How many times a day do you negotiate

How many times a day do you negotiate?

When we think of the word ‘negotiation’, most of us think of two individuals fiercely battling to get what they want.

But the reality is, small negotiations happen all around us each day. They can range from negotiating working hours with an employee, to carrying out a sales call at work, to how long your child can stay up for on a Saturday night. 

These conversations are a lot more subtle than what we would think of as a ’negotiation’. That is why using undetectable tips and tricks can help you navigate the conversation to your desired outcome.

Although, fortunately, most of us will never be negotiating in an FBI hostage situation, we can all learn from former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss’ advice in his book Never split the difference.

1.       Voss’ number one rule when it comes to negotiating is not to settle. Meeting halfway often leaves both parties feeling unsatisfied.

2.       Voss says that anger is not the way forward. Although speaking with aggression may be our instinct when negotiating, it is not actually the most productive way of speaking. Speaking with aggression will most likely cause the listener to draw back and ignore you.

3.       Speech delivery tones are very important. There are three key tones: ‘late night FM DJ voice’, the positive/playful tone, and the direct/assertive voice. Unsurprisingly, he suggests avoiding the latter. Usually, a positive/playful tone should be favoured, but the DJ voice can be used in certain scenarios to create an aura of confidence.

4.       Speak slowly. This creates the sense that you are in control and are sure of what you are saying. Say your words clearly and confidently. We usually tend to speak with our words going upwards, but this makes a statement sound like a question, which will instil doubt in the listener.

5.       Mirroring is a great tactic in negotiation. Mirroring the other persons actions and words subconscious behaviour which is seen in both humans and animals. It develops a rapport and trust between two individuals as well as encouraging the counterpart to open up and connect.

6.       Good negotiators do not disregard emotions in a conversation. They use what Voss describes as “tactical empathy”. This involves “labelling” – visualising that you are the person you are negotiating with and verbally expressing how they must be feeling. This technique may seem strange to some, but it has proven success. An example is, “It sounds like you are worried about how this will affect your budget”.

With these subtle changes to your speech and delivery, you can lead the conversation in the direction you want. It is not about tricking the other side, but about smartly getting your point across.  

So, make sure to bear these tips in mind the next time you’re negotiating with your child over another chocolate biscuit!

Source: Voss (Random House Business Books 2016)