I tell people that work with me that one of the most important skills in negotiations is active listening. I believe in not always asking questions with the purpose of getting the other side to reveal things. There is immense, untapped benefit to getting a deep understanding of what drives them and you certainly build good will with such an approach. “Why is that issue important to you. I want to understand it the way you understand it. I don’t want to have a false impression. Explain to me why that matters so much to you. Where does it come from? Why does it create an imperative?” You can’t find the underlying sources of behavior and issues unless you ask questions in this way. In my personal life, this skill has made me more interested in others and in turn made others more comfortable with me. When people see that I am curious by being an active listener, they get a message of respect from me. And of course you have the benefit of actually learning something.
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