In any successful negotiation, it is essential to remember to empathize with the other party or parties. It means trying to see the situation from their perspective and understanding their needs and objectives. Only by doing this can you hope to find a mutually beneficial solution. Following are some key principles to remember when you reach the negotiating table.

Recognize Non-Verbal Cues

When it comes to communication, we often think about what we should say. But it’s just as important to pay attention to what we’re not saying—our body language.

Observing nonverbal cues like body language can help us understand how someone is really feeling. And when we combine that knowledge with active listening, we can show empathy and build stronger relationships.

For example, you are talking with a person that applied for a job in your company. You can find out a lot of focusing on non-verbal things to be sure whether that person is honest and represents the right candidate.

You can focus on body language, movement of hands, signs of stress, and more. Also, the benefit of showing some level of empathy will help you to stay aware of the fact that people usually are feeling stressed when dealing with specific situations, which is the application for a job. Therefore, you can try something to make that person more relaxed.

Of course, reading body language is not always easy. It requires us to be present in the moment and attuned to the other person. But it’s not difficult to learn, and effective negotiation seminars on Karrass will help you get started in the right direction. The effort is worth it because it allows us to connect with others more deeply..

Benefits of Being Empathetic

  • You can build trust and understanding, which are essential for making deals happen.
  • It is more likely you will achieve a win-win outcome you can both feel happy about and which is likely to be sustainable.
  • You will reduce the chances of damaging a relationship with the other party.
  • It helps you be flexible and open to new ideas, which can lead to better solutions.
  • You are more likely to effectively present your case and be convincing on crucial issues that matter to you.
  • It will help you deal with various challenges and even resolve some issues

Lack of empathy can become a problem in many situations. For example, someone in your company is struggling at the moment due to personal issues. That can lead to lack of efficiency and some other problems. However, it can be a mistake if you choose to focus on your leadership and start forcing that person. You might create even bigger problems or even lose a worker.

Instead of that, you can show some level of empathy and look for a solution that will help that person. It doesn’t even have to involve things like giving him free days. All you need to do is to show that you understand and that you have compassion. It works surprisingly effective since it can be a great motivation for people.

Another way of using empathy in negotiation is to simple show that you are aware of the needs of the other side, and that you are looking forward to achieve the benefits for both sides. The positive side of this is when you want to create a better deal during negotiations.

Challenges of Using Empathy in Negotiation


When it comes to negotiation, empathy is key. But what exactly is empathy? Empathy is the capacity to comprehend another person’s feelings and view things from their point of view. It’s an important skill to have in any negotiation, whether you’re trying to reach a business deal or resolve a conflict.

Though using empathy in negotiation can be challenging. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes can be difficult, especially if you don’t agree with their position. Additionally, people are often resistant to change, so even if you do manage to see things from their perspective, they may not be willing to budge on their stance.

However, there are ways to overcome these obstacles. Here’s how some of the world’s most successful negotiators have used empathy in their negotiations.

  • You don’t have to agree with someone to understand them, and you don’t have to like someone to empathize with them. The more you listen to what others have to say, the easier it will be for you to feel empathy for them.
  • Look for common ground. Once you’ve listened to the other side, think about what interests or goals you share with them. Are there issues that could affect both of you?
  • Ask questions. Questions can be powerful tools in your negotiation process, and they can also help you to understand others. When you ask good questions, you show that you’re interested in what the other person has to say and want to understand their perspective.

Moreover, showing too much empathy can be recognized as a weakness. Keep in mind that it can be good on some level, but that it should never be a reason to accept the terms that you don’t like.


As we already mentioned, the advantage of showing empathy is to become better in negotiating. The key is to simply present your needs and vision about some topic, but to beware of the other side, and the fact that they might have different views, desires, plans, and more.

However, it can be tricky if you do too far with your empathy and start following the demands on the other side that are not in your favor. Keep in mind that some people might use your empathy in their favor, and it is crucial to recognize that from the start. The point is that the both sides are aware of their own needs and mutual collaboration that can be done properly only if both sides are reaching some benefits.


Active listening is a skill that can be used in many different situations, but it is especially important during negotiations. When you actively listen, you are focused only on the person speaking, making eye contact and giving them your full attention. It shows that you are interested in what they have to say and want to understand their perspective.

It can also help build rapport and trust, which are essential for successful negotiations. The ability to use empathy in negotiation is not something that you can build overnight. It require skills and experience. Those with lack of experience can make a mistake where it can turn out to be a weakness in negotiations.