In a previous post, What is Negotiation?, we discussed the Five Negotiating Tactics. This is the third installment of  going in-depth with an explanation of each of them. This post covers why it is critical to listen and then communicate but also to communicate and then listen.

Listen in Negotiating

Listening Keeps Communications Open

Without communication, there are no negotiations; things simply become a push and shove match. If you simply state your side without listening to the other side, your position is weakened. If you become argumentative, you lose. Laying down your cards without understanding the players and their positions weakens your position and your ability to negotiate. Once the communication bridge is burned, you’ll pay Hell getting it back.

Any time you’re communicating in business, whether it’s during a negotiation or in the middle of a sales meeting, listen 80% of the time and speak only 20% of the time. You may think that negotiations require you to speak more. However, you’ll find that the more the other party talks, the more you learn of their position and the easier it becomes to retain your position.

Silence is also a negotiating tactic. If you remain silent after your offer, especially if you let the silence linger for a few minutes until it begins to feel uncomfortable, you can sometimes get what you want. Just be aware that the other negotiator may try the same thing with you!

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The more you work with the other negotiator, the stronger your negotiating stance becomes. Always be honest and respectful in your negotiations. This will be remembered during and after negotiations. Since you have already done your homework, there should be few surprises. Listen carefully and always make sure you understand their position by asking questions and obtaining clarification before you respond.

You’ll want to develop questions prior to your meeting. The questions you ask must be thought-provoking and must help you to understand the other party’s point of view. Once you have developed this list, obtain as many answers to the questions prior to the negotiations as you can. These answers will provide to you the ammunition you’ll need in your negotiations. Remember this diagram from our discussion of high gain questions? Use the same principles to outline your questions and answers for your negotiations as well.

Look for the next post on the Five Negotiating Tactics which will cover Taking the High Road.

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