From the blog of Nancy Hudgins
As a mediator, I rank listening as the most under-used skill in the negotiations that play out in front of me.
If lawyers had training in psychology or neuroscience, listening would be more valued and more utilized. There are many books on this subject, most of which came out after I graduated from law school.
The problem is that lawyers are taught that persuasion is about their talking, their arguments, their scoring points, in order for their view to prevail. In a negotiation, however, persuasion is more about listening for what the other side really wants, then finding a way to give it to them at the minimum cost to you.
“Selling involves telling people about the virtues
of [your case], focusing on the strengths of your
case, and trying to induce agreement or
compliance. Effective negotiating requires this
kind of active selling, but it also entails focusing
on the other side’s interests, needs, priorities,
constraints, and perspective. Negotiation geniuses
… understand this difference. They also
understand that their ability to structure a deal
that maximizes value often hinges not on their
ability to persuade, but on their ability to listen.”
I’m currently reading Mark Goulston’s Just Listen. Goulston is a psychiatrist, consultant and business coach. He is an apostle for listening. The inscription in his book is to his mentor and friend, the business guru Warren Bennis. Goulston says Bennis
“. . . taught me that when you ‘deeply listen’ and
get where people are coming from, and then care
about them when you’re there, they’re more likely
to let you take them where you want them to go.”
It’s so simple, yet so untried. Practice careful and intentional listening with your loved ones (and notice their response!), then try it at your next negotiation. Let me know how it goes.
Keynote talk to mark the launch of an "interface" mediation scheme in Belfast, Ireland in October 2010. Mediation is a funny old word. Pop it into Google Images and you...By Charlie Irvine