When you’re negotiating, the more information you have on the issue the better. This simple trick makes the other person feel heard and earns you more info to work with.
Photo by University of Salford Press.
On the Science of Success podcast, former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss shared the techniques he used in the field, and explained how they can be used in less intense situations. As Voss explains, the best tactic is called “mirroring”, where you just repeat three to five keywords in their last sentence in the form of a question.
For example, if someone said, “We can’t fulfil your request because there have been budget cuts.” You would say something like, “You can’t because of budget cuts?” That forces them to repeat themselves, but they will feel a natural urge to clarify what they’re saying even more, giving you more information in the process. Voss notes that it feels really awkward to do the mirroring technique, but others will rarely notice it, and they will actually feel like they’re really being listened to.