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4 Negotiation Techniques Every Attorney Should Use

By |April 03, 2023

Author Raheel Farooq famously said: “Arguing with a lawyer is not the hardest thing in the world; not arguing is.”  

Everyone wants to make their argument. They want to explain to the other side why they are right or have the better deal, idea or resolution. 

But what if we changed our focus and instead concentrated on our counterpart? What if we allowed them to make their case and vocalize their perspective while displaying Tactical Empathy®?  

Doing this will allow you to learn about your counterpart, develop trust-based influence, and ultimately lead you to a resolution or agreement. 

Generally speaking, you should spend the first 80 percent of the conversation focused on your counterpart. Doing so will allow you to develop rapport as you learn about your counterpart and what’s important to them. 

With this in mind, let’s look at four Black Swan Group techniques you can use to improve your negotiations. After all, negotiation has been described as the art of influencing others. 

1. Active Listening

Active listening is hard. We often “listen” by waiting for our chance to respond and inject our point of view. To listen properly, we need to give our counterparts our undivided attention.

Listening is more than hearing the words. It’s not just what our counterpart is saying, but how they say it—including their tone, body language, and more.  

When we’re laser-focused on our counterpart’s words, tone, and body language, it often reveals what they are actually saying. As Stephen Covey wrote in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Listen to understand.  

How do we employ active listening skills? By using the Black Swan Group’s Quick 2+1™—which combines Labels™, Mirrors™, and Dynamic Silence™. Use these tools, and your counterpart will reveal information they are struggling to articulate or never intended to divulge.

2. Tone of Voice

Your voice is your most powerful tool. Using the proper tone of voice is critical, as your voice is the first thing someone notices about you. It makes or breaks Tactical Empathy.  Remember that how you say something is more important than what you say.

For the best results, use a warm, friendly voice because most people will decide whether they like you by your tone. And don’t forget to smile! Smiling while you’re speaking makes your tone warmer, and people will notice—even over the phone!

Your voice will have an emotional impact, positive or negative. An assertive, blunt, or direct tone is counterproductive and will ensure a negative impact. On the flip side, using your warm and friendly voice will allow you to employ additional Black Swan Negotiation 9® skills, including Calibrated Questions™ and encouragers.  Be that person that people want to talk to.

3. Tactical Empathy®

Tactical Empathy is the calibrated application of emotional intelligence. You can recognize your counterpart’s perspective, then (you must) vocalize that recognition to demonstrate you understand their position.

All humans desire to be heard and understood. You can cause pleasurable chemical changes in the brain by listening at a deep level.  Tactical Empathy does not mean you agree with them or even like them. Instead, you’re simply demonstrating that you understand their thoughts and feelings so well you can summarize them. It fulfills their desire to have another understand what the lay of the land looks like from their (the speaker’s) frame of reference. 

[INFOGRAPHIC] Download our infographic to learn the nine crucial negotiation  skills that will give you the edge over your counterpart »

4. Staying Curious

Why is your counterpart insistent on their position? Why did they make a particular statement? They no doubt have their reasons, but they aren’t always vocalized. How do we learn what these reasons are? Easy: By maintaining a curious mindset!

When you make the conversation about them—not you—you show true interest. The continued use of Tactical Empathy has you focusing on the motivation for the statement, question, or behavior of your counterpart.  Before freaking out about unexpected behavior or responding to a terrible statement or question, ask yourself, “Where is this coming from>  Why did he just say that?  Why did she just ask that?”   People will say things that they really don’t mean.  They will ask question A but really what the answer to question B (which they refuse to ask).  Through a Quick 2+1 and well-placed Calibrated Questions, the counterpart will reveal Black Swans, meaning the hidden messages behind their statements and actions.  

We also know that Black Swans don’t fly alone. When you find one, chances are there are more. By staying curious and keeping an open mind, you’ll find them! And you’ll get better business outcomes because of it.

Ready to Learn More Negotiation Techniques?

Negotiation is as much of a science as it is an art. By using proven negotiation techniques, you can develop trust-based influence and obtain better deals.

Now that you have some of these skills under your belt, it’s time to continue your learning. Download our free infographic, The Black Swan Group’s Negotiation 9™,  to learn about additional skills you can use to make it rain!


The Black Swan Group Negotiation 9