Communication Styles in Negotiation

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Communication Styles in Negotiation

Communication styles in negotiation are probably one of the most important skills or characteristics one will develop over a lifetime. From the point a human being begins to develop cognitive skills, the process of learning and understanding situations become more apparent. One will learn from a very young age the dynamics and characteristics of communication and its role in negotiation. To better understand the communication process, one must be able to recognize how they communicate, whether it is on an assertive, aggressive, passive, or passive-aggressive level of communication. The manner in which one conveys his/her message is critical, and the many methods in which they do it is important and essential. Questioning Styles in Communication

There are different styles of questioning: open-ended, open, leading, cool, planned, treat, window, directive and gauging questions. There are also unmanageable questions: close-out, loaded, heated, impulse, trick and reflective trick questions. Each type or style of questioning has a specific purpose, for example, open ended questions force the answer to be more specific, thus giving more information. Open ended questions invite the other person’s thinking, such as, “What do you think of our proposal?” Leading questions point toward an answer, such as, “Is it not true that you are able to give me a discount?” Heated questions are high in emotion and trigger emotional responses, “Don’t you think we’ve spent enough time discussing this ridiculous proposal of yours?” (Lewicki, Saunders, Barry, 2005, p. 177). Knowing different questioning styles is important while participating in a negotiation. Each style of questioning has a specific purpose and intent. Ultimately, asking the correct questions can give someone an advantage over their opponent. Questions are also needed when there is confusion during a negation setting. One party can be confused as to what the other party wants or desires. To clarify any misunderstanding or confusion, questions are essential. As stated by Lewicki, Saunders and Barry (2005), questions allow clarification when there is confusion or distortion on a topic (p. 176). Understanding the position of the opposing party allow for better negotiation and dialog between both parties, and may force a party to further explain their position with the purpose of clarifying mix-ups. Additionally, questions can also be used in negotiations to secure information from the opponent. Asking the correct “questions enables negotiators to secure a great deal of information about the other party’s position, supporting arguments, and needs” (Lewicki, Saunders, Barry, 2005, p. 176). An example of this is in a deadlock situation, where both parties cannot agree on a common point. The question, “What else can either of us do to close the gap between our positions?” can be asked (Lewicki, Saunders, Barry, 2005, p. 178). This question is open ended and forces the opposing party to reveal what he or she is thinking. A question such as “What would you think I see as a fair offer?” is also an open ended question and can be used in highball or lowball tactics (Lewicki, Saunders, Barry, 2005, p. 178). Verbal Communication

Although communication can take several forms, verbal communication is the characteristic of language that one uses in order to communicate. Characteristics in language can be placed in two levels, logical or pragmatic. In the progression of negotiating, the logical level is used for proposals and offers. The second, the pragmatic level, is used as semantics, syntax, and style. Therefore in any negotiation situation the language used is a combination of logical and pragmatic messages. During the negotiation process, the message conveyed is formed of one logical and various pragmatic messages. To better understand the combination of logical and pragmatic messages ability to portray a message...
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