“Sunday Negotiation Insight”
“Communication – Did you hear what I didn’t say?”
When people ask how many languages I speak, I say it depends.
When I say it depends, I’m referring to the multiple ways I observe people communicating and the multitude of ways I communicate with them. Sometimes I’ll speak hand, head movement, feet, and/or face language. Thus, if someone were to say, I’d like more of your time, I’m also listening for the meaning behind the words based on the hand, eye, head, and/or feet movement that they used to make their request. Does their request, imply, “I’m not sure of what I’m doing”, “I want your support to lift my hopes of achieving a quest”, “I want your insight to assist me in thinking of a task from another perspective”, or, “I like you so much I just want to be close to you”. It could mean any or none of those thoughts.
The point is, when people speak listen to what they say and how they say it; watch their facial expressions, the movement of their hands, the positioning of the feet, etc. Observing such will give you greater insight into the meaning they’re communicating. At times, there will be hidden meanings in their messages. Also, listen to what’s not said and the implication the latter has on the meaning that’s being conveyed. Then, determine how you’ll respond based on the predominant method they’ve used (i.e. face, tonality, feet, etc.)
People communicate through multiple modalities. Observe the one they use that’s predominant at the time you’re conversing and you’ll be able to communicate more effectively.
The better you speak body language (nonverbal communication), the more insight you’ll have into hidden meanings. You’ll also be able to hear clearer what is not said … and everything will be right with the world.
What does this have to do with negotiating?
In a negotiation (you’re always negotiating) in addition to the words used to communicate, information is also conveyed via a glance, an extra emphasis on a word, and/or the altering pace of speech. To the degree you’re astute at observing and correctly identifying the meaning of the unspoken conveyance you’re better positioned to offer a rebuttal. To the degree you offer a rebuttal that addresses the ‘real’ thought behind someone’s words, you can communicate more effectively. To the degree you communicate more effectively, you’ll be able to identify and understand the source of motivation that’s leading someone to address a situation in a particular manner. They’ll appreciate you taking the time to understand ‘where they’re coming from”, which will allow you to have influence with them at that time. That will lead to a greater bonding process and easier negotiation.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!