To Negotiate Well, Learn to Listen

Published Tuesday, August 24, 2010 2:25 PM

"The basic mistake people make in negotiations is not listening," said Steven P. Cohen, author of Negotiating Skills for Managers in a Forbes article The ABC's of Negotiating. "Information is the most important commodity that changes hands during negotiations," Cohen added.

In a past post Negotiate What You Deserve, we blogged about how negotiating is a fact of life, be it at work or home: everything from vacation calendars to raises to what to order in for dinner can be subject to the push-and-pull of negotiation and compromise. At the heart of any successful negotiation is skillful listening.

Hear, Hear

So how to listen effectively? Let's take a moment to suss out what constitutes listening. Broadly speaking "listening" incorporates two functions: receiving spoken information and interpreting that information.

Interpreting the spoken word is where things get tricky. A famous Russian composer once said "to listen is an effort, and just to hear has no merit. A duck hears also." The key to effective listening is not merely to hear but to understand what the speaker is conveying.

Listen Up

So how to move from hearing to understanding? Take time to be an active, engaged listener, not a passive recipient of information; ask questions and study nonverbal cues. Stay engaged and connected; make an effort to keep your mind from wandering. Take time to check in and engage in reflexive listening,  repeating what the person has said in order to help determine meaning, such as "you believe you need more time to complete the project?  Is that correct?"

For more advice on your improving listening and negotiating skills we've assembled the following resources:

Are you an active listener? Do you see a link between effective listening and negotiating? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter pages.

by Candie Harris


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# oem software said on Wednesday, May 02, 2012 11:35 PM

rourb8 Really informative blog.Really thank you!

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