Have you ever noticed how much of a difference slight changes in language can make to a conversation? Communication is a huge part of negotiation, and we can make that harder for ourselves by using the wrong language.

Here are a few tips for keeping you on the right track with your negotiation language:

1          Learn to be more open:  When asking questions, make it an open question instead of closed.  For example:  Can you go higher?  Is closed – there is only a yes or no answer possible, and let’s face it probably a no.  Instead try:  “Under what circumstances could you go higher?” This is a much more powerful question.  It is less confrontational, asks for more information (and remember we are all about information gathering) and softens the request for more by showing them that you might be willing to trade something for it.

2          Assertive not aggressive:  Just as in the questions above, we can change our language to make everything less aggressive, but still assertive.  Move away from demanding, and move towards suggesting; move away from blocking, and move towards assuring.

3          Take your time to respond.  Sometimes rushing in with unprepared responses can create less than perfect language, which can confuse or irritate the other party.  Think about how you want to say something before committing.

4          The most important 2 words in a negotiators language: IF ….THEN.  If you give me some of what I want, Then I will give you some of what you want.   Simple, clear and conditional, the most effective way to make a proposal.  Make sure you have it the right way round though, condition first, then offer.

Do you have any other language tips?