Effective communication for effective negotiation

Communicating effectively is crucial for an effective business negotiation. Your goal is to make yourself and your position understood, and this relies on your communication ability. In a negotiation, there is no room for communication breakdowns and misunderstandings.

How do you make your communication more effective?  First, assess your current communications skills. To do this, you could start with ten questions that Keith Rosen provides on the On AllBusiness.com post entitled: Ten Questions to Improve Your Communications Skills. Some of thee questions are:

  • Did I respect the other person’s point of view? Did I have a reaction to what they said that prevented me from listening to their full message?
  • Did the other person feel heard and understood? Did I acknowledge them?
  • If I was asking someone to take a specific action, did I make my request clear?
  • Am I speaking in a way that the other person can understand? Am I communicating in a way that will make the other person want to listen?
  • Am I checking to see if the conversation was successful?

Once you have self-assessed, you can see what areas need improvement. Communication ability is something that can always be worked on and refined.

If you are aiming to be very concise and clear, you may want to read A Fighter Pilot’s Guide to Effective Communication on the Harvard Business Review blog, where Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo”  Waldman provides tips gained from his fighting days. Waldman writes:

In the heat of battle, where effective communication is critical, fighter pilots:

  1. Brief the mission in order to establish objectives, delegate responsibilities, analyze threats, and review contingency plans.
  2. Establish a communication (“comm”) game plan which confirms when and where to change frequencies.
  3. Ensure positive two-way communication is established during critical elements of a mission.
  4. Brief a back-up plan in case communication fails (known as “radio-out” procedures).
  5. Debrief every mission to review lessons learned and reinforce training.

How do you work to improve your communication? Please share any resources in the comments.

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