4 Tips to Communicating with Confidence

Welcome to the final part of the 3-part series on how to negotiate with confidence.


In the first article, we explored how being prepared before you negotiate, can increase your confidence. In part 2, we looked at how you can confidently negotiate if you understand the other party, including their communication, personality, and negotiating style. In this part 3, we look at how you can communicate with confidence by using not only verbal but also non-verbal communication to express your objectives and build rapport with the other party.


Tip 1: Gain Confidence with your Presence  

Communication consists mainly of non-verbal cues. Professor Albert Mehrabian of the University of California in Los Angeles found that words only take up 7% of our communication, tone takes up 38%, and physiology or non-verbal communication takes up 55%.
Even when you’re not talking, your physical presence silently communicates and creates a perception. What you think is being suggested by your actions and body language. If you’re nervous, annoyed, or even relaxed, this will be reflected in your body language.  But during a negotiation, you can use verbal and non-verbal cues to your advantage:


  • Personal power: You can create and emanate personal power and a sense that you are meant to be there by enhancing your posture; standing tall and erect; looking direct and talking slower and lower while deepening your voice.
  • Interest: You can show you’re interested in someone by leaning forward as they speak, or positioning your body so that everything is pointed towards them.
  • Let’s be friends: Friends usually stand next to one another. At a meeting, stand next to the person. This suggests collaboration rather than confrontation.
  • Smile: Smiling makes you appear more attractive, and makes you feel fabulous. It will also signal to the other person that you are friendly and willing to collaborate.
  • Changing pace: You can change your presence and the tone of the meeting by moving or deepening your voice. You can lighten the mood by telling a joke or by becoming animated.
  • Change of mind: You can also change someone’s presence, body language, and thoughts by interacting with them. If they have their arms crossed and look defensive, hand them something like a piece of paper, a business card, or a drink. They will need to release their arms to receive the item, which forces them to move their body positioning and may alter their defensive state and thought patterns.


Tip 2:  Create confidence through Rapport

People usually like to deal with people they like and who are similar to them. There is a natural tendency to like similar people, as you feel more relaxed and at ease, as there is something unconsciously familiar about them.  Being similar is being in rapport.  Rapport can be created by:
  • Modeling or copying the other person’s body language and communication style;
  • Mirroring by reflecting their posture and body language as if the person is looking into a mirror.
  • Replicating what people are saying including the words, the tone, and inflections in sentences (such as an upward or downward inflection at the end of a sentence) and the speed of speech and breathing rhythm.
  • If rapport has been achieved, you will feel a level of comfort with the other person and the negotiation is likely to be easier.


Tip 3: Create confidence through Language

Watch your own and the other person’s language styles closely. Language and the way people structure words speak volumes about how someone is feeling. Language can reveal assumptions, beliefs, and how people think and act, and can be used as an emotional tool during negotiations:
  • Generalization: People sometimes make generalizations of the information that they receive either by making incorrect assumptions or statements based on particular beliefs. An example of a generalizations is ‘everyone loves to negotiate’ or ‘it’s impossible to get staff to do things’. Although the statement might be true in some cases, it will not be accurate in all situations. If you notice this occurring during your negotiations, request further clarification of what is being said so that you can understand the basis for the generalization.
  • Blame: A person may, when they’re speaking, blame, or try to assert guilt or a sense of obligation by using the words ‘should’ or ‘must’. It is a technique that reflects that the person blaming is not comfortable and is trying to control the situation; criticize the other person or get the other person off guard .
  • Cause and effect: If a person uses words such as ‘if’, ‘then’, or ‘make’ they might be speaking in cause and effect and trading off one element of the transaction for another or trying to offer a compromise.
  • Distortions:  A person might distort the information that is being presented to reflect a particular argument. They might summarize the information and repeat the words that have been presented, but slightly change the meaning. For example, if the other party states that ‘you must take over all of the supply agreements in the business’, your response might be, ‘We’ll take over all of the supply agreements in the business that suits us’. It sounds similar. There is some agreement. You will take over all of the supply agreements, but only those at your election.
  • Deletions: Information might also be deleted so that the information reflects a particular argument. The facts about a specific situation relating to the business might be known, but omitted for example.  If this occurs, re-clarify facts and statements if necessary.
  • Control by presupposition: A person might also attempt to control the conversation by presupposing the situation as being true, even though the information that presupposes a particular scenario might not have previously been disclosed.  For example, asking, “Have you stopped buying from that person?” presumes that the other party has previously bought from that person.
  • Control by assumption: Alternatively, a person might jump to conclusions and make assumptions and infer a particular situation, although there might not be any information to suggest that outcome, the assumptions will generally highlight a bias or belief. ‘I bet you…’ is an example of an assumption.
  • Deductive reasoning: Have you ever been led into an argument and been left wondering how you agreed to something? You might have been subject to deductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning is a process where you take several true statements to form a conclusion. The information might be chunked up to a high level of abstraction and be so general that you agree to the initial statements. Then the statement is applied to another piece of information. Given that the former information is correct, the conclusion is naturally correct – or is it? An example of deductive reasoning is:

