Entering a negotiation discussion can be daunting, especially if you’re a novice. Successful negotiation requires strong problem-solving, bargaining skills, and willingness to accept concessions to reach mutually beneficial agreements.
The good news is that most people can reach a win-win solution by leveraging basic negotiation skills. One of the fundamental tactics used by experienced negotiators is the calibrated question.
This blog will explore everything you need to know about calibrated questions and how you can use them to achieve your negotiation goals and objectives.
Calibrated questions are a popular negotiating concept that was developed by a former FBI hostage negotiator.
They are open-ended questions that typically start with “how” or “what”. Calibrated questions are deliberately designed to keep the conversation flowing by extracting information, uncovering motivations, and introducing new perspectives.
Unlike closed-ended questions, calibrated questions are open-ended and typically require more detailed responses. In negotiations, this encourages both parties to provide more information, which can lead to a better understanding of each other's needs, desires, and concerns.
Asking calibrated questions is an effective tool for challenging assumptions and biases that might influence negotiations. This, in turn, paves the way for a more impartial and logical approach to decision-making.
Negotiations can sometimes become confrontational and emotionally charged. Calibrated questions can help defuse tension by redirecting the focus toward problem-solving. They also encourage the other party to see things from your perspective without appearing pushy.
Calibrated questions create an atmosphere of collaboration rather than confrontation, and encourage both parties to have open and honest discussions. This approach fosters trust and rapport, which are crucial components of successful negotiations.
By uncovering underlying needs and desires, calibrated questions can help negotiators identify potential areas of agreement that create value for both parties. This will help you strengthen relationships and reach mutually satisfactory outcomes.
As mentioned, calibrated questions typically begin with “what” or “how” as these phrases encourage detailed and thoughtful responses.
Here are some examples of calibrated questions that may be used in negotiations:
Using calibrated questions effectively in negotiation requires skill and a strategic approach. Follow these steps to incorporate calibrated questions into negotiation discussions:
PRO TIP: You should craft calibrated questions carefully and avoid using leading phrases to ensure that the other party’s responses are genuine and unbiased. The timing of calibrated questions is also crucial to maximize impact. Make sure you ask these questions at key stages of the negotiation discussion when the other party is likely to be open to sharing their thoughts.
At Scotwork, we recognize the significance of calibrated questions in mastering the art of negotiation. Our comprehensive negotiation training equips individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to leverage language as a strategic tool.
Whether negotiating complex business deals, resolving conflicts, or navigating everyday interactions, our training empowers individuals to approach negotiations with confidence and achieve their goals.
Reach out if you want to find out more about how we can help you harness the power of calibrated questions and become a successful negotiator.