Recently I had the opportunity to meet two very good negotiators within Hampshire, UK. They came to Southampton Solent University, to teach the PR and Communications class the art of negotiation. They used very interesting case studies, shared amazing stories and let us listen to some of their recordings. Their talent of sharing stories is breath-taking. However, except the excitement, I have remained with a few of their valuable lessons regarding listening and the importance of listening for an effective negotiation process. These are useful for our day to day life and especially within our work-space.
They started by showing us this diagram, which displays the basic listening skills. At the basis of it lays the EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. One may ask what does this have to do with negotiating. However, listening is not just about catching the words, but understanding their meaning, being able to interpret them, to see the emotion within those words, and to assume the cause. In connection with the art of negotiation, being able to decipher the meaning of the words you are listening to, and what they are trying to transmit proves emotional intelligence.
The next steps would be to create INITIAL CONTACT and to establish some sort of EMPATHY and RAPPORT. These two steps are interconnected and they are vital in the listening diagram. We’ve been told by these professionals that sometimes if the people in distress did not like them, whether it was the way they looked, the way they dressed, what they represented, their voice, their stature or their body language, there would be no communication at all, hence no negotiation.
Applied in the workplace, for example, in an interview, this might be a main reason why it is so important to establish good appearances, for good initial contact. After this step, empathy and rapport is important in order to create some sort of understanding. In order to connect and show that you are listening, and moreover, understanding what it is said to you or required from you. In the case of a workplace, you must show rapport, so the employer can visualise you in the position, he/she can see that you understand and therefore can be a part of that organisation’s culture.
Establishing TRUST is another important part in a negotiation process; vital our negotiators said!. Obviously once the job was offered to you, that means that some sort of professionally trust has been already established. But when negotiating a salary for example, I don’t think trust has a major part. It is about what you can offer to the company, it is about what are you able to do, that others might not…how are you different. Basically: why would you deserve it?
I think in this case it is more like in sales really. You should see yourself as a product, and you should be able to explain why you are more expensive. Are you more experienced? Are you more adaptable? This leads to the INFLUENCE, PERSUASION and PROBLEM SOLVING step. This step is about being able to justify and prove everything you say! It leads in persuading the employer that you indeed deserve what you ask and it might solve your problem by having a positive response.
As mentioned in the previous blog post, follow the steps of effective negotiation and bear in mind to listen! It is at the basis of negotiation and communication. Obviously don’t forget what you transmit as well! It is as important!
So what do you think? Are you a good listener? Here are fourth grade students explaining the basis of listening: