Negotiating deals and doing everything that needs to be done for the success of your company can be a dreadful task. The key to having a thriving business is to bargain – as an entrepreneur, you should master all the basic techniques, and also find a way to build a personal style. Listening is one of the smartest ways of winning negotiations. For some, it’s just a trait that shapes one’s personality; for others, it’s a golden tool that can do miracles when used appropriately.
How come listening is so important at negotiations and what can people do to develop sound listening skills? First of all, thriving negotiations rely on the continuous exchange of information. Because we’re talking about “a process”, it may take awhile to develop. CEOs and entrepreneurs in general, shouldn’t expect counterparts to reveal everything up front; at least not in the first 15 minutes.
The key to having a fruitful negotiation is to ask questions and be an excellent listener. The information obtained from an opponent must be used wisely. Write down everything they say, underline allegations that should be backed up by solid evidence, and don’t hesitate to ask for clearance. Active listening helps people create options; ergo, it will be easier for them to compromise and land a win-win deal.
Be polite, don’t interrupt
A good listener must not interrupt when the other party is speaking. In case you want to clarify some things or ask a question, it’s best that you write it down. Concentrate and give the other party your undivided attention. When they’re done, feel free to address your questions. It can be extremely dicey to stop someone from speaking because they could reveal valuable information.
Speak with your body and let them know that you’re listening. Nod your head to approve, maintain eye contact, smile and remain calm throughout the entire negotiation. This will prove to the other party that you’re paying attention, which means they feel comfortable in your presence – they might even reveal some more information.
Have an open-minded attitude
Active listening skills and an open-minded attitude are both necessary for the proper process of negotiation. Let your opponent finish his presentation and be ready to offer feedback at the end. Ask for clarifications about points you didn’t understand and think in the best interest of your business, too. By understanding the speaker – who can be an investor, employee or a client – you understand the reason that lies behind certain choices. This should permit you to talk about negotiations, without fearing that some of the information is wrong or wrongfully perceived.
Steer clear of conflict
A negotiation doesn’t have to be about getting what you want in proportion of 100%. It’s impossible to persuade an opponent to give you everything and remain with nothing. Bargaining for something should be about working things out, making concessions, and finding mutual ground. The resulting deal should benefit both of you equally. For that to happen, business individuals must be willing to listen. Let an opponent gauge your attention, and use the information received to your advantage. Don’t engage in conflicting relations as nothing good can come out of a stressful negotiation process. In order to become the best negotiator, use the following tips:
- Assess your communication style – self-awareness helps people leave a long-lasting impression
- Attentive listening to the speaker – nod your head to show that you’re being attentive, and find a way to earmark thoughts that are being distractive. Ignore outside factors like noise and focus on the words and body language of the speaker
- Let your body language speak and use it to prove that you’re listening as well
- Don’t interrupt and be respectful
- Turn to negotiation training to hone your skills
While it’s certainly a good idea to listen to opponents during a business negotiation, you are not advised to take for granted everything they say. The information should be accurate, so be sure to check dates and numbers, too, just to be on the safe side. Wait for your turn to speak, share ideas and talk about compromise. Win-win solutions doesn’t just mean that you’ve landed a good deal; it means that you’ve got yourself a business partner too, someone who may be able to help you in the foreseeable future.
By Jason Phillips and TheGapPartnership.com!