5 Important Listening Skills to Use in Negotiation
Working as a Public Health Inspector taught me a lot about effective negotiation skills. From restaurant owners to landlords to personal services operators – I’ve dealt with all of them.
You may think that the most important thing in negotiations is talking - telling the other party what you want them to know. But a wise negotiator understands the importance of listening. When you listen, you can learn a great deal about the other party’s motivation and needs. Using these listening skills will help you be a more effective negotiator.
Use smart body language
When the other party is talking, keep a neutral face (with an occasional smile) and keep steady eye contact. Ensure your arms uncrossed. This lets them know you are hearing what they are saying. By showing this, it encourages them to talk more, which will reveal more of what you need to know to negotiate.
This is tough sometimes, but bite your tongue. If they say something you disagree with, there will be time to counter it later. You never want to interrupt them because they will read this as disrespect and that you aren’t interested in hearing their side of things.
When there’s a break in the conversation, go ahead and ask questions that will clarify points. You might say something like, “When you say ____ do you mean ___?” This will ensure you understand them and will demonstrate that you have been listening to them.
Understanding their perspective
Step into their shoes and understand their intention. Then re-iterate their perspective and ask if they’d be open to listening to your perspective (they will say YES!). This keeps the atmosphere friendly and they feel understood.
Sum up their points
This is an effective way to ensure you understand what they’ve said and shows them that you have been paying careful attention to what they have been saying. Paraphrasing their ideas is one of the best ways to catch a misunderstanding that can then be cleared up quickly and immediately.