How Appropriate it Can Be to Use Humor When Negotiating?


People can spend years trying to learn all the negotiation tips, especially the owners of small companies, who are definitely the most sensible negotiators. They can either use their negotiation skills to help their business or destroy it. If you happen to be in this case, the best way of obtaining a good deal is by using everything you’ve got in order to succeed.

Most negotiators wonder whether they should use their humor during negotiations, and they usually discover that the answer is affirmative. However, making too many jokes is not recommended during a business negotiation, since the others might end up thinking that you are an unreliable person.

Always be prepared

The first thing you should do is get familiar with your counterpart, and one of the first steps is that of performing some background research using the web or discussing with other partners who have done business with that certain individual. You need to know your client as much as possible in order to establish whether you can use humor during the negotiation. Some business owners may be offended by your jokes, and your chances of being taken seriously can decrease dramatically.

Before attending a negotiation, you should consider some particular costs. For example, you need to think about your sales objectives, about your budget, as well as about your management strategies. Besides, you should always check whether the person you are talking to is able to make decisions on his/her own. Companies can sometimes send simple representatives to negotiations, and if that’s the case you will probably have to wait before hearing a concrete answer. Regardless of whom you are talking to, you should remember that humor is not always accepted between business partners.


Believe it or not, your offer can change the course of a negotiation in no time. A skilled negotiator may sometimes feel the need to make forceful first offers, but this strategy doesn’t always work, as it can end up offending the other participants. Instead, you should always bear in mind that the ultimate goal is that of reaching an agreement, which will be impossible if the other party is annoyed. If you want to make sure that everything goes by the book, you should start by discussing other issues such as delivery and availability.

Plan A and B

Some negotiations may not focus on any issues other than outcome, so you shouldn’t worry in case the issues mentioned above are skipped. As far as budget restrictions are concerned, you are advised to analyze the other party’s nonverbal signs. It’s true that your goal is to seal the deal, but this doesn’t mean that you should end up accepting a solution that brings you no favorable results. Besides, bear in mind that once you’ve made the first offer, you should wait until your counterpart presents a counteroffer.


A good negotiator always focuses on his/her strengths. You have leverage only if your company is the only one that delivers a certain service/product. Bear in mind that the current economic situation is a very important factor, along with demand and supply. Use your negotiating skills effectively, and do whatever you can in order to reach your goals. In case your competitors seem to be friendly individuals, you can try to make the atmosphere more welcoming by adding some humor. However, don’t cross the line and don’t give your counterpart reasons to think that you are unreliable.


Your offer will never be appealing unless it comprises all types of information such as product explanations, financial payment, warranty, etc. In case your offer ends up being rejected, you are advised to lower the price, as well as the quantity of products. Negotiating all the issues that don’t bring you any benefits is very important, and every little agreement should be written down.

Win-Win Solutions

Try to identify the main goals of each party. You may be interested in product quality, while your counterpart can be interested in cost. This is why identifying the main goals is essential for deciding on what to offer without making too many compromises. Besides, you are advised to pay extra attention to your humor in case you tend on continue doing business with the same company.

Don’t forget to act professionally regardless of the situation with which you may have to deal. You can always use humor during negotiations, as long as you make sure that your counterparts understand. If you notice that they are too formal, you should try not to use humor at all.

Or of course you can use humor by asking, hey MWW PR why would you hire Anthony Weiner to do crisis PR? Is that a joke?

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