“The telephone is probably the most treacherous device ever created, at least for negotiation.”
Interruption is deadly
Interruption disrupts the flow of conversation. The other side may keep excusing himself to talk to someone who just walk in. This is because people tend to give more priority to people who just walk in than those on the phone. If this is the case, you will have to tell him ‘Call me when you are ready. How’s 3 pm today?’
Some Facts about Telephone Meeting
- People tend not to negotiate for long on telephone.
- Telephone is a great distracting device. When most people receive a call, they drop everything they are doing because they believe that most calls are important.
- There is no face-to-face nor body language. If you’d like to get ‘no’, use telephone.
- You can’t show the document to the other side over the phone.
Be the caller
When you call someone, that person might be doing something. It is very likely that the other side would not be prepared. So callers usually have advantage.
Prepare a written agenda before you make a call. Prioritize them, and go through them during a call.
If Someone calls you
Just listen and make note. Try to do just one-way communication. Ask for clarification. But, do not start meaningful negotiation. Tell the other side that you are not ready, and you will call them back.
People tend to forget things during a phone call. So when you call back, you can remove the issue that you do not want to talk about. If that is not a very big issue for the other side, they won’t talk about it again.
You’d never know who’s listening and who’s taking control. You have to play defense. On the other hand, the other side would not know who are with you. So, you may prepare a mime team which scribbles what you should say to the other side.
To Become an Expert in Telephone Negotiation
- Learn to listen and listen intently. Take note with details such as date, time people. Create a checklist for the next meeting. File your notes in an organized manner.
- Stop talking for a while and the other side will talk more. You might get useful information from the other side.
“If you want to drive somebody crazy in a telephone negotiation, don’t say anything for a few minutes. Before long, the other side will get frantic and say ‘Are you still there? Did we get disconnected? Can you hear me alright?’, or something akin to that.”
- Ask for the purposes of the call. Then go through them one by one
- Always make the checklist or written agenda for each call.
- Take detailed notes. It is very important because the other side might not remember the conversation. So you need as much information as you have to remind the other side of what has been agreed and what has not been agreed. And, file the note immediately after the call. Otherwise you will forget about it.
- Set a ‘quiet hour’ where you can make important call without interruption.
- Have all documents ready before making a call
- Send a follow-up letter to confirm what was decided, what remains, what is the deadline. You would have advantage, since most people tend not to challenge follow-up letters.
Email’s Rules of Thumb
Email leaves paper trails. So people are more serious about email than telephone. Here are important points about email.
- Make the first impression. Spell check. Check for grammar and punctuation.
- Always provide sufficient explanation. Email doesn’t get benefits of tone and body language. So the other side may not know what your intention actually is. Providing ample explanation can be substitute of tone and body language.
- Always do the follow-up.
Book or Audiobooks?
Personally, I prefer audiobooks. It's fun, and I can listen when I'm doing something else. It also makes other activities (e.g., jogging) a lot more fun. For more detail about audiobooks, please read [this post].
There is one more reason that may encourage you to go for the audiobook version. You can get it now for FREE. Audible offers you a free trial for 14 days. Even if you get the book and cancel the subscription right away (so that you don't have to pay), you can keep the book. And, don't worry if you lost the audiobook file. Just log into audible.com. You can keep downloading the over and over again.
However, when the material is an audiobook, it is extremely hard to locate a specific part of content. Most likely you will have to listen to the entire audiobook once again.
This book summary will help solve the pain of having to go through the book all over again.
I am leaving out the details of the books. Most books have interesting examples and case studies, not included here. Reading the original book would be much more entertaining and enlightening. If you like the summary, you may want to get the original from the source below.