Negotiating Tips October 30, 2009

Clarity is a virtue

Sometimes you think you are communicating well but you are not. The conversation isn’t going where you want and you are not reaching any kind of agreement...

Sometimes you think you are communicating well but you are not. The conversation isn’t going where you want and you are not reaching any kind of agreement. That is because to truly communicate, the other party must understand both what you are saying and what you mean. Sounds simple, but it often is very complicated.

In business negotiations, the ability to communicate ranks near the top of needed skills for a negotiator. And most important in the spectrum of communications skills is verbal clarity.

Speaking clearly and plainly goes a long way to make communication easy to understand.

There are two issues in communication. One has to do with the physical aspect of communication and the other has to with content.

The physical side:

To communicate clearly, you must speak clearly: Avoid mumbling and slurring your words. Enunciate, and be mindful of accents (some people have difficulty understanding different accents).

The content side:

Language choice: Are you using too much jargon? Are you using regional idioms? Are you using difficult words when simpler words are available (i.e. utilize instead of use)?
Complexity: Are you expressing yourself plainly? Or are you needlessly complicating what you are trying to say?
Style and grammar: Are you using proper grammar? Are you using overlong sentences or the passive voice instead of active voice?

Communicating clearly takes thought and practice. It involves your physical speech and the words you choose to express yourself.

In his book, In Business as in Life – You Don’t Get What You Deserve, You Get What You Negotiate, Chester L. Karrass quotes the following from Confucius:

“Therefore, a wise and good man can always specify whatever he names; whatever he can specify, he can carry out. A wise and good man makes it a point to always be exact in the words he uses.”
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