The Negotiation Timeline Series – Step 2: Build Rapport and Connection

Welcome back to our Negotiation Timeline series. Today, we’re exploring the second crucial step in our negotiation process: Build Rapport and Connection.

It’s easy to overlook this step or dismiss it as mere “small talk,” opting instead to dive straight into the heart of the matter. However, this seemingly innocuous step, if used effectively, can set the stage for a productive exchange and foster a healthier negotiation environment.

Building rapport starts by meeting others where they are at, and using neutral opening statements to break the ice.

Common ground can often be found in shared interests or universal topics, like the weather, upcoming holidays, or general health and well-being. If done correctly, even a touch of light-hearted humour can ease tensions and establish a positive ambiance.

However, it’s important to note that not everyone responds to small talk. Some individuals prefer to get straight to business. When dealing with such personalities, rapport can still be established by matching their tone and focusing on the negotiation process. For instance, you might say: “I am aware time is short and there are many items on the table. Could you share your thoughts on the key areas you would like to focus on?”

Research in social sciences has shown that building rapport encourages cooperative behaviour and increases the chances of achieving mutually beneficial agreements. Remember, any attempts to establish rapport should come across as honest and genuine. Resorting to “sweet talk” can often backfire, resulting in the opposite effect on the negotiation.

Next time, we will delve into the third step of the Negotiation Timeline. Stay tuned for more insightful tips on how to navigate your negotiations effectively.

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