Being Mindful On How You Speak

Knowing Your Audience

  1. Sorry 

You should never apologize while you are asking for something.  State what it is you are asking for.  Have your reasons.  Have sound reasons.  You should have done your research and have your arguments ready to go.  

In a perfect world, you have even done the research for what the other side is going to argue too. Then you can come forward right away and state, “I anticipate that you are going to take that position that _________, and here is why your position does not hold up….”  or “here’s why our position is stronger than yours…”  It takes the wind right out of their sails. But one of the worst possible ways that you can begin asking for something is this:

“I am sorry to ask for this but…”

“So sorry to bother you but…”

That just devalues you and signals weakness.  It communicates to the other side that they don’t have to do anything for you.  So guess what?  They don’t.  

  1. I need…

I had a paralegal who asked for a raise once and when I asked her why she should have the raise, her response was that she needed the money because her live-in boyfriend had been fired from his job.  

Clearly because I didn’t feel the need to take over where her boyfriend had left off, I didn’t feel particularly motivated to dive in and give her a raise.   

Regardless of who is on the other side, people don’t like to deal with “needy”.   They want to feel like they are dealing with “strong and powerful” on the other side.   So when you are approaching the bargaining table, make sure you focus on what you are bringing to the table, not that the other side needs to provide charity or alms for the poor.  

Again have your research and arguments prepared.  For example, here is what you will be getting out of the negotiations if you take this deal; or here is what you will lose if you don’t.   

  1.   Do this now or I’m Outta Here 

Starting off right away with demands before you even get going with negotiations is a classic narcissist move that is meant to create a tone of hostility from the beginning and attempt to take control at the beginning so that everyone is scurrying around right away.  

I had a narcissist who started off a mediation stated that if he didn’t get his dogs returned immediately that he wouldn’t even begin the rest of the mediation.  These are the sorts of terrorist tactics that can’t be given into because then the rest of the negotiations will also fail.   

Understand that for a deal to stick, both sides must feel seen, heard and valued.