The Strategist

Active listening for perfect negotiations

08/01/2017 - 11:42

In today's world, it is rare to find a person who not only listens but also hears - specially in business. According to George Kohlrieser, observing and listening can yield more results than saying.

Listening is the first step to an effective dialogue.

For this reason, the negotiators ask a lot of questions. They know that questions penetrate the soul deeper than notations. The negotiators pay great attention to their words and the impression they make. The ability to listen and respond lies at the heart of an effective dialogue. Questions are the shortest way to see a terrorist’s focus, understand his motives, assess the situation and the degree of risk for the hostages. And if you know what is at stake, what motivates another person, you can use the dialogue more effectively, including to resolve a conflict.

4 basic listening skills for a productive dialogue

1. Attention to feelings

This is hearing at the deepest level. The auditory system perceives the speaker’s voice and content of a message. We listen and speak literally with "the whole body"; therefore it is necessary to be attentive not only to words, but also to the "body language" of your interlocutor.

2. Interpretation

Words and phrases also have their own meaning, and in this process also involves the body, emotions, intellect and spirit.

3. Evaluation

When a message is understood, it is evaluated in terms of the evidence and facts contained therein. As a result, the listener agrees or disagrees with the speaker.

4. The answer

Verbal and nonverbal behavior of the listener demonstrates to the speaker that the message is accepted and that, having realized and thought over what has been heard, the listener will be ready to respond.

Passive and active listening

Those who speak beautifully do not always know how to listen. Likewise, good listeners are not always excellent speakers. Combination of the best features implies accustoming yourself to an active listening.

Our task is not just to listen to words, but also to understand their meaning, to see the "energy" contained in them. Active listening requires concentration.

What is the difference between passive and active listening? Passive listening means to allow the mind to wander, to be distracted, and to emotions to degenerate into boredom. On the contrary, active listening means being involved in a conversation, concentrating on. Every negotiator works that way.

Even if some statement seems erroneous to you, you can ask yourself: "Why do I think so?"

Remember that your goal is to keep in touch with the interlocutor and understand his thoughts.

If you believe you are one of those who cannot be an active listener, here is a recipe: ask clarifying questions. For example, paraphrase what you just heard: "Did I understand correctly that you are saying this and that?"

By giving feedback and listening with an "understanding", we can truly perceive and reflect upon the interlocutor's statements, and give adequate answers. The interlocutor will understand that you are involved in the conversation, which means that you are an excellent business partner.

Listening is not only a proven way to establish the true needs and interests of your partners, but also an important tool for conflict prevention and resolution.

based on "Hostage at the Table. How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, and Raise Performance" by George Kohlrieser

< >

Thursday, May 16th 2024 - 03:10 HSBC starts looking for new CEO