Simplify Negotiations with the Six Rules of
By John Patrick Dolan
negotiate effectively, you must be able to communicate effectively.
Unfortunately, most salespeople and businesspeople don’t realize the
importance of solid communication skills to the negotiation process.
As a result, they lose sales or don’t get the best possible deal.
as a salesperson, you are not doomed to the mixed messages and
meanings characteristic of poor communication skills. With a conscious
effort, all business and sales professionals can overcome the
communication barriers that block understanding in negotiation. With a
little extra effort, you can improve the delivery of your message to
your counterparts and work together toward a mutually beneficial
following six rules for effective communication to connect with others
at the negotiating table and in all forms of communication:
1: Organize Your Thoughts:
the negotiation process, always allow yourself time to organize your
thoughts to avoid conveying the wrong message or confusing the issues.
Before you start the negotiation process, and even after it starts,
take notes and plan what you’re going to say.
you express your thoughts clearly when the negotiations begin, outline
in advance the main points you want to cover. Planning the gist of
what you’re going to say is the most effective way to avoid sending
mixed messages, but don’t stop with that. As the negotiations
commence, continue to take notes and plan your responses as you go
through the entire process. And remember, no law exists that says
every statement must be met with a response within five seconds. Take
your time. In fact, silence can be one of your most powerful
talking whenever you feel like you need to reorganize yourself and
before you respond to anything that’s said. And make sure everything
you say reflects the true meaning of your thoughts. This tactic not
only helps you organize what you’re going to say, but it also helps
you digest what your counterpart proposes.
2: Don’t Think About It;
Think Through It:
about something leads to confusion, but thinking through something
leads to clarity. The difference between these two processes is a
crucial distinction in communication. Many times, people approach
negotiations with a mindset of, “Tell it like it is, then let the
chips fall where they may.” But by processing an idea through to its
logical conclusion, you can evaluate the possible responses you may
get from the other side.
example, if you make an offer and say, “Take it or leave it,” what
kind of response would that produce? The other party may say, “Okay,
we’ll take it.” They could say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” They
could say, “We won’t take it, but here’s what we will accept.”
Or they might say, “No one talks to us that way!” and walk out of
A range of
possibilities exists, and this tactic requires careful reading of the
other person’s reactions. But if you feel from your experiences with
the person that they will either accept your offer or your
counteroffer, it makes sense to speculate and take the chance. So give
some thought to your counterpart’s possible reactions to your points
before you actually make them.
3: Recognize that Actions Speak Louder than Words:
say that seventy-five percent of communication is nonverbal. This
means that the messages negotiators convey have more to do with their
looks, their actions, and the way they say things, than with the
actual words they say.
negotiators practice saying and doing things in ways that send
precisely the message they want to send. The bottom line is that the
better you become at using nonverbal communication and reading the
nonverbal messages others send, the more effective you can be as a
negotiator. Realize that everything you do at the bargaining table is
part of the communication and negotiation process. So make sure you
don’t send the wrong messages by doing something that conflicts with
what you want to say.
4: Be Concise:
people tune out a majority of what they hear, so you should always be
concise and get right to your point. Say what you mean in as few words
as possible, without being blunt. If you drone on, people will stop
listening to you. To ensure your message reaches your counterpart,
always oversimplify your message, and then elaborate as they ask
questions. Repeat your main point several times to emphasize what’s
your negotiating power even more, practice saying everything clearly
and concisely, then repeat your key points to yourself again and
again. One main problem with negotiation communication occurs when
your counterpart gets too wrapped up in what they want to say, that
they don’t pay attention to what you say. This is why it is so
important to organize your thoughts, and say your main points in a
concise, compelling way.
5: Always Translate Your Message into Benefits for the Other Party:
always listen more carefully when they believe some benefit exists in
your message for them. In negotiations, focus on that benefit, even
when the underlying purpose of the message is in your favor.
example, when you interview for a new job, you don’t talk about the
huge salary the company can offer you. You talk about all the great
skills you can bring to the company, for their benefit. You try to
convince them that they’ll be ahead of everyone else by hiring you,
regardless of the cost.
salesperson, you should always highlight the value of your product or
service, rather than the cost. Always talk in terms of what benefits
the other party receives as a result of the negotiation terms.
6: Listen Carefully to the Other Party:
want to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, you must make sure your
message are heard and understood. But don’t get so caught up in your
own message that you don’t hear and understand what the other party
needs to reach an agreement. Use the following tips for listening more
Open your mind and be receptive to the other
Make a commitment to listen, and follow through
with this commitment as soon as they start to talk.
Listen for feelings, as well as facts, and
consider the other party’s concerns.
Eliminate distractions. Close your door, turn of
the radio, and tune in to the other person.
Respond to the other party with questions that
stimulate conversation and clarify your understanding of his or
Take notes on the important points the other party
makes, and keep these points in mind as you formulate your
improve your listening skills, you increase your negotiating
effectiveness by collecting more information to use in your search for
is the Key to Effective Negotiation:
is a two-way street that requires everyone involved to exchange
messages. To negotiate more effectively, you must relate to the other
party with strong communication skills. By using these six rules for
effective communications, you can overcome barriers, reach a higher
level of satisfaction every time you negotiate, and win more sales in
Read other articles and learn more
about John Patrick Dolan.
[This article is available at no-cost, on a non-exclusive basis.
Contact PR/PR at 407-299-6128 for details and