January 8, 2024

Questions In Negotiating

Questions are mind-openers and can lead both parties in a negotiation to a more active involvement with each other. This greater involvement is the key element to more satisfactory negotiations.

During a negotiation, involvement helps improve the probability of an agreement, and acts as a catalyst to help you discover “Both-Win” potentials that may not have been visible at the start of your negotiation.

The most direct route to understanding is through good questions. The trouble is most of us think of our best questions after the negotiation is over – while we’re in the car going home or lying in bed the night after the negotiation.

You will discover more information and gain better understanding if you use “open-ended” questions. These are questions starting with:

  • What, Where, When, How;
  • Or, Help me understand; Explain to me; Describe to me;
  • Be careful of “Why” – it may sound like a challenge.

Question-asking ability can be improved by following a few, rather easy “dos and don’ts.” First, let’s look at the “don’ts”:

  1. Don’t ask antagonistic questions unless you want a fight.
  2. Don’t ask questions which question the honesty of the other party. It won’t make him or her honest!
  3. Don’t stop listening in your eagerness to ask a question. Write your questions down and wait.
  4. Don’t act like a lawyer. A negotiation is not a courtroom trial.
  5. Don’t pick just any time to ask a question. Wait for the right time.
  6. Don’t ask a question just to show how smart you are.
  7. Don’t cancel out your teammates’ good question by asking your question before their question has been answered.

These “don’ts” have one thing in common. They are communication barriers. They block information flow.

Now the “dos”:

  1. Do get your questions ready in advance. Few of us are bright enough to think fast on our feet.
  2. Do use every early contact as a fact-finding opportunity. The best questions and answers come months before the negotiation, not at the negotiating table.
  3. Do have a brainstorming question-asking session among your own people. You’ll be surprised at the number of interesting questions they will raise.
  4. Do have the courage to ask questions that pry into the other person’s affairs. Most of us don’t like to.
  5. Do have the courage to ask what may appear to be dumb questions.
  6. Do ask questions like a “country boy.” You will find this attitude encourages good answers.
  7. Do ask questions of the other person’s assistant, production person, engineer, technicians, etc.
  8. Do have the courage to ask questions that may be evaded. This in itself tells a story.
  9. Do take frequent recess periods to think of new questions.
  10. Do be quiet after you ask a question.
  11. Do be persistent in following up your question if the answer is evasive or poor.
  12. Do ask some questions for which you already have the answers. They can help you calibrate the credibility of the other person.

Questions and answers can be looked at as a negotiation in their own right. Every question has the character of a demand. Every answer is a concession. Those who demand better answers are more likely to get them. This added information helps you conduct your negotiation and create better outcomes.

THE PROGRAM WAS GREAT! MY SEMINAR LEADER AND THE STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE KEPT ME CONSTANTLY STIMULATED. I NOW AM BETTER PREPARED TO GO INTO AN IMPORTANT NEGOTIATION MEETING AND STAY IN CONTROL, WHILE FINISHING THE MEETING SATISFIED.

Deanna D.
CASE MANAGER at THE JACKSON LABORATORY

IF YOU HAVE THE TRAINING BUDGET AND TWO DAYS TO SPARE, YOU'LL STRUGGLE TO FIND A PROGRAM MORE FAR-REACHING, ON-POINT, AND INSTANTLY IMPLEMENTABLE.

Jeff G.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER at THE M.K. MORSE COMPANY

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

John S.
CHIEF ENGINEERING MANAGER at EXXONMOBIL

THIS WAS VERY EFFECTIVE WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON BOTH-WIN NEGOTIATING.

Kathleen L.
SENIOR ANALYST at BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN

THE KARRASS CLASS WAS THE SINGLE BEST TRAINING CLASS/SEMINAR I HAVE EVER ATTENDED. EVERY TIME WE DID AN EXERCISE IT TAUGHT YOU WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME. THANKS.

Kim C.
PROCUREMENT at AMERICAN EXPRESS

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

LaDonna E.
SENIOR STRATEGIC BUYER at HALLMARK

THE NEGOTIATING CLASS WAS VERY INFORMATIVE. THE INSTRUCTOR PROVIDED AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO EVERYDAY LIFE.

Mary S.
INTERNATIONAL SOURCING at FMC TECHNOLOGIES

WE NEGOTIATE EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES, BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY. THIS COURSE DEFINES THE PROCESS AND PROVIDES TECHNIQUES TO ACHIEVE SUCCESSFUL RESULTS.

Phillip H.
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.

Steve Q.
PLANNER at HONEYWELL

MANY PEOPLE FAIL TO ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL BECAUSE THEY DON’T SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO NEGOTIATE A WIN/WIN AGREEMENT WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES. THIS CLASS IS AN EYE OPENER TO THIS DYNAMIC..

Stuart B.
CONTRACTS MANAGER at HEWLETT-PACKARD
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