Let your opponent talk, show off, and share concerns

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 Look for the problem, not the trigger

Negotiating means solving a problem, not arguing. Therefore, the main tool here is not pressure, but knowledge. To negotiate, learn to receive useful information and in return share your ideas with the interlocutor.

Alexandra Carter, an expert on mediation and UN negotiation coach, writes about this in the book “Don’t be afraid to ask”. She talks about techniques that can help you build effective conversation on any topic.

Sharing the most useful.

You will not find the answer if you phrased the question incorrectly. Therefore, the starting point of negotiations is a clear definition of the problem. How to do this?

  • Outline the situation For example, you received the results of a survey of the sales department and you see that the level their engagement has plummeted. And the rate of layoffs is growing. We need to negotiate with the team to clarify the situation.
  • State the point in one sentence“The sales force engagement rate has dropped and the layoff rate has increased.
  • Rephrase the problem into a solution“We need to achieve a high level of engagement.
  • Predict what will happen if you reach your goal”If engagement rates rise, the company can retain the best talent and accelerate growth.” …
  • Look for the problem, not the trigger

This leads to the correct formulation of the problem: “How to make the company such a place where the best professionals will work so that the business develops.” Now, when negotiating with employees, you will no longer talk about the results of the survey, but about what actions will help improve the situation in the company.

# 2. Don’t suppress negative emotions

It is dangerous to muffle anger, fear and anger. They will not disappear anywhere, and you will only increase the risk that emotions will show up in negotiations at the most inopportune moment. Therefore, they need to be worked out in advance.

The action plan depends on why the negative occurs:

  • Due to the topic of negotiationsFor example, you want to discuss a financial issue with a manager. You are angry about the difference in salary with other employees, and you worry that you have not received bonuses for a long time.To reduce anxiety, prepare arguments: what projects did you do, what were the results and how you improved your skills.
  • Due to the negotiation process itself If you are worried about having to go to your boss and talking about money, think about how the leader can react to your arguments. And work out the answer to each hypothetical question.

# 3. Build on experience

Uncertainty in negotiations makes you vulnerable. To cope with it, refer to past successful situations so you will have support.

How useful it is:

  • You get a source of verified hintsAnalyzing experience, you recall which techniques and approaches worked in the last time you kept your composure and got out of difficult situations. Look at yourself for the best tools for a new strategy.
  • Successful experience works like a positive anchor When you focus on positive events, your resourcefulness in negotiations growing. This is confirmed by a study of the level of motivation and confidence of graduates of Columbia University. During the experiment, they were divided into two groups: some participants were asked to write about situations when they were effective and successful, and the second – when they lacked the strength and determination to act.

    As a result, 68% of students from the first group successfully passed the test interview, and only 26% from the second.

# 4. Let the other person talk

The first question in negotiations should be as broad as possible. Your task is to try to reveal your opponent as much as possible from the start. A question with the wording “Tell me …” will help here

It shows the second side that you are:

  • Want to understand a person’s point of view, and not just insist on your own.
  • We are confident in ourselves and are not afraid to hear someone else’s opinion, even the most unexpected.

How to formulate the question depends on the type of negotiation:

  • When you initiate First, briefly explain the reason – why you are proposing to discuss the topic. And voice the problem on which you want to get your opinion.For example, you ask the CEO of a company to meet with you to discuss the promotion and renegotiate the terms of the contract. Start your conversation like this:

    “I would like to talk about my progress with the company. I have certain results, and I know where I am striving to move next. I would be grateful if you could tell us how you think things were going with me last year. ”

  • When the initiator is your interlocutor If you are waiting for a conversation with a manager, a client or a colleague and you do not fully understand what he will be talking about, ask directly: “Tell us what you expect from our meeting.”
  • How to formulate the question depends on the type of negotiation

# 5. Take an interest in other people’s worries

Do not ask about your opponent’s feelings for the sake of politeness, but to dig deeper and understand the motives of the other side.

