Friendly Persuasion, part three: Listen. Listen. Listen
To be persuasive, we must be believable
To be believable, we must be credible
To be credible, we must be truthful. -- Edward R. Murrow
Several years ago I read a book by world renowned sports agent, Bob Woolf titled Friendly Persuasion. The tenets of that book and the very simple markers that it taught me have given me confidence to approach most any conversation.
I have isolated a few of these tenets in an effort to be helpful to those who may also be facing long conversations with hope of agreement.
Part Three: Listen. Listen. Listen
When I want to let the other side know my goals instead of making demands, I make suggestions, I make recommendations, and I make proposals. "May I suggest this?" is so much more graceful than "This is what I want." "Could you live with this?" "Does this make sense?" "Is this alright with you?" "Is this crazy?" are all preferable to "You better do this or else." If I have come to what is my final position, I will most likely say, "I hope you understand, this is the best I can do, I hope we will be able to work together."
Take stock in your voice and how you express yourself. A good negotiator uses a nice, low keyed, pleasant voice to his/her best advantage. Speak slowly, clearly, it is your most important tool. Remember to have kindness in your voice. It is something that people respond to.
Listen. Listen. Listen. The best way to learn a person's positions, problems, traits, likes and dislikes is to listen intently.
Let them talk. They may revel some information you may not have gotten if you had interrupted. Use silence as a strategy to plan your next move, not just time out between soliloquies. It is simply impossible to act sincerely interested in what somebody is saying or offering if you monopolize the conversation. Let your own silence speak for you occasionally.
There are four good reasons for silence in negotiation:
- One, it may keep you from spouting off and saying the wrong thing.
- Two, by being silent, you may create the impression that you are agreeing with your prospect. This can create leverage for you as well as put the other side at ease. And, most importantly, it can afford you the opportunity to find out what they really want.
- Three, by being silent, you show yourself to be deliberate and not rash.
- Four, silence gives the other side their time to voice out without being interrupted, something they are sure to appreciate.