In all aspects of our professional life, the ability to successfully negotiate is an essential skill. This can be for various reasons, from negotiating with potential clients, to get a pay-rise, or a better deal with a supplier.
Last month, I attended a joint event organised by Merseyside Young Professionals (MYP) and the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), called “The Art of Hostage Negotiation”. Delivered by Richard Mullender, a former hostage negotiator and coach, I was looking forward to a fascinating event, with the opportunity to learn from an interesting and experienced coach. As it turned out, I was not disappointed at all by my experience of the event. Indeed it would have been even better if Richard had given a glimpse into his personal background in hostage negotiation, having worked with Scotland Yard and the FBI.
I am very happy to let the above pass, as I learned plenty from this worthwhile investment in my own time and personal development. From the importance of listening properly, talking normally and building trust, Richard spoke with a quiet intensity, authority and humour. This commanded my attention from start to finish, and I also understood Richard’s teachings with a straightforward ease.
In addition, I also learned that professionals sell successfully when working as a team, and not as individuals. Listening to Richard speak about all of the above, I realised and understood that everyone sells every day, by persuading, influencing and motivating.
Other interesting points that I learned included
- It is important to understand what motivates potential clients when selling, therefore it is crucial to know their values and beliefs.
- When people give their opinion on something, they reveal a lot about themselves.
- Rather than asking too many questions, it is better to talk in normal conversation.
- Through listening to clients, facts and secrets can be collected from them.
- Professionals must always be honest with their clients, as trust is everything!
- Clients need to feel comfortable with others, before business relationships can be built and nurtured.
Upon reflection, I enjoyed listening to Richard share his knowledge and expertise. The best compliment I can give is that I have since re-evaluated what I have learned about what is effective communication. For instance when listening, it is less effective to write down notes, as it is important to concentrate on the speaker’s facial movements, emotional expression and tone of voice. Finally I have learned that rather than asking multiple questions, communication needs to be natural.