Most of us would like to be better negotiators. Imagine having the skills to talk your way into a car discount, pay raise or getting annoying potholes repaired. Unfortunately, traditional theories about keeping a poker face and remaining emotionless when conducting negotiations are considered to be flawed by experts.
Former FBI kidnapping negotiator, Chris Voss, believes that developing your emotional intelligence (EQ) is the key to reaching a successful agreement. You need to understand emotions and use them to your advantage at the negotiating table. Try these five tips next time you are engaged in deliberations.
1. Mirror Key Words
Reflecting is an important part of negotiating and involves repeating the words of the speaker. You can just repeat the last few words spoken to slow down the conversation and create rapport. This gives you time to think and lets your counterpart feel that you are both on the same page.
2. Acknowledge Feelings
Show that you are listening to the speaker by clarifying his/her feelings. Use phrases such as “It sounds like you are worried about…” or “It looks like you are bothered by…” to demonstrate empathy.
3. Ask “No” Questions
Deliberately ask questions which allow your counterpart to reply in the negative. This gives him/her a sense that s/he has control of the situation. You might ask, “Do we have time to talk about this aspect of the deal?” or “Do you want to include this section in the contract?”
4. Paraphrase and Recap
Regularly use other words to reflect and recap what the speaker has said. This indicates that you are actively listening and genuinely want to understand his/her needs. Your counterpart might say, “I really want to do this deal, but I’m not sure the company will accept the timelines.” You might reply, “So before you can accept my offer, you need to check the completion times for each stage of the project with your bosses. Is that right?”
5. Seek Win-Win
Building up a successful relationship with your counterpart means that s/he is more likely to make concessions during negotiations. Always make it clear that you are working together to ensure positive outcomes for both sides.
No More Second Best
If you come out second best in negotiations, it is time to improve your EQ and put these strategies to work.
Image via: NBC