The Startup
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The Startup

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The Iceberg Model - Negotiations at Work

Effective ways to negotiate better with just about anyone

Negotiation is an information gathering process.

— Chris Voss, Former Lead Hostage Negotiator for the FBI

1. Plan your approach

Prepare your side of the discussion and think through potential successes. Learn about potential issues and objectives, and prepare information you’re willing to bring to the table.

  1. Imagine what success could look like
  2. Identify and plan your currencies
  • What might you ask for?

2. Make room for deeper discussion

Asking questions is a great way to find out more about the situation you are encountering. Try to asking open ending questions (those that start with “What”, “Why” and “How”) rather than surface level questions such as:

Another tip is to remember to ask TEDS questions:

  • Tell me more …
  • Explain more …
  • Describe what it would look like …
  • Share with me your vision for the future …

3. Utilize active listening

4. Clarify next steps

Sometimes it can takes up to 5 “Why” questions to get to the root cause of the issue. Even if the other party says “Yes” or “No” — it’s important to keep the conversation going and clarify what that answer necessary means. A response of “Yes” by itself is an ambiguous answer and “No” might not be the end of the world.

Negotiation is often described as the art of letting the other side have your way.

— Chris Voss

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