The Negotiator Magazine

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Using conversational cues

An objection may surface suddenly and without sufficient context to determine its validity. Further, they tend to arise throughout conversation and are expressed in a broad conversational manner. In working through objections, seek proper context by 1) fully examining the circumstances surrounding it; 2) stating each request, need or demand simply; and, 3) learning to recognize a complex or blanket objection regardless of whether one seems warranted. 

Your adversary may not articulate what it is about your suggestion they specifically oppose. This is most likely if emotions are tense, the situation is unbalanced and/or stakes are high (these aspects tend to come as a package).  

Employing appropriate and skillful language …

Achieving clarity relies heavily upon the appropriate and skillful use of language. It’s vital to use cooperative language to lessen the intensity of these situations. Sample sentences might be:  

“What feels fair to you?” 

“What part of our proposal makes you feel uncomfortable?” 

“What can we do to make this situation more bearable for you?” 

“Would you agree that, as things stand, neither of us are getting what we need?” 

“How can we work together to accomplish what each of us needs?”  
 

Keeping the conversation in this range of cooperation allows you more room to maneuver, preserving better recognition of and access to possibilities. 

 

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June 2006