“Rest your mind when reflecting, move to action with conviction.” –Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
When it comes to negotiating better, the questions you ask will be the gateway through which success awaits. The more probing the questions, the more engaging will be the mind. The more engaged the mind becomes, the greater the opportunity to alter the state of mind.
The following are mind probing questions you can pose to yourself and the other negotiator to achieve greater negotiation outcomes. By thinking deeper about the negotiation mindset you should possess, you’ll also deepen the thoughts that you engage in during the negotiation.
Questions to ask yourself and to consider about the other negotiator:
Do you know where you’re really going in the negotiation (i.e. end goal), and the detours you might have to make/take, if you encounter roadblocks you’d not considered? When putting your plan in place for the negotiation, you should consider the style of the other negotiator, what style you’ll display in response to the opposing negotiator’s style, and how you’ll attempt to sway his perspective once the negotiation has begun.)
Do you know how long it might take to reach your negotiation goal and what other obstacles might compete for your time and attention? In this sense, you have to consider how time might be used for and against you. The longer it takes to reach a negotiation outcome, the more likely you and the other negotiator may fall prey to the pressures of time, which means, you may make concessions that are not beneficial to the outcome you’re seeking.
At what possible points might you exit the negotiation based on what you’ve achieved or not achieved at that point? Always have exit points in mind whereby you’ll exit the negotiation if it’s not going according to your plans and you don’t see the opportunity to salvage a plausible outcome.
What’s your ‘fallback position’ if you have to exit the negotiation? You should always exit a negotiation by letting the other negotiator feel respected, even more so if you don’t come to an agreement when you exit.
What body language and other nonverbal signals will you be vigilant of in seeking added meaning to a statement or question made by the other negotiator? Negotiators exhibit body language signals that give insight into their mindset when they make offers/counteroffers. The better you are at deciphering such signals, the greater insight you’ll gain into what’s really on that negotiator’s mind.
What is the opposing negotiator really seeking from the negotiating, and what will he really settle for compared to what he says is his best offer/deal? The way he makes such statements (i.e. leaning towards/away from you when making such a declaration, exhaling strongly after making the statement, raising/lowering the tone of his voice, etc.)
Be very aware of the questions you ask during a negotiation. The quality of the questions will determine the quality of the answers you receive, which will enhance or detract from your opportunity to enhance the outcome of the negotiation. By being vigilant to the body language signals that are displayed, you’ll receive hidden meanings that’ll add value to the answers. Thus, by asking mind probing questions, coupled with reading body language, you can increase your negotiation win rates substantially … and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!