January 8, 2024

Questions During a Negotiation

Negotiation is a process of discovery. Questions are raised and answers given, statements made and rebuttals offered. During a negotiation there often is great pressure placed on you to provide quick statements and sensible answers to hard questions.

The trouble is most of us need time to think. We often find we get our best answers in the car driving home. ldquo;Why didn’t I say . . . ?”

Here are a few negotiating techniques to help you improve your ability to handle questions during a negotiation.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do when negotiating is to write down in advance the questions most likely to arise. Get one of your associates to play the role of a devil’s advocate and have them raise a host of hard questions likely to emerge in your upcoming negotiation. The more time you have to think about answers to these questions the better your answers will be.

The suggestions that follow work in any question-and-answer situation. Those of you who have faced a barrage of questions will recognize their value.

  1. Give yourself the time you need to think. Quick answers are risky.
  2. Never answer until you clearly understand the question.
  3. Recognize that some questions do not deserve answers.
  4. Answers can be given that satisfy part of a question rather than all of it.
  5. If you want to evade a question, provide an answer to a question that was not asked.
  6. Some answers can be postponed on the basis of incomplete knowledge or not remembering.
  7. Make the other party work for answers. Get them to clarify the question.
  8. When the other person interrupts you, let them talk.
  9. Correct answers in a negotiation are not necessarily good answers. They may be foolish.
  10. Don’t elaborate. You may disclose more information than is necessary.

The art of answering questions lies in knowing what to say and what not to say. It does not lie in being right or wrong. There are few yes-or-no answers.

I’ll never forget observing one witness at a series of senate hearings. For almost two days the witness sat before the senators and was asked a barrage of questions about where, and to whom the money went. Hardly a question was answered. The witness never quite understood the question, so he kept answering questions that were never asked. He smiled a lot, never got angry, and remained confused to the end. It was the senators that finally gave up.

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EXCELLENT COURSE, BRINGS MORE CONFIDENCE IN MY ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE. I THINK THIS COURSE IS A MUST FOR ALL EMPLOYEES WHO DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS.

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PROCUREMENT at AMERICAN EXPRESS

THIS PROGRAM HAS GREATLY INCREASED MY CONFIDENCE AND ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE FOR MYSELF AS WELL AS MY COMPANY.

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INTERNATIONAL SOURCING at FMC TECHNOLOGIES

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VICE PRESIDENT at GE

PRIOR TO THIS CLASS I FELT AS THOUGH I WAS GETTING EATEN ALIVE BY INTERNAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH SALES REPS. NOW I FEEL PREPARED TO CHALLENGE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING AND BET TO THEIR REAL NEEDS.

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PLANNER at HONEYWELL

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CONTRACTS MANAGER at HEWLETT-PACKARD
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