‘All businesses are risky’.
‘Emma and Abi have a flower shop’.
‘A flower shop is a business’.
‘Therefore, Emma and Abi’s flower shop is a risk’.
While deductive reasoning might have you agreeing to conclusions, be aware that deductive reasoning can be incorrect. In the above example, just because businesses are risky, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Emma and Abi’s flower shop is risky.

  • Presuppositions: A person might assume without any evidence the position of the other person.  For instance, you can position the status of the negotiations, by saying something like, ‘We agree that there is nothing else to be discussed’. It may be used to control the situation, but not adequately reflect the actual status.


Tip 4: Moving the transaction forward by Agreement

The negotiation process proceeds through various stages of agreement and disagreement. Generally, when people agree, the negotiation will progress forward.  But sometimes when you are at an impasse, you might need to agree to some element to move the deal forward:
  • Agree: Find elements of the conversation that you agree with and confirm what has been said by using positive words and statements, such as, ‘Yes I agree’, ‘understand’, ‘appreciate’, or ‘respect’.
  • Eliminate walls, build bridges: Eliminate words that build walls, such as ‘but’ or ‘however’ as they negate what you’ve previously said. Instead, use connecting words that build bridges, such as the word ‘and’.
  • No butting: When words such as ‘but’ and ‘however’ are used by the other party, note what is said following that word, as that phrase will disclose what they mean.
  • Minimize defenses: Eliminate any words that suggest negotiation, as that might put the other party in a defensive position.
  • Chunk up or down: To gain agreement, the information should be ‘chunked up’ or summarized or abstracted. More general information is likely to be agreed with.  A person will more readily agree with a generic statement like, “I think this boardroom will be large enough for us, don’t you?” (when there are only the two of you in the room negotiating) rather than, “I like the paneling on the walls, don’t you?” The latter statement is more specific and based on personal taste. The higher the information is ‘chunked up’, the more general it will be, and the greater the probability that agreement will be achieved.
  • Re-articulation: After a lot of information has been provided, chunking up and summarizing it will help clarify the main points and deal with overwhelm.
  • Sidestepping: There may be challenges to your position. Your position will be strengthened if you can rely on an example where the outcome reflects what you are trying to achieve. You might refer to a similar business that sold for a different price for example. Or you could challenge the other party by providing an industry standard, or strengthen your stance by relying on a principle that you or your team always rely upon (like ‘we always do it that way’).
  • Improvise: If the discussion becomes tense, never be afraid to request a break in the proceedings or if appropriate, lighten the negotiations with a joke or anything that can bring the relationship closer. Always be open to improvisation and provide an alternate proposal or be ready to walk away from the present negotiations.
  • Concessions: Concessions are trade-offs, which can be used as a means of exchange, which one party gives to the other to achieve an outcome.  Concessions should only be given grudgingly, with conditions attached to achieve something in return. For example, you may grudgingly agree to pay an additional $10,000 for the business, but only if the seller allows you to deal exclusively with the transaction during the due diligence process or provides an extended settlement period.

This strategy appeals to the other party’s sense of fairness and if done correctly, usually closes down an aspect of the negotiation.

  • Impasses and delays: Determine whether there are any timelines that the other party must meet. If the other party is pressured by time they might be amenable to concessions to the purchase price or terms of the sale so that the transaction is completed within their timeline. However, never agree to settle early if the Seller has not given you time for your due diligence, as the pressure to act, might be an excuse to hide certain elements of the business.
  • Lowest points and limits to negotiating: Be mindful that there are limits to the negotiation and ensure you act in alignment with your original objectives or make concessions only after considering them. If you are too agreeable to the other party’s demands, they might continue to push. Remind the other party of the concessions you’ve already provided to them and the limits of the negotiation. This will help the other party see that you are willing to make some sacrifices but will also set limits. Understand when the negotiation is not progressing; when you need more time to consider the proposal; and when to walk away.


Key takeaways:


Knowing how to communicate using verbal and non-verbal cues enables you to create an impression, and develop rapport and a connection with the other party. Communication can manage your state and shape the negotiations.  Use communication to confidently direct the negotiation to where you would like it to go. Mastering communication will enable you to negotiate with confidence.

4 Tips to Handling your opponent with Confidence



Welcome to part 2 of the 3-part series on how to negotiate with confidence.


