Telephone Negotiations

By Mark Jankowski

In our seminars, we are often asked how to be more effective while negotiating over the telephone.  Being prepared is a key element in any negotiation.  For instance, if you were heading into a three-hour negotiation session, you would have likely spent the prior day assembling materials and creating an agenda.  At the very least, you would have had an opportunity to gather your thoughts on the way to the meeting.

The problem with telephone negotiations is that sometimes you can be caught off guard.  It is possible that you may be completely involved in another matter when the other side calls to engage you in a negotiation session.  You can assume that they have had the opportunity to prepare and have all the pertinent material in front of them.  Far too often the tendency is to “wing-it” and enter into the telephone negotiation without any preparation.  We strongly suggest that you resist the temptation and try the following:

  1. If you do not have the materials you need on hand, ask the other side to hold for a few minutes while you gather those materials (and your thoughts).
  2. If you need more preparation time, do not hesitate to tell the other side that you are unable to speak at the moment and set up a later time when you will both be free.

By giving yourself time to prepare, you will make your phone negotiations much more effective.

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