The Importance of Personal Attributes in Business Negotiations

Your personal values and how they affect your emotions are key to a successful business negotiation. They are responsible for whether or not you make agreements and relationships or become combative and lose the ability to form any type of relationship.

It is necessary to have certain characteristics about yourself in order to be successful in any negotiation. The author of The Negotiation Book, Steve Gates, lays out a list of attributes that one must have in hopes of optimizing one’s success as well as the success of the Organization. To kickstart your personal development in this field, The Negotiation Society can be a vital first step if one is seeking to further their business negotiation skills through negotiation training. They boast over 20,000 members, and offer webinars and articles on all things negotiation.


Trust is one of the most important, if not the most important, characteristic one can obtain. With it being the most important, it requires much more time and effort. It must be earned over time; it is never given. The hard part with that is once you have gained the trust, it can very easily be broken. It is imperative that once you have become a trustworthy person you maintain that trust in order to keep relationships and continue to create more. Being known for having trust as a personal attribute implies that you are good for your word which consequently will lead to more successful relationships and negotiations.


Respect goes hand in hand with trust. Just as trust has to be earned, respect must be earned as well. The respect one hopes to achieve comes from being firm. A lot of people mistake respect with power and believe that if one has power, they will earn respect, however, this is not always the case. Being firm and precise is a lot different than having power. One can be respected by being firm, but more times than not will be perceived as rude or empowering if they try to use their power to their advantage. Instead of trying to manipulate the other party, one should put in the work, create reasonable terms, and be open to suggestions which in the end will attract respect to oneself naturally. The more respect one earns, the more willing organizations are to do business with you.


The principles one has are key to any business negotiation. Having valid and respectable principles shows the other party that you are not only trustworthy but that you are a firm supporter of what you believe in. Integrity comes from being consistent. Maintaining consistency as well as confidentiality promotes integrity and leads to reliable information that people can believe and rely on. Never doubt the principles and morals you have because that can be taken as a sign of weakness. Instead, be strong in what you know and believe. Integrity is a key factor for success and is critical in order for business to take place.


Honesty is one of the most admirable attributes a person can have. In any negotiation, it is very important to never tell a lie. A lie may work in that instance, but further down the road, you will only find yourself digging a deeper hole. Instead of focusing on what you want to do, bring attention to what you are willing to do. This will allow for a more open mindset as well as a lower chance of getting caught in a lie.


One must take into consideration the needs and terms of the other party. It is much more difficult to undergo a negotiation when you are unfamiliar with the needs of your counterpart. Do your research, ask questions, and do not be afraid to consider the needs of all-party members. Remain sensitive to the issues at hand while at the same time maintaining respect for yourself and others. If you cannot understand how to do this, then you are not ready to negotiate and need to start back at square one.


In order to be considerate, one must know how to be empathetic. The more you understand your counterpart’s position, the better off you are. You should never feel sorry for someone or feel obligated to stoop down to their level. Instead, try to understand and appreciate the challenges and terms from their perspective without becoming too sympathetic.

If you can acquire all of these personal attributes and understand negotiation techniques, you will be well on your way to becoming a highly skilled business negotiator.

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