In Part 1 last week the first two principles of effective negotiations were shared. The two principles were to adopt the right mindset and to do your homework prior to meeting your counterparts. Now, let’s move on with the other 2 critical principles.
Be an Active Listener
The late Dr. Stephen Covey said, “Seek first to understand, then be understood.” In order to seek first to understand, we need to be an active listener. Active listening involves listening with not only your ears but also your eyes and nose as well. Nose?? Yes, nose, I re-emphasize.
I have experienced two sales people on two different occasions who were trying to sell me their products. On the first occasion, as this saleswoman was about to close the case, I got a whiff of her body odour. It was unpleasant. I was turned off. I gave her a polite excuse that I needed to think about my decision for a few days. I never contacted her after that. Interestingly, she too, never contacted me after that. Maybe I smelled just as bad 🙂
On the second occasion, this salesman had a foul smelling mouth. Luckily, this was an over-the-counter negotiation. I quickly walked away from the counter…
When negotiating a deal, we need to focus our attention on our counterpart. Show that we are paying attention and listening to them. By listening, we can catch the body language, intonation of words and gestures of our counterpart so they feel understood. Remember, our counterparts have desires too. By listening, we will be able to understand their unspoken desires easily. In the process of active listening, an alternative strategy or a win-win solution may pop up unexpectedly. If something negative pops up in their minds, their body odour may change. Be alert with your nose!
A good listener means listening with empathy. Not to interrupt before your counterpart finishes speaking and portraying the body language that we are serious about listening.
Establish Relationship and Proximity
It would be easier to negotiate effectively with the people you already know such as your family, close relatives and friends. However, this statement does not suggest that the outcome of your negotiations will always be successful when you effectively negotiate with known people. It merely suggests that since you know their character and attitude well, it would be easier to navigate through any difficult situations. That’s all.
Use the method known as mirroring or modeling. In this way non-believers will be more likely to trust you quickly and develop closeness with you. Briefly, mirroring or modeling is to mimic the thoughts, attitudes and body language of your counterpart like a mirror. Pay attention and do the same thing with the style, volume of voice, facial expressions, body language, gestures, the principle of life or even the style of laughs of your counterpart.
For example, consider the dialect or accent of your counterpart. When they heavily use certain regional dialects or accents and you happen to have knowledge of that dialect or accent, use it to mirror them. Note the volume of their voice, when they are gentle or vocal then mirror them too. Or, observe your counterpart’s style of sitting. If they sometimes put their hands on the table or cross their arms, then you do it too 🙂
So this is roughly the notion of mirroring and modeling. Do it wisely and discreetly so that it does not look obvious to your counterpart.
In conclusion, having the right mindset, good preparation, being a good listener and the ability to establish a good relationship with your counterpart will make you a good negotiator. Good luck to you in your next negotiations 🙂