30 May 2012

The Art Of Negotiations

Dear Friends,

Learning how to negotiate isn’t easy. After all, this isn’t something they teach as part of professional safety training.
We, Safety professionals, very often need to negotiate with the management, line supervision, work force, contractors and put across the table our demands, requirements, recommendations and suggestions to be approved, agreed or followed by them.

 So, let me see if I can lend a hand — in fact, a whole body.

Negotiators Don’t Talk Just With Their Mouths

What does it take to be a “skilled negotiator”? The trait that comes most readily to mind is skill in verbal give-and-take. In fact, much of negotiation is verbal. But in negotiation, understanding what isn’t spoken can also make a vital difference. Negotiators talk not just with their mouths but with their entire body. If you can read the body language of those you negotiate with, you can thus gain a tactical edge over them.

Six Body Language Pointers

Here are six pointers to help you decipher your opponent’s body language and turn it into a negotiating advantage.

1. Scope out Your Opponent’s Character Early
Negotiators are most likely to reveal their real character — as opposed to their negotiating character — during the first, and usually friendly, part of your meeting. This is when greetings and small talk are exchanged and before the actual negotiation starts. Observe your negotiating counterpart very carefully at this point. If their mannerisms suddenly change later in the discussion once the negotiating has started in earnest, it could mean they’re putting on an act.

2. Be Alert for Posturing
Watch for exaggerated movements or extreme enthusiasm on the part of your negotiating opponent. Like poker players who hurl chips on the table or slam down cards, such behavior often suggests the person is holding a weak hand.

3. Watch for Breathing Patterns
Observing how a person is breathing can tell you a lot about how they’re feeling. Pick up on your opponents’ breathing patterns by watching their shoulders.  Faster breathing high in the chest will make their shoulders rise and fall more than normal. Rapid breathing is a sign that a person is nervous or lying.

4. Keep Your Eyes on the Opponent
Don’t take the bait when your opponent slides papers across the table and asks you to read them. Instead of breaking eye contact, say, “Tell me about it. What does it say?”

5. Know the Signs of Deception
Consider these as possible signs of deception when opponents use them while speaking: covering the mouth with the hands, rubbing the side of the nose, jerking the head quickly and leaning away from you.

6. Know the Signs of Sincerity
Look for positive signs that show you can trust those you’re negotiating with.  The wider the gesture, the more you can trust them.

One more thing to keep in mind: Body language works both ways. If your opponent is an experienced negotiator, chances are good that he or she will be observing your posture, gestures, breathing patterns, etc.

 Be aware of this and try to use it to your advantage. By using your body to transmit the appropriate message to your negotiating opponent, you’ll enhance the chances of securing the right deal and, just as importantly, keeping the negotiation amicable.

Best of luck!!!


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