Jan 082014

Tips for Establishing the Right Tone

  • Make sure that refreshments will be available. Never underestimate the value of “breaking bread” to establish a working relationship.
  • Don’t overlook the importance of small talk at the beginning – it helps make everyone feel less defensive, and more cooperative and communicative.
  • Even in a zero-sum negotiation, small talk helps you get to know the other side better  and it makes you better able to judge when the other negotiator is being truthful.
  • Take your cue from what the small talk reveals about the other negotiator’s style and manner.
  • If the other side is more formal, don’t speak too casually – they may interpret this as a lack of seriousness on your part.
  • If the other side is decidedly informal, speak in a more casual way, perhaps using reference to a current event with which they are familiar.
If you have tips and comments on this topic, please add them below. Let us know if you have suggestions for other posts.