counterpart. . Fourthly, good negotiators understand the principles of power and pressure and how to navigate, or better yet influence their negotiation atmosphere.  On top of these, good negotiators possess the ability to diagnose and handle tactical gambits that may be hurled at them by their counterparts.
Actions Needed
In terms of action, good negotiators plan well. They can either plan tactically or both strategically and tactically depending on the scale and scope of negotiations they will be getting themselves into. The more important or high impact the deal is on their business or lives, the more sophistication should be employed in planning. Incidentally, Mansmith has developed valuable tools for different levels of planning from concession management bucketing, to the use of nego-mathematics, to nego-mapping and encounter planning using venue-methodology strategies.
In terms of execution, good negotiators use 3D language reading and projection, never relying on just words but holistically reading and projecting appropriately calibrated body language and tonalities that accompany verbal communication.  By doing so, good negotiators strongly influence the directional flow, outcome and negotiation atmosphere backdrop they play within regardless of whether they are more powerful or utterly weaker than their counterparts.
In summary, good negotiators have the attitudes of patience coupled with a good sense of timing, perseverance tempered by realism and a genuine sense of fairness. In terms of knowledge and skill, good negotiators have mastery of negotiation dynamics, tactical and strategic maneuverings. Finally, good negotiators act based on well-analyzed plans calibrated in sophistication depending on scale and scope of application, followed by superior execution using 3Dimensional language (verbals, tonalities and body language) reading and projections.
Rowen Untivero is a Partner and Chief Sales Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., the country’s leading marketing and sales, strategy and innovation training company.  He is the developer/training master of Selling Science and three Negotiation Courses (Tactical, Strategic and 3D Language of Negotiation), where related framework, processes, strategies and tools can exclusively be learned. Please send your questions, comments or feedback to You can also visit