Establishing Trust in Negotiation


All businessmen and women know that a baseline of trust between parties is critical to the success of any negotiation. But within the course of business dealings, how do you build that trust? What active steps can you take to raise the chances of a positive outcome for both sides? Instead of simply hoping that your personality and that of the other party mesh well, go out of your way to make your next negotiation flow smoothly.

Here are a few key action items that, if handled well, can set a positive tone for a great business meeting.


Being guarded with a lot of information is a quick way to ruin a potential negotiation. Open up to the other party and inform them of what you are looking to get out of this resolution. This is not to say that you have to divulge any and all trade secrets to every new business partner. However, sharing your overall goals for the process will open up the lines of communication and make sure all other efforts are not fruitless.


The tone of the meeting is extremely important and also very malleable. Your body language and the pace that you set can be determining factors in how comfortable it feels on the other side of the table from you. Allowing emotions into a negotiation often carries a negative connotation. However, bringing positive attitude and connecting emotionally to your counterpart is essential to developing a strong bond of trust. Actively listen to what he/she is looking for and show an eagerness to bring both sides closer to a compromise.

Timing and Location

Seemingly minute details such as the time and location of a negotiation can actually add up to a success or disaster depending on how well they are handled. Try and find a time that both parties will not be interrupted by the endless distractions that professional (and personal) lives can attract. Ensure that both sides have blocked out this time, as these distractions can innately create a more stressful environment. Along with the right time, find the right place. To help establish trust, either defer the location choice to the person you are meeting with or choose somewhere that will be convenient and comfortable for everyone.


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