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The Art Of Negotiation

Date: Wednesday 9th March 2016

EMA held their July 2015 event at the newly opened Lanesborough Hotel discussing the art of negotiation. 

The event featured expert speaker Richard Mullender who worked as a detective investigating serious crimes before he trained to become a hostage negotiator. His skills were so well regarded that he was appointed Lead Trainer at Scotland Yard’s National Hostage and Crisis Negotiation Unit.

As a hostage negotiator, Richard Mullender has built his career on developing elite-level listening skills, bringing those skills into the business world.

Negotiation skills

Richard opened with a statement that his aim for the evening is to achieve three things: to entertain, to challenge and to teach something the audience doesn’t know.

He posed the first question to the audience: How to listen?

According to Richard, the common perceptions such as body language, asking questions, mirroring the conversation partner are not effective listening techniques. In order to listen effectively one needs to be quiet. 

Asking questions, for example, is not an effective listening because by asking questions you are changing the subject. Questions are about what you want to know and not about what the subject wants to tell you. Therefore, you are not going to understand the other by asking questions.

People don’t have full control of what comes out of their mouth therefore, they are going to give out information and secrets, but you need to know what you are listening for.

People will very often give out personal values and beliefs, from which the listener can get the information he or she is looking for.

Key takeaways:

1. It’s all about them, it’s not about you. Such as mentioned above about asking questions.   

2. Build trust not rapport. Trust can be: personal, personal capability, organisational(reputation) and organisational capability. 

3. Listening: “effective listening is the identification, selection and interpretation of key-words that turn information into intelligence. Intelligence is information that you use to their and your advantage”. Richard suggested making client meetings to last at least one hour, because only the second 20 minutes count. 

4. My turn, your turn: acknowledge the other person that you are listening by nods of head, smiles, hand gestures – ways to keep the person going without asking questions. 

Richard suggested that you need to get the whole picture from the conversation and only then pick the information you need to focus on.

By the end of the session Richard has achieved all three objectives: he was entertaining, challenged our perceptions and everyone left the session with new information and better listening skills. 

Thanks go to the speaker and the venue.