Negotiation needs to be slow and relational as opposed to fast and transactional. This video focuses on how to use skills like listening, labeling, mirroring, and silence to keep a negotiation headed toward agreement.
- From the time you start school as a small child to the time you finish your degree studies and beyond, you're trained to have the right answer. And to be able to defend your answers and positions. So it's no wonder when we make a proposal that gets met with rejection, our knee jerk reaction is to double down and defend it. We have to unlearn this behavior as negotiators. Remember, negotiation needs to be slow and relational as opposed to fast and transactional.
And once you anchor and frame your request, in all likelihood, you're going to meet some resistance. When you do, your goal is to generate more possibility to expand the conversation rather than wind on down to a ho-hum compromise. And that requires impeccable listening. Listening fulfills the basic human need to be heard and understood. And shows your conversation partner that you're making an effort to truly understand their perspectives and interests.
Listening also helps you build tactical empathy. Now this is a term coined by Chris Voss in his book Never Split the Difference. It's tactical because you're taking in body language and hearing what's being said and what's not being said and using what you learn to move the negotiation forward. So here are three tactical listening skills that will help you turn things around in your favor. The first is called labeling or naming your conversation partner's perspective.
So let's say you're negotiating for permission to work remotely and your boss says, look, part of your job is to be available to put out fires on the fly and I need you here. And you say, it sounds like you're worried I won't be responsive. And she says, yeah that's right. So labeling names her worry and gives you a point of agreement. Now at this point, your first impulse might be to jump in and try to change her mind. Do not bother. Instead, ask a diagnostic question like what if we brainstorm some strategies for assuring responsiveness? Now you have the opportunity to find your way to yes.
The second tactical listening skill is mirroring. This is repeating the last few words or critical words in your conversation partner's reaction to your request. In the remote work example, your boss says, I'm worried you won't be responsive. And you mirror back, I won't be responsive? You're matching your boss's delivery and tone. Now the psychological value of mirroring is that it's a very subtle challenge and most people will be compelled to elaborate.
And when they do, you'll have yet another opportunity to ask a diagnostic question that unlocks a solution. The third tactical listening skill is silence. In the remote work example, you say, sounds like you're worried I won't be responsive. And your boss says, that's right. And right there, you pause. Now people tend to get uncomfortable with too much white space and in that silence, they'll often step in with the very solution you were looking for.
So take things slowly. Listen, label, mirror and use silence to nudge the conversation forward and to create more potential for agreement.
- Identify the different types of negotiation.
- Distinguish the difference between asking and negotiation.
- List core negotiation practices.
- Explain anchoring and framing for mutual benefit.
- Describe tactical empathy.
- Explain the principles of influence.
- Create an influence plan.
- Analyze conflict styles.
- Recognize contentious negotiation tactics.