Knowing a person’s anxiety, you can:

  • Remove barriers that prevent negotiations from closing When the interlocutor is agitated, but does not voice the reasons and procrastinates dialogue, he expects a green light from you to talk about his concerns.The author of a book once negotiated communications training with a company that had never used outside speakers before. When the conversation came to a standstill, Alexandra Carter asked what worried the customer.

    It turned out that the company was worried about two points that were not accepted to speak openly: why pay someone if there are internal trainers, and how to explain to their managers the involvement of a third-party specialist – they may think that they do not trust.

    Then Carter prepared a list of organizations with which she worked as an external trainer, although they also had their own negotiators. Then she submitted several ideas on how to involve internal trainers in training, in order to show their expertise in the topic. She also offered trainings for the negotiation managers themselves.

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  • Inquire about unresolved second party needs It is easier to negotiate when you know your opponent’s needs rather than just listening to their demands.Imagine that a new client has come to you, who has previously used the services of another company from your industry. Ask what worried him about the previous contract and what was wrong? This will allow you to identify priorities and needs that are not formally delineated as requirements in the contract.

# 6. Let your opponent show off your success

Help the other party talk about their victories. This will increase the person’s confidence, and he will begin to look more positively at the current situation.

How to ask about achievements:

  • Ask a question without prompts Do not indicate the direction of the answer. Even if the reason for past success is obvious to you, let the person tell you about it.Correct question: “How did you deal with a large-scale problematic project X?”

    Incorrect: “Is it true that you coped with a difficult project X because you connected top managers from different departments and created a cross-functional team? “

  • Refine your answer After your opponent responds, ask “Do I understand correctly that …” and repeat what he said.For example: “Do I understand correctly that you involved several top managers with different competencies at once and gave each of them their own part of the project?”
  • Praise your opponent Summarize the positive outcome of his past decision.For example: “You have created a strong cross-functional team, where each manager has demonstrated his competence in the project. Perhaps we can use this approach to achieve our common goal. ”

# 7. Encourage the other person to share ideas

One of the main goals of the negotiations is to work out as many solutions to the problem as possible in order to choose the most successful one. To do this, ask the other side to voice their ideas.

This will allow:

  • Emphasize the value of the interlocutor’s opinion Sometimes it is not obvious to people that their conclusions are interested, if you do not say it directly.For example, when the level of satisfaction of junior employees at law firm Fried Frank began to decline, the new manager launched a series of negotiations. He asked subordinates to share their vision of the situation.

    It turned out that people were used to being ignored, so they didn’t even try to come up with ideas. But realizing that the new leadership wanted to know their point of view, they began to propose changes for the corporate culture, financial assessment of teams, and even the strategy of the organization.

  • Influencing your opponent through reciprocity By asking about other people’s ideas, you increase the chances that the other person will listen to yours just as carefully.
  • Disarm counterattackers If your opponent is constantly killing your ideas, cool his ardor by suggesting that you first tell about your work, and then twist them together.

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# 8. Look for ideas even in dead ends

It does not always happen that you ask the interlocutor about his ideas, and a stream of creativity pours on you. Difficulties can arise if:

  • You are lower in rank than the opponent How to ask the other party to voice ideas if you have negotiations with the boss, where you yourself have to generate offers? For example, like this:“I knew you would want my input, so I sketched out a few potential solutions to the problem. I have ideas that I would be happy to share. But perhaps you have something to say first, so that I understand which of my proposals are more consistent with the situation and your vision? “
  • The negotiation script is obvious There are meetings where each subsequent step is sewn into the process. For example, you have finished an introductory interview with HR and he says that the next stage is an interview with a manager. You may ask how the further stages will go: how long each stage lasts on average, who makes the final decision, how many competitors do you have.Don’t be afraid to ask for as much information as possible.
  • The negotiator has zero ideas When you don’t know which idea will work, think about what will definitely not work. If your opponent does not have a suitable experience, ask him what step in the situation would be the most inappropriate. And look for the answer in the opposite solution.

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