“When negotiators ignore the value of psycholinguistics in negotiations, they forgo the mind’s dark secrets that foretell trouble’s hiding place.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
“Improve Your Psycholinguistics Negotiation Skills Faster How To Increase Bargaining Power”
People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.
Good negotiators consider the psycholinguistics involved in their negotiations to increase their bargaining power. What exactly is psycholinguistics, you ask, and how do negotiators use it to improve their negotiation position? I will answer that question in this article and tell you how to use it to increase your negotiation skills.
What Is Psycholinguistics
Psycholinguistics studies the psychological processes involved in the use of language. It includes language development, use, and comprehension, comprised of input from psychology and linguistics. It concerns how people create the words they use and the perceptions a listener creates. So, what benefits can a negotiator derive from psycholinguistics, and how might one use it?
The Benefits Of Psycholinguistics In Negotiations
Psycholinguistics notes how people process words and how their word choices impact their communication style and interactions. Through such insights, negotiators can enhance their verbal messaging and listening skills. That will allow them to create better strategies while becoming more flexible in addressing negotiation situations that might otherwise lead to impasses.
With a firm understanding of psycholinguistic techniques, negotiators can better direct conversations and establish and maintain a more significant rapport with their opposite. They can also better understand why a negotiator adopts one position versus another.
The Value-Add Of Psycholinguistics In Negotiations
Psycholinguistics adds value to a negotiator’s repertoire of skills. It can do that in many ways. For example:
1. It can lend a more insightful understanding of the other negotiator’s viewpoint. When being attentive to using psycholinguistics, a negotiator has the analytical ability to note the opposing negotiator’s language use, tone, and nonverbal cues.
That understanding helps negotiators become more exact in addressing their approach to the other party’s needs and preferences. That can lead to an easier negotiation with better outcomes.
2. You talk and sound like I do. I like you. Those are the words of a negotiator who has experienced rapport-building.
By using rhetoric familiar and in the same tone and cadence as their opposite, negotiators can appear more like the person they are negotiating with. It will also enhance the trust factor, the foundation for all negotiations.
3. When a negotiator uses language familiar to their counterpart, that can lull their opposite into emotional calm. While in that state, the negotiator applying psycholinguistics techniques can frame and position their offerings from a perceived beneficial point of view. They can use emotional triggers familiar to the opposite to help foster that facade.
Using Psycholinguistics In Negotiation
Now that you have a greater understanding of psycholinguistics, its benefits, and value-add, I will delve deeper into this tool by noting how to use it to increase your bargaining power. And, since the flow of communications impacts one’s bargaining power, one’s word choices and the mode of delivery dictate the pace of that flow.
That is why understanding psycholinguistics – the psychology of language – is so valuable to negotiators. Thus, to negotiate effectively, choose your words wisely, matching those of the other negotiator. To do that:
Use Proper Phraseology
1. Use words that reinforce positivity and phrases that project optimism. Phrases like “this moves us forward” instead of “we cannot do that.” Using phraseology that is more optimistic will instill optimism into the negotiation.
2. Recite the exact words your opposite uses to mirror their thinking. That will signal that you understand their viewpoint while ingratiating you to them.
3. Avoid destructive words by not saying, “You, or that, is stupid.” Instead, say, “I am not sure of the benefits of that. Please state it in a more positive frame.” If negotiators have established good rapport, stating your request from a positive perspective will signal your willingness to remain positive.
4. Use inclusive language, such as “we,” “together,” and “us,” as opposed to contentious words like “you” or “them.” The latter places mental distance between you and the other negotiator.
5. Avoid giving ultimatums. Do not say, “Unless you do this, I will walk away.” Instead, consider a better positioning statement like, “Please give me an idea about how we can keep this negotiation on track.”
Delivery Style Tips
Sometimes, in negotiations, what you say is less important than how you say it. Through psycholinguistics, you can gauge how your opposite is perceiving your message. Do the following to increase their perception of receiving it in the intended manner.
1. Match/mirror the speed and tone of the other negotiator’s voice. In their mind, that will create the subliminal impression that you are like them.
2. To excite your opposite, speak slightly faster than prior, but not to the point that the person becomes uncomfortable. That will heighten their interest and signal that they should become more excited, too.
3. The opposite of point two is to speak slower when you wish to become perceived as being reflective. Displaying contemplation suggests self-assuredness, lowering the bar for the other negotiator to feel safe following your lead.
4. To support your efforts per point 3, curtail your use of filler words if they serve no purpose to add to your credibility. That will increase the perception of your authority.
Psycholinguistics is a valuable tool that improves a negotiator’s negotiation skills. It does that by helping negotiators understand the underlying psychological factors that influence the negotiation process, giving that negotiator an instant edge.
Thus, mastering psycholinguistics allows you to steer the conversation, build rapport, and gain valuable insights into the other party’s perspective about their engagement manner. Accordingly, if you sharpen your verbal skills using psycholinguistics, you will watch your negotiation powers soar to unimagining heights. And everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
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