TOP 10 TIPS FOR THE NEGOTIATOR WHO WANTS ANSWERS

 

1. Prepare questions in advance.

Make sure you have planned a series of questions that you need answers to, to help you understand the other sides position.

2. Garbage in, garbage out.

Think about how you will phrase and ask your questions. Your language and tone of voice can play a part in the answers you get.

3. Be specific

If you ask woolly or weak questions they may simply be ignored. Make sure that you give the person you're questioning enough time to respond. This may need to include thinking time before they answer, so don't just interpret a pause as a "No comment" and go on.

4. Get an answer.

Think like Paxman. Very little value is gained from the asking of the question in itself. The value lies in the answer.

5. Why are they avoiding answering?

Is it because they don't understand the question, they don't want to answer or have they got something to hide.

6. Don't ask questions that give you answers you don't want to hear.

"Is that your final offer" creates an answer that in many cases you will not like.

7. Use probing questions to double check on areas of vagueness.

This can help avoid any misunderstandings that may creep in later.

8. You can calm an angry customer by using questions to get more detail about. their grievance.

This can distract them from their emotions, and will help you to identify a small thing that you can do to make them feel that they have "won" something.

9. Give a choice between two options, both of which you would be happy with.

"Which would you prefer of A or B". Most people will be caught up in deciding between your two preferences.

10. Skilful questioning needs to be matched by careful listening.

It's crucial to understand what people really mean with their answers.

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Trust me, I'm an England soccer fan

“At least there aren’t so many flags this time” – said my, slightly surly, Scottish colleague. He was referring to the number of St George’s flags flying from car windows on our way to an English course venue – it is, of course, World Cup time. I tried explaining that in years gone by with the various ‘Golden Generations’ the English media had been very adept at whipping up an optimistic frenzy based on us beating sides that were either very unlucky, argued incessantly between themselves (on and off the pitch) or were the lowest of the low in terms of their rankings. Once the England team had lost, this would normally be followed by the inevitable media witch hunt. This has been my experience for the past, nearly 50 years.

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