In the last article, we explored how being prepared before you negotiate,  can increase your confidence.  Preparation enables you to understand the business and the environment it exists within, so you can make informed decisions to match your intended outcome. Preparation gives insight into the tactics that could occur during the meeting, and by preparing your mindset, it will help you manage your nerves, so you can function more effectively.


In part 2, we look at how you can negotiate with confidence by understanding the other party.


Tip 1:  Understand someone else’s objectives 

Negotiating aims to etch out a pathway to an agreement. While it’s ideal that the final agreement is a win-win for both parties, it won’t always be the case. People often fail to reach an agreement, because they do not understand what the other person’s objectives are, or they are unwilling to compromise on their objectives.


Understanding the other party’s objectives will highlight what is important to them, and which aspects they can’t do without.  Although each party’s objectives might be different, you might be able to structure the transaction to suit both parties.  To understand the other party’s objectives, you will need to slow down the process; listen and understand what is being said, gain rapport, and be open to consider alternatives.


Tip 2: Understand the other person’s representational systems 

Have you ever wondered why you don’t understand someone?  It could be because they are communicating with a different representational system or learning style than your own.

In 1920 Walter Burke Barbe explained that people learn by using their senses, with one of the senses usually being dominant over the others. The theory classified the learning styles as visual (learning through sight], auditory (learning through hearing), or kinaesthetic (learning through feeling). Neil D Fleming later added auditory digital (which is learning through reading and writing).


People usually relate more effectively if the information they receive is presented in their preferred style.


  • Visual: A primarily visual person, relates to visual cues. They’re interested in how things look, including appearances, and learn by seeing the material. When negotiating with someone who has a visual representational system, use visual words, associated with sight such as see, look, reveal, clear, view, show, crystal clear, and imagine. Use phrases, such as ‘can you see what I mean?’ and include in written material pictures, graphs, and diagrams.
  • Auditory: A person who is mainly auditory, relates to sound. They learn by listening and like to talk. They want to be told what to do and respond to hearing words such as listen, hear, silence, tune in, or heard, or phrases such as ‘Can you hear what I’m saying’. They will also respond to your tone of voice. So when negotiating, occasionally repeat what you have said,  or have the other party repeat your words, and use tone for emphasis.
  • Kinaesthetic: A person who is mainly kinaesthetic, relates to how they feel.  You can connect with someone who is kinaesthetic by using words associated with feeling, such as touch, feel, understand, or grasp, and use phrases associated with feeling, such as ‘yes, I understand’.  When presenting material, include images that evoke emotions. A kinaesthetic person might also want to physically touch or be involved in the task.
  • Auditory digital: A person who is predominantly auditory digital, appreciates steps and notes and is considered.  They learn by listening, reading, and taking notes, but might also display various other traits from the other representational systems. The words that they will respond to are, consider, motivate, process, and know. When dealing with an Auditory Digital person, you might also need to summarise key pieces of information on charts or with dot points.


If you understand how another person relates and negotiates in their style, it will enhance your communication, connection, and confidence.


Tip 3:  Understand the other person’s personality type 


Negotiation might also be difficult if you don’t relate to the other person’s personality type.  Personality is the combination of traits, including thoughts, behaviors, perceptions, and emotions.  Generally, there are four different personality types, although some people may reflect a combination of two or more of them.


  • Direct: A direct personality type communicates in short, sharp sentences. They don’t like a lot of detail and prefer information to be presented succinctly. They might appear aloof and will usually get to the point quickly. They will appear bored, impatient, and frustrated with small talk and long drawn-out negotiations and conversations.  An example of a person with a direct personality is Donald Trump. Direct personalities usually use direct assertive communication. When they negotiate, because of their assertive communication, they might appear powerful and controlled. If this person lacks charm, it might be difficult for them to create rapport, especially with other personality types. When dealing with this personality, don’t worry about making small talk – Keep to the point and be direct.
  • Sanguine: A sanguine personality type communicates light-heartedly. They may appear outgoing, bubbly, gregarious, easy-going, friendly, and relationship-orientated. They might appear to be disorganized and are often late. An example of a person with a sanguine personality is Richard Branson. When engaging with this personality, you will achieve a better connection, if you first work on building a relationship with them, before proceeding directly into the negotiation.
  • Phlegmatic: A person with a phlegmatic personality appears relaxed, calm, and quiet. In discussions, they might not become involved initially or make any comments. Don’t take this as them being uninterested, they are merely considering the information that has been presented before providing their ideas. The phlegmatic’s lack of response might make you feel nervous and might cause you to talk and provide additional information to fill in any silent gaps. This isn’t necessary and might end up with you providing too much information. Lady Diana had a phlegmatic personality.
  • Conscientious: A conscientious personality type (also described as melancholy) likes detail and facts and prefers planned rather than spontaneous behavior. They may be organized, efficient, and considered, and communicate by asking lots of questions. When speaking, they might find it hard to be direct and instead will provide you with a lot of detail. When dealing with this personality, provide them with a lot of information and allow them to ask questions.  But, to avoid getting lost in the details, chunk up the information, summarize the facts, and lead them back to the point of what is being discussed to move the discussion forward. Accountants, or people who appreciate detail, may have conscientious personality types.


