Negotiators Library – The Art of Asking


If you’re unhappy about the responses you’re getting from your counterpart, then try asking better questions! IN SUMMARY: The point of the book is not whether we should ask questions. It’s to look at what question we ask, how we ask them and when is the most appropriate time to do so. Specifically, Terry suggests that we:

  • Evaluate our current “questioning” skills to systematically improve them
  • Choose better questions and ask them in the right way
  • Ask tough questions more effectively to get to the truth, uncover the real problem, and solve it
  • Master the crucial non-verbal aspects of asking questions to find our natural style and the right body language

If you feel that you’re lacking creativity to craft your questions, Terry suggests over 25 different types of questions you can explore!  We found the following few to be particularly useful in progressing the negotiation dialogue:

  • one word questions
  • clarifying questions
  • either/or questions
  • hypothetical questions (eg. “just suppose…” and “what if…”)
  • direct questions
  • convergent questions
  • stupid questions!

Join us on the Key Distinctions webinar to learn more about this topic.

KEY IDEAS FOR YOUR NEGOTIATIONS: Often, negotiations fall over because no one has the courage or the skills to talk about the “elephant in the room”.  Improving our questioning technique will allow us to do just this. The benefits of you asking the right thing goes beyond the question itself. There is an important psychological component in any human relationship that is relevant here. Consider these three distinct benefits:

  1. Ask questions because the answer is important to you
  2. Ask question because the question is important
  3. Ask question because the process of asking is important

It all boils down to a simple equation: Question + Answer = Success Terry also provides a comprehensive Approach to Questioning, breaking the process down to 8 basic elements:

    1. What do we know?
    2. What do we not know?
    3. What are our objectives?
    4. What do we need to know now to reach our objectives?
    5. Who are we going to learn this from?
    6. How are we going to learn it?
    7. What are the expected results from deploying what is learnt?
    8. What do we do as a result of learning the answers?

IMPORTANT! Hopefully, by now you know the importance we give to a thorough and methodical Preparation for any important conversation / negotiation. We highly recommend that you use this Questioning Approach in conjunction with The Trusted Negotiator Instant Prep Sheet, which will set you up for success in your negotiations.   If you are not already using our Instant Prep Sheet to prepare for all your important conversations, I urge you to DOWNLOAD it here and now and start using it immediately. This alone is guaranteed to instantly improve your negotiation process and outcomes!

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