Surprised? Skeptical?

Introverts and people-focused people have a lot to learn – literally. While handling everyday conversation we tend to overlook one key step: Ask for more information.

Whether we want to appear thoughtful, intelligent or simply are at a loss for words, when conversation brings us to the point of frustration or shock, we tend to get silent. And this does us nor those we’re talking with any good.

A book I’m currently reading, Negotiation Genius by Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman shares an example of this that I’ll greatly paraphrase. It seems 2 companies were working on a deal to come to terms with placing a product in the marketplace. Company A wanted exclusive rights to it and was willing to pay the price. Yet Company B wouldn’t deal in those terms. Negotiations came to a standstill.

In comes a genius negotiator to work on the relationships and outcome of the deal, and within 30 minutes, a contract was completely agreed upon by both parties. How did he do it? He simply asked Company B, “Why?” meaning, why won’t you give Company A exclusive rights?

“My cousin wants 250 per month of the product, so I can’t agree to this deal with Company A.”

When Company A heard this, they knew they could work through it, allowed for a contingency clause of “…aside from (cousin), we get exclusive rights…” and the deal was signed.

Why didn’t they ask the same question the genius asked? They, as many of us do, probably assumed Company B wouldn’t share the answer. Yet unless we ask questions, we are fairly certain we won’t get the information that is important to understand whatever has just made us surprised, skeptical or otherwise emotional.

Next time we feel shock, surprise, frustration or anger – we will benefit by asking questions.

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On January 12th, 2010, posted in: Uncategorized by