How To Listen Better To Be A Stronger Negotiator – Negotiation Tip of the Week
How well do you listen when negotiating? Do you listen for hidden meanings? Do you listen for silence? To be a stronger negotiator, you have to listen better, because even silence can speak volumes about the thoughts the other negotiator is contemplating.
The following are a few things you can do to be a stronger negotiator simply by listening better.
What to listen for:
Word choices: When negotiating, you should always be observant of the word choices that are used by the other negotiator. The words she uses represents her subliminal associations to those words. Some words, “I think” versus “I’m sure”, “we will” versus “I will”, allow you to gain insight into the degree to which a commitment is being made, along with the degree of authority the person making the pronouncement has to deliver on such pronouncements.
Change of pace/inflection: When a negotiator alters the pace of his voice, lend pinpointed attention as to why that occurred. You should also note how long the alteration occurs until it recedes back into the pace/inflection that occurred before it was altered. By noting such alterations, you will be better positioned to unmask the causes of those occurrences. In so doing, your attention may be drawn to a matter that requires your immediate attention. To ignore such occurrences could later reveal itself as a missed opportunity or the point at which the negotiation began to head in a disadvantaged position.
Silence: I’m sure you’ve heard that silence is golden. In a negotiation, it can provide invaluable information and insight. During times of silence, the other negotiator might be in thought-mode, deliberating about what he should do next, how to position/reposition himself, or playing the stall game. Again, note why he went into such a mindset, the moment it occurred via what was being discussed, and attempt to discern what he might be contemplating (i.e. additional insights can be obtained by observing his body language. Once he begins to re-engage, note how he does so. If he appears to be more animated than before that could be an indication that he sees a greater opportunity in the negotiation for himself. A more subdued endowment might indicate the opposite mindset. To determine which is more accurate use probing questions to uncover his thoughts (e.g. what just happened? I noticed a marked change in your demeanor and attitude.)
Intuition: Everyone has sensations about the things occurring in their environment as they go throughout their day. In most cases, we don’t pay attention to most of them because our brain would be bombarded and go into information overload; we’d never get a lot done if we stopped and analyzed the meaning of every sensation we experienced.
To the degree you have a strong sensation during your negotiations, strong enough for you to sense that you felt something, pay attention to it. Your subconscious mind could be attempting to draw your attention to something that’s very pertinent to what’s being discussed.
There is a myriad of things occurring during a negotiation. To better identify the meaning of those that are most important, make an effort to listen better during your negotiations. You’ll be rewarded with better negotiation outcomes… and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
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What are your takeaways? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com or at (609) 369-2100.
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