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3 Ways To Handle Negotiations With Difficult People

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Negotiating with difficult people

From the boardroom to the car showroom or simply rescheduling a flight, we negotiate every day. Really, any time we want something from someone, whether it’s money, an act of kindness, respect, or anything else, we are negotiating. And some of the people we negotiate with seem to have “make my day” written all over them.

But, while you really would like to make their day; you also want to persuade them to make your day. And to achieve that kind of win-win outcome requires something a little more subtle than the .44 magnum Dirty Harry relied on in Sudden Impact.

Here are three types of phrases you can add to your arsenal to help people become more receptive to your suggestions:

1. Leading phrases that defuse

Your typical difficult person isn’t just being difficult with you. It’s their default modus operandi.  So while leading with phrases such as, “It seems to me …”, “This is just my opinion …”, “I may be wrong about this …” may seem counter-intuitive, even “weak,” it really accomplishes two things.

First it surprises them, because that isn’t how most people handle them, and it soothes their ego. As you know, a person’s ego will often stand in the way of their being receptive to another’s idea. These phrases act as softeners to their ego.

You’re not saying, “I’m right and you’re wrong.” That’s what they’re used to. Instead, you are allowing for the definite possibility that you might not be correct. Quite opposite from causing the other person to doubt the truth of your statement, it will actually cause them to drop their guard and become a lot more open to it. Counter-intuitive? Yes. Effective? Absolutely.

Second, it will open your mind. You’ll not only be asking if you are right, or in the right, these phrases program your subconscious to be open to other solutions and resolutions. So you might end up with a better situation (think two cupcakes instead of one) than you were even negotiating for.

“Communication is the fuel that keeps the fire of your relationship burning. Without it, your relationship goes cold.” – William Paisley

2. Seek first to understand

I don’t think anyone phrased it any better than Dr. Stephen R. Covey in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People when he wrote, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Difficult people are often behaving the way they do because they need to be heard, they’re trying to cut you off at the pass, so to speak, by being insistent on their position right from the beginning.

Try another type of softening phrase like “for my own clarification …” and “I’m just curious about …” which suggest that you are sincerely interested in their point of view (even though you may not agree with it.)

Of course, if it leads to your difficult person being less defensive and explaining their point of view in more rational terms it also gives you a better chance of speaking to their real objections and working toward a resolution that is a win for everyone involved.

 

3. Offer to do your part

You might not expect a phrase suggesting that the other person tell you what to do would put you in the power seat, but it does.

In non-manipulative, or what we call “positive persuasion,” a phrase like, “What can I do to help?” or “Is there anything I can do to make it easier for you?” both defuses their firepower and puts the ball in their court to offer constructive feedback. It’s similar to the tactic used by hostage negotiators who will come right out, whether by bullhorn or telephone, and ask the hostage-taker, “What is it you’d like to have happen?” or “What is it you want to accomplish through this?”

You may not be negotiating a life or death situation, but keep your cool, present a calm, self-controlled front, and simply ask the question. Typically, they will be happy to give you the answer, and the conversation will tend to take a much more mutually beneficial direction.

“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.” – Og Mandino

Just as a professional boxer uses the parry which, properly executed, allows the fighter to deflect an oncoming jab with the slightest flick of the wrist, these phrases take the force that your difficult person is throwing your way and defuses it. Often you’ll find that using these phrases even gives you the advantage.

Have you personally used any of these phrases? Did they help? Please give us your feedback in the comment section below!

Bob Burg is a world-renowned speaker and best-selling author. His book, The Go-Giver, coauthored with John David Mann, is a Wall St. Journal Business Bestseller which has sold more than 500,000 copies. Their newest book is The Go-Giver Leader. Burg hosts “The Go-Giver Podcast. www.thegogiver.com

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20 Ways You Can Become a Powerful Communicator

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Emile Steenveld Speaker and Coach

Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.

Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But, don’t worry if you don’t naturally possess this skill, as effective communication is something that can be developed with practice, planning and preparation.
 

1.  Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.

 

2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.

 

3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.

 

4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.

 

5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.

 

6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.

 

7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.

 

8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.

 

9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.

 

10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.

 

11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.

 

12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.

 

13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.

 

14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.

 

15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.

 

16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.

 

17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.

 

18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.

 

19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.

 

20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.

 

By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.

I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at AweBliss.com so you can master your life with more success.

 
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