Negotiate to gain the time you need to find the truth

51vcylss4nl._sx322_bo1204203200_ In the last post on Vietnamese nail salons, I discussed the power of sharing a story and the social currency it earns. This week’s post let’s cover how to be a good negotiator.

When I think of a negotiator I think of the movie by the same name starring Samuel L Jackson. Here’s the IMDB synopsis of the film,

“In a desperate attempt to prove his innocence, a skilled police negotiator accused of corruption and murder takes hostages in a government office to gain the time he needs to find the truth.”

Do you think about hostage situations when you hear the word negotiator? My goal today is to get you to think about how you are a negotiator. Except we aren’t talking about taking hostages to get your job back.

What do you do when you need time to gain the truth? You need to listen. You need to learn to allow the person you are negotiating with the feel heard, understood, and not pressured to do what you want them to do.

Today I want to focus on the most surprising quotes from “Getting to Yes” by Fisher, Ury, and Patton. Looking over the list the quotes I’ve selected they boil down to the following takeaways:

  1. Allow others to talk themselves out because this allows them to feel heard and it allows them to speak out their grievances so there is more room to negotiate.
  2. Know what you want to accomplish before even starting.
  3. Ask questions instead of making statements.

Now that you know what we’re going to cover, let’s dive right in.

“Allow the other side to let off steam. Often one effective way to deal with people’s anger, frustration, and other negative emotions is to help them release those feelings. People obtain psychological release through the simple process of recounting their grievances.” – Fisher, Ury, and Patton

Sounds easy enough right? Just sit back and let the person talk until they have recounted their grievances. Not so easy to sit back and not say anything is it? It’s even harder not to flinch or defend yourself when they are saying something untrue.

“You offer little little support to the inflammatory substance, giving the speaker every encouragement to speak himself out, and leave little or no residue to fester.” – Fisher, Ury, and Patton

Once the speaker is speaking, do not interrupt. Make space for discussion and get them to feel comfortable around you.

“The cheapest concessions you can make to the other side is to let them know that they have been heard.” – Fisher, Ury, and Patton

Again, just shut up and take the easy win. Once you’ve given them a chance to discuss their grievances they feel better.

“People listen better if they feel you have understood them.” – Fisher, Ury, and Patton

On top of just allowing them to let off some steam, your ability to let them fully speak out their thoughts will give you super powers.

“They tend to think that those who understood them are intelligent and sympathetic people whose own opinions may be worth listening to.” – Fisher, Ury, and Patton

Be sure to stack your reasons up before you go in for your request.

“If you want someone to listen and understand your reasoning, give your interests and reasoning first and your conclusions or proposals later.” – Fisher, Ury, and Patton

Generate a ton of options before you start trimming the fat and honing in on your wants.

“By looking from the outset for the single best answer, you are likely to short circuit a wiser decision making process in which you select form a large number of possible answers.” – Fisher, Ury, and Patton

What do you do if the person starts attacking you and blaming you for the problems they are experiencing?

“Recast an attack on you as an attack on the problem. Sit back and allow them to let off steam.” – Fisher, Ury, and Patton

Always stick with questions.

“Ask questions and pause. Statements generate resistance, whereas questions generate answers.” – Fisher, Ury, and Patton

Now that you know how to make people feel comfortable around you because you have heard their grievances, shared that you understand them, and asked them more questions instead of telling them what to do, they will be more willing to listen to your concerns and more open to negotiate.

Have you had a chance to use the suggestions in this post in your life to negotiate with someone? How did it go? Email me, I’d love to hear about it.

Author: David Neely

Professional Software Developer. Technology and Web Coordinator at the University of Hawaii's Manoa Career Center.