How To Easily Improve Your Negotiation Skills Every Day

    

3 Ways to Influence Behavior (19)-1

“Do the homework, and the test is easy.” Dr. Jeff Spencer


You need about 63-65 repetitions of use of a skill to build the neural pathway, so its use is comfortable, to put you on the path to mastery. But how? Where can you get your low stakes practice for your high stakes performance?

Every day multiple people call you and say, “Have you got a few minutes to talk?” This is your perfect opportunity to get the low stakes practice that raises your label and mirror skills to championship levels. 

So we’re going to give you both a mirror and a label to choose from to use each time someone says this to you. If you do this, every day for 1 week, by the time the week is out we promise you 3 things:

  1. You will raise your effectiveness with those key skills significantly and be on your way to mastery,
  2. You will also get to the heart of all of those conversations more quickly (saving time),
  3. You will enjoy the process!

Keep it up for another week to 10 days, and you will have these skills grooved in your brain.

 

Here’s a review of the Best Practice for Mirrors

 

Caller: “Have you got a few minutes to talk?”

You: “A few minutes to talk?” (Effective pause)

 

 

 We often refer to labels, mirrors and effective pauses as “The Quick 2 +1” in our Masterclass training. The effective pause is, of course, the “+1”.

To not step on the good use of a skill, you've got to go silent after you’ve used it. Count “one-one-thousands” to yourself. This is a best practice advised by our Chief Negotiator & Director of Operations Brandon Voss. Brandon says he rarely gets to “three-one-thousand” and the longest time he’s ever waited to break the silence is “seven.”

Labels are just about the most powerful and most flexible of the skills. Mirrors and labels are the preferred skills to be used with all 3 negotiator types, Assertives, Accommodators, and Analysts, in order to make the best deals. 

Best Practice for Labels

Caller: “Have you got a few minutes to talk?”

You: “It sounds like there’s something on your mind.” (Effective pause) Say this with an encouraging tone of voice, but with a downward inflection at the end as though your stating an observation. Putting a smile in your voice will be an excellent way to make your label sound encouraging.

Now of course, as a Black Swan trained negotiator, you know “Have you got a few minutes to talk?” is a self-defeating way to open a conversation. You know this triggers defensiveness because everyone has been led into the “yes” trap so many times that a suspicious reaction is automatically triggered.

We think to ourselves, “Where is this going? What am I missing? What am I letting myself in for if I say ‘yes’?”

So you, as a Black Swan trained negotiator, instead, say, “Is now a bad time to talk?” or “Have I caught you in the middle of something?”

You know that the act of saying “no” makes people feel safe and in control, so they relax and listen.

Still, you’re faced with people calling you every day and leading with this question.

Repetition is the mother of skill. At somewhere about 63 repetitions you’ll have this habit grooved into your brain (as John Foley – Blue Angel Pilot would say) or we might say the neural connection has been built to fire efficiently. It will become second nature.

Build these skills in this simple way every day. You’ll enjoy it. The people who call you will enjoy it. And, you’ll get more done in less time.

Have fun!

About The Author

Christopher Voss is the CEO of The Black Swan Group, a firm that solves business negotiation problems with hostage negotiation strategies. Chris founded the Black Swan Group, in 2008 upon his retirement from the FBI where he was the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Chris is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business where he teaches business negotiation in both M.B.A. programs.