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Should We Use Humor
When Negotiating a Business Deal?

Humor can help negotiations, or harm if used inappropriately

Negotiations are a very important part of a business deal; the process is exciting and complex so it should be handled with care. There are so many ways to negotiate and numerous strategies to be used, not to mention that talented negotiators have great secrets they could share with the rest of the world.

Skilled negotiation strategies can help your company grow, and turn into a world-wide known corporation, while bad habits will make you lose clients and reach rock bottom. Regardless of your position inside a corporation, you ought to possess at least some basic negotiation abilities in case you ever have to sign a contract, discuss a deal, or take an important decision.

Business men and women
Start your business negotiations in a polite and professional tone, but be ready to spice it up with humor if and when an appropriate opportunity arises

Business individuals are claiming that if used properly, humor can help in negotiations. Indeed, you are advised to keep an upbeat attitude, talk politely, and adopt a professional smile, but since you’re discussing business too many jokes may distract, or even annoy the other party. Whether it’s appropriate or not to use humor in business it’s up to you to decide.

Be ready at all times!

Not all business people are casual, so prior to making any jokes you need to know more about the other party. Performing a thorough research and getting familiarized with your counterpart is an excellent way of finding out if humor is appropriate or not. If your partners are friendly and relaxed, they will surely appreciate your humor.

Do not forget to make plans

In the business world, the opening offer sets the tone of the whole negotiation, and will determine how things will move forward. That’s why you should plan your moves carefully to assure that your offer is neither exaggerated nor too permissive, because in either of these cases, the other party can take advantage. Since this is such a significant step, approaching it in a humoristic way is not a wise thing to do.

Group of casually dressed people
Some business people are casual and appreciate humor more readily in business negotiations

Make compromises

With or without humoristic approaches, your business deal must be closed. The end result should be mutually acceptable, so try not to make too many compromises. Don’t forget to include vital things, such as warranties, financial aspects, payments details, product specifications, and so on. If there are any terms or conditions from the other party’s offer that you don’t like, you should express your discontent openly, and write everything down.


Proficient negotiators are fully aware of how important it can be to have leverage over your partners. For example, if you’re the only company that makes a certain product, you already know that you’re in charge. Still, this shouldn’t determine you to become arrogant, but it will permit you to be more relaxed, and even make a few jokes, providing that your business associates are open-minded.

Mutually favorable deals

In order to reach an agreement that is equally convenient for both parties, you’ll have to focus on all the main issues, and treat them in a professional manner. We should include delivery costs, quality, and purchasing price in this category. Likewise, every business person should have in view the other party’s opinion regarding these matters, in order to be willing to make modification and changes that will eventually lead to a more convenient deal.

Humor can destroy a business deal

Believe it or not, but humor can destroy a business deal if used improperly. Try not to exaggerate with your positivism and keep things professional. Laughter can often make the other party feel undervalued. They can even think you’re mocking them, even if your intentions are different. One small mistake might cost you a really good bargain, so be vigilant.

Smiling woman
A warm and genuine smile can help broker a business deal, but an inappropriate laughter could make the other side feel unappreciated and destroy the deal

For example, if you want to make a joke you need to make sure the atmosphere within the office is relaxed. Don’t forget that your goal is to win not to become an entertainer. Whether you’re activating in the sales business or you’re just trying to get your client a better deal on a house, negotiations are all about agreements. Just make sure not to confuse a business meeting with a comedian show, because it’s not. While humor is often encouraged to make the ambiance more stress-free, this doesn’t mean you can treat your fellow partners like your friends.

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