“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” – Peter Drucker
Active listening and mirroring are practical, powerful tools in negotiation that every entrepreneur should master. These techniques are not just about hearing words, but about fully engaging with and understanding your negotiation partner.
Active listening requires your full attention. It means not just hearing the words, but also noticing the tone, pace, and emotion behind them. Mirroring complements this by repeating the last few words or key phrases of your counterpart. This not only shows you are paying attention, but it also encourages them to continue talking, often revealing more information than they initially intended.
For instance, imagine you are negotiating with a supplier. They mention concerns about delivery timelines. Instead of immediately offering assurances or counterpoints, mirror their statement: “You’re worried about the delivery timelines?” This simple act of mirroring can lead them to open up more about their specific concerns, giving you valuable insights to work with.
In your next negotiation, focus on listening more than you speak. Use mirroring to encourage the other party to expand on their points. Pay attention to the nuances in their speech. This approach can reveal underlying concerns or opportunities that you might otherwise miss.
Action Step: Practice active listening and mirroring in your next business meeting. Focus on understanding the other party’s point of view. Encourage them to talk more by mirroring their statements, and pay close attention to the additional information they provide.
By improving your active listening and mirroring skills, you can gain deeper insights into your business negotiations, leading to more effective and successful outcomes.
To learn more about applying these skills, be sure to check out our book of the week “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss.