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Put your whole body into listening

Negotiation touches every part of our lives. Relationships in business and in our personal lives are negotiated. And the skills to do it effectively can often mean the difference between getting what you want or losing out. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!

In the first section of the book, How to be a Great Negotiator, written by property economist, investor and developer Neville Berkowitz, the characteristic traits of a great negotiator are explored in short, bite-sized nuggets of advice.

Over the next few months, we will bring you the traits needed to succeed at the art of negotiating.

(Courtesy of PersonalEmpowerment.co)

71 Listening

In an interview, CBS newsman Dan Rather asked Mother Theresa what she said to God when she prayed. “I listen,” she said. “Well then, what does God say?” Mr Rather asked. “He listens,” Mother Theresa replied.

This little story illustrates the depths of true listening. Not everyone knows how to really listen. Some think listening is just hearing words. Many who appear to be listening are only waiting to interrupt! Yet there is no greater skill and no wiser strategy than true listening. And nothing gives you a better return on your investment.

True listening is inherently empathetic. It makes the other party feel heard, respected, and valued; builds confidence and trust; and creates a strong “feel-good” connection. All this positively affects the other party’s perceptions of you, and can influence the course of the negotiation toward your objectives.

True listening is also the primary means of connection and information-gathering during a negotiation. When you really listen to and hear the other party – not just the words and their dictionary meanings, but the tones, inflections, pauses and gestures that reveal deeper underlying meanings – you access information vital to the outcome of the negotiation. You discern and understand the motives and character of the other party, the practical “what” and the emotional “why” that brought them to the negotiation table. This allows you to speak with precision and influence in their target zone, within the parameters of their primary needs and motives. And it reduces misunderstandings, miscommunications, and mistakes, allowing solutions to be found.

Remember that listening is not passive, but active and dynamic. When you listen, relax your body and sit upright in the “present” position, facing the other party. If you take notes, continue to make regular eye contact, with an occasional gentle nod or an encouraging gentle smile. Let your listening be a whole-body act that unifies and heightens the faculties of hearing, seeing, cognition, intuition, and presence. Listen with your ears, eyes, heart, mind, and soul.


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