“Leaders Increase Skills – New Advice – How To Use Likability To Win Negotiations Now” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Good leaders lead better by controlling evolution, which thwarts revolution. The former is a rise to higher heights – the latter a downward spiral to hell.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“Leaders Increase Skills – New Advice – How To Use Likability To Win Negotiations Now”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

A leader’s negotiation skills are essential for achieving a successful negotiation outcome. And likability is a critical component of these skills, as it helps to create trust, build positive relationships and encourage collaboration.

One strategy that can be particularly effective in negotiations is for a leader to use likeability to their advantage. People are generally more willing to compromise and agree with someone they like and trust. Therefore, building rapport and establishing a good relationship with the other party by being likable is essential before entering negotiations.

The following information delivers insights into how leaders can use likability to increase their chances of success in negotiations.

1. Control Emotions

The first step to using likability to win negotiations is to control emotions, yours and, to the degree you can, those with whom you negotiate. No matter how complex a negotiation may be, a sense of calm must remain. If emotions become unruly, unruliness will seep into your talks.

When leaders sense a negotiation is becoming too fraught with hostile feelings, they should step away from the negotiation table to allow tempers to de-escalate. Doing so will ensure the leader’s bargaining sessions do not become hostage to those emotions.  

2. Find Common Ground

The second step is to find common ground. The cliché, “we are all more alike than we are different,” is very appropriate in this case. Looking for common ground can help to bridge the gap between leaders during a negotiation.

Leaders can bridge that gap by identifying shared values, goals, or interests and then finding ways to use these shared goals to their advantage. Accordingly, leaders focusing on what they have in common can create a sense of shared purpose and build a foundation for a successful negotiation.

3. Be Supportive

The third step is to be supportive. Do not take a win/lose position before entering into negotiations. A zero-sum mindset only enhances the probability that snafus will occur in the talks – making it more difficult to negotiate successfully.  

Negotiations can be challenging, and supporting the other party’s position is imperative as long as it does not negatively affect yours. Showing empathy and understanding can help to create an atmosphere of trust, which can lead to successful negotiation outcomes.

4. Use Body Language And Nonverbal/Verbal Appropriately

The fourth step for a leader to increase their negotiation skills and enhance their likability is to use body language appropriately during negotiations. Showing respect and openness by not making hostile gestures (e.g., crossed arms, smirking, frowning, standing too close/far, exhaling as though exasperated) can send positive signals, which can help to create a positive atmosphere.

Instead of showing adverse body gestures, display an open mindset by using open gestures (e.g., arms uncrossed, smiling where and when appropriate, and using positive phrasing). They can be seen as signs of cooperation, fostering more excellent collaborations between leaders.

5. Display Genuine Interest In The Opposition And Be A Good Listener

Likability can be fickle. Thus, minor nuances can tilt it in a leader’s favor or against them. Before the negotiation, take the time to get to know the person with whom you will engage. That will embolden your chances of becoming likable.

Show a genuine interest in the needs and concerns of the leader with whom you negotiate. That can be as simple as listening intently to responses to questions you pose and asking open-ended questions to their answers. By demonstrating that you care about their perspective, you are more likely to build trust, establish a positive relationship, and increase your likability.

6. Be Respectful

Even if a leader disagrees with the opposition during negotiation, it is important to remain respectful and polite. Being respectful does not cost anything, and it can net significant gains toward a leader becoming likable. Avoid making personal insults or inflammatory comments – they can create unnecessary tension and derail the negotiation process.

7. Understand The Power Of Being A Good Negotiator

Negotiations are a powerful tool that leaders use to reach mutually beneficial agreements. Most leaders are keenly aware of this fact. But some leaders classify negotiation skills as being a soft skill to have.

If leaders want to excel, they must understand the power of negotiation and use it to their advantage. And where likability intersects with good negotiation skills, adhering to the prior information will allow leaders to enrich their negotiation outcomes simply by enhancing their negotiation skills.


Likability can be a silent enhancer to increase a leader’s negotiation skills. But leaders must be mindful of being punked – intentionally fooled by someone feigning subjugation to a leader’s likability; some would use such ploys to catch the leader in a state of vulnerability through such usage.

Nevertheless, based on the environment in which leaders negotiate, likability can and will serve them well in most situations. Thus, leaders can increase their chances of negotiation success by controlling emotions, finding common ground, being supportive, using body language appropriately, displaying genuine interest in the opposition, being respectful, and understanding the value of good negotiations.

Therefore, to become a better leader, use likability as an aid. Accordingly, the next time you enter a negotiation, remember to use it to your advantage and watch your leadership skills soar. Because using likability wisely and being mindful of who might use it against you when you are the leader, will increase your leadership skills and have more positive negotiation outcomes. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating! 

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After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

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