Many FBI agents are highly trained in negotiation strategies. While we may never be in such a high-risk situation as an FBI agent, we can still use their strategies to master social situations and negotiate for what we want and need. Read on for a few negotiation strategies that could transform your life.
There are many negotiation strategies that can be used in everyday life and in a variety of situations. Negotiation isn’t necessarily manipulative or only used when dealing with someone dangerous or unsound. We can use effective negotiation techniques to help ensure good resolution for everyone involved.
Whether you are negotiating with your boss or a toddler, give these tricks a try.
1. Use active listening
You will get the best out of your negotiation if you show that you are listening carefully to the other person. Let them know you are paying attention by leaning towards them, nodding and saying things such as “yes,” or “I see”.
Avoid interrupting the other person at this stage and let them have their say. They will gradually begin to open up and reveal more information which will be useful to you in moving the negotiation forward.
Also, avoid disagreeing or contradicting them. This will make them defensive and slow down the progress of the negotiation. Find out all you can about how they feel and how they see the problem before you start thinking about a response.
2. Use empathy
In order to come to a resolution with someone, it is essential that you understand how they feel. You may not always agree with them, but mutual understanding is the best way to find common ground on which to build a compromise. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and really understand the situation from their point of view.
3. Build rapport
Once you have listened and understood the other person, you need to show that you have done this. Empathy is understanding another person and rapport is built when they know that you have understood them.
One technique to do this is by repeating part of what they have said or paraphrasing it and then repeating it back to them to show that you have listened and understood. Using the word “I” can also build rapport as it helps them see you as a person rather than just seeing your position.
Once you have built trust and rapport, you will be able to have a more open discussion about what can be done to solve the problem.
4. Identify the emotion
Often, in a disagreement, what the other person says doesn’t make much sense. It can help to identify the underlying emotion.
For example, a colleague may be quibbling about washing up but what they are really feeling is undervalued. A toddler may be screaming about putting their coat on when they are actually upset because they are overtired or anxious about where they are going. Once you understand the underlying emotion, it will be easier to deal with the problem.
5. Ask open-ended questions
Asking open-ended questions can encourage the other person to talk. This will give you more information about the problem and help you to find a resolution. Avoid asking any questions that may make the other person feel interrogated, particularly “why” questions.
6. Use silence
Sometimes the best technique is silence. This is a well know technique for encouraging someone to talk as most of us feel uncomfortable with silence and try to fill it as soon as possible. Using this technique can help you to find out more about what the other person feels and wants, allowing you to have a better understanding of the problem and a clearer idea of how to find a compromise.
In addition, you can use silence effectively when the other person is being highly emotional or even abusive. Responding with calm silence is not what the other person expects. They will usually calm down a little even if it is just to check that you are still listening.
7. Stay calm
It is very easy to get caught up in the emotional drama when another person is being difficult. However, it is essential that you stay calm. If you shout or get upset, you will lose control of the situation and everything will get worse. At all costs avoid retaliating, even if the other person has said something hurtful. If necessary, take a break until you get your own emotions back under control.
Once you have built trust and rapport and understood what the other person feels and wants, you should find they are more ready to listen to your thoughts and ideas. If at any point the negotiation takes a turn for the worse, return to the first three negotiation strategies to get it back on track.
In negotiations, many people bypass the first three negotiation strategies. They expect to be able to influence the other person without building trust and rapport first. If you get the first three steps of this process right, you will find negotiating becomes much easier and less painful.