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Negotiation Tip # 1: Silence

Negotiation Tip # 1: Silence
Pat Dickson - Mon May 21, 2012 @ 12:51PM
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Whether you are dealing with a legal problem, a business issue, or trying to make a sale, I believe silence has incredible value. Let your opponent, or customer, do all the talking, at least at first. Ask a lot of questions, and listen. It has been said there is a reason we have two ears and one mouth. I take the position silence is golden for one main reason:

You might not always fully understand the problem, why you are in trouble, or what your opponent or customer really wants. Until you do, you have no idea what the most favorable resolution might be. Even when you feel certain you know exactly what is going on, don't talk. Listen. You can never go wrong if you begin by assuming you need to be given all the details before you open your mouth. In the worst case scenario, you will win points by listening. It shows you care. Silence is your ally.

Case in point: have you ever been in trouble with a spouse or partner because you did something bad? Assuming the answer is yes, have you ever just started explaining everything without first listening?

"But honey, I'm sorry I said all those things about your mother at the party."

The immediate response is not favorable.

"You did what! What, exactly, did you say!"

Boy did you spill the beans... ...all because you decided hearing the noise of your voice was more important than listening. You have created an additional problem. Good job! It could have been avoided. Had you remembered there was a reason you had two ears and one mouth, you'd have found you were only in trouble for not having done the dishes last night. Had you just listened, you'd have known exactly what the problem was and how to fix it. Listening would have given you the quickest and most mutually agreeable solution:

"I'm sorry I didn't do the dishes. It won't happen again," would have been all you needed to say. When suppertime was over, you just had to be at the sink.

Now, because of your big mouth, it might take months to rectify the damage it did at the party. Remember, you have two ears! Silence.

Negotiation Tip # 2

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