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Developing your negotiating and influencing skills

Kyla Atkinson, Careers Consultant, reports on the #SkillsforSuccess session held on campus by RBS.

Many job descriptions will include negotiating and influencing skills as essential criteria. This is particularly the case in marketing, business, sales, legal, and governmental roles.

So what are these skills and how do you develop them?  

Negotiation is a form of discussion that aims to reach an agreement between two parties. Influencing is the power to create an effect on people, bringing them around to your way of thinking. RBS outlined their Seven Key Influencing Strategies, based on the work of Gary Yukl (2008). We’ll all use a wide range of these in different circumstances. Which one comes most naturally to you?

  1. Rational Persuasion: this strategy focuses on explaining a point through facts and figures as well as logical evidence. It can be very useful in influencing others as it is not based on opinion alone.
  2. Consultation: consultation is a collaborative strategy that invites others to express any concerns or suggest further improvements on a decision or a project.
  3. Inspiration: inspiration appeals directly to people’s emotions, motivators, and values. This can be a powerful strategy.
  4. Ingratiation: this strategy focuses on building trust between individuals. This can be achieved through the use of humour, compliments, common interests, and praising a person’s achievements. However if this is not genuine, it will be easily detected.
  5. Exchange: exchange is a very positive strategy that is used widely particularly on Facebook through liking someone’s page or endorsements on LinkedIn, with the view that someone will reciprocate, or repay the compliment.
  6. Personal Appeal: this strategy is based on empathy and sympathy. It involves individuals reaching out to others when they are in a difficult situation and require help.
  7. Coalition: coalition appeals to people’s need to belong to a group or a team. This strategy is also called the Bandwagon Effect. It is a very powerful strategy, particularly in commercial services.

If an application form, or an interviewer, asks for evidence that you have negotiation and influencing skills the key thing to remember is that we all use them frequently in our day-to-day lives. This might be through settling a disagreement with a landlord, convincing members of the public to sign up for a campaign, or convincing our friends to agree on our choice of holiday destination. Identifying a situation of this kind and using the STAR acronym (situation, task, action, result) to structure your answer is the way to approach this sort of question.

For more advice on making applications see our website

University of Edinburgh students – check MyDevelopmentHub for ways of developing your skills.


(Image by Rawpixel on Pixabay; CC0)

(Image by Rawpixel on Pixabay; CC0)


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