When it comes to how to negotiate with someone in business, we can all feel a bit lost. How do you know what really works the best? What can you say so that the other doesn’t keep rambling on? How do you get to the point without seeming needy?

Well as far as Richard Mullender, a former hostage negotiator, is concerned he has 4 exact words that work. Those words are: “I feel as if ”  Nobody wants to hear endless questions. “Don’t change the conversation. It’s the dumbest thing you can do. The secret is in the rambling. It’s the rambling I’m interested in,” Mullender said.

A lot of times in conversation we find the other person rambling on, so we ask a question. This only changes the subject. What you want to be doing is interpreting how the other person feels. Saying something like “I feel as if something I said upset you,” or “I get the impression this is the problem,” allows you to interpret their true emotion without offending them, Mullender said.

He added: “It allows you to guess what you think the other person means. If you get it right, they expand on it. If you get it wrong, they correct you and expand on it.”

When it comes to sitting in negotiating, Mullender feels that we should never sit directly across from the person. Instead, try angling your chair at a “1.50,” to give people the opportunity to look away, as it can feel quite intimidating.

He also adds that when sitting, lean slightly forward, with open space between you and the person you are listening to. Keep your hands apart with your palms open too. This creates a listening position and makes you listen better.

I hope these pieces of information help you in your negotiating skills.


Thank you for your attention!