Tip 4: Understand the other person’s negotiation style

People do not only have different personalities or communication or learning styles, but they might have different negotiation styles. Some people might try to accommodate your objectives or appear agreeable because they want to avoid conflict.  Others might compete and be aggressive.  Others might be indirect and avoid conflict. By recognizing how someone negotiates you can respond accordingly.  If you usually avoid conflict and have to deal with someone aggressive, for example, then perhaps you should take someone else to the meeting to assist with the negotiation.


Tip 5: Understand the other party’s beliefs and values 

People also behave according to their beliefs and values.

  • Beliefs: Beliefs are what someone holds as being true. If someone believes that they always win, they will negotiate differently from someone who thinks they never win.   If they believe they will win, their attitude, which is reflected in their beliefs, might be arrogant.
    The person with the belief that they will not be successful might justify that belief and discount their loss, with thoughts such as, ‘they didn’t proceed with the transaction as it was a high risk’ or ‘I didn’t want it anyway’.
  • Values: Generally, people will act following their hierarchy of values or what they deem as being most important to them. Understanding someone’s values is vital in understanding their motives and objectives, and enables you to build rapport by reflecting those values.


Someone who has a high value for business might spend more time on their business than with family. Perhaps their value is self-actualization and personal growth, which is more important to them than emotional security.   You can increase your connection with that person by acknowledging their achievements however, if you refer to their family it might not have the same emotional trigger for them.

Key takeaways: 


Negotiation aims to settle differences and find an agreement that is suitable for both parties.  However, quite often the parties might not reach an agreement and misunderstanding occurs because of the different personalities, communication, and negotiation styles.


A person’s objectives, values, and the way they relate through their style of learning, communication, and negotiation will provide key information that will help you understand their behavior and how to relate and negotiate with them, with confidence.

8 Preparation Tips to Negotiate with Confidence


Being in business provides many opportunities to negotiate. Negotiation aims to settle differences and achieve some sort of compromise or agreement. The process occurs through a combination of influential and persuasive techniques, communication, and strategy. Sometimes, the only way to get what you want is to negotiate – but negotiation can be stressful.


In this 3-part series, we explore how to negotiate with confidence.  One way to ensure that you can confidently negotiate is to prepare for the negotiation process. The more prepared you are, the more confidently you will be able to align the outcome of the negotiation to your objectives. So, if you are buying a business, what should you consider when preparing to negotiate?


Tip 1: Understand the business

You need to understand what you are dealing with, the potential of the business, and the environment the business operates within, which can be achieved by undertaking market research and gathering information about the business.


Market research enables you to identify trends and identify similar businesses so you can determine the perceived value of the business.  A SWOT analysis will help identify the strengths and weaknesses of the business and determine whether there are any market opportunities, competitors, and potential threats that will impact the viability of the business including whether there is a continuing demand for the product or service that is being supplied by the business. Knowledge of the market and the business will increase your bargaining position and enable you to construct an offer and determine whether any further information is needed before an offer can be made.


Tip 2:  Prepare your argument and ideal outcome

Being prepared means understanding your position and what you would like to achieve:   Consider your argument or presentation, including the questions that need to be answered; whether there is any other information that you need or changes that you would like to propose to the transaction. Your comparisons of similar businesses can be used to strengthen your argument. Also, consider whether there are any mitigating circumstances in the environment the business operates within, or in the business itself, which will likely impact the transaction and the value of the business.


Tip 3: Know what you would like your ideal outcome or objectives to be: 

Consider your objectives and your ideal outcome. Ensure you have an alternative position or some compromises that can be offered if the ideal outcome is not accepted. Also consider if your objectives are not met, at what point you would walk away from the transaction.


Tip 4: Understand the framework

It is helpful to have an idea of the scope and framework of the negotiation before the meeting.   Suggesting and preparing an agenda will enable you to explore what will be discussed. It will enable you to verify facts and the other party’s position. Once you are in the meeting, the agenda will be useful to keep the meeting on track.


Tip 5: Understand the location 

Believe it or not, where the meeting is held, has the ability to provide a competitive advantage.   It might be preferable to meet at your premises, as this will allow you to control the meeting and access any backup paperwork that might be required. If you concede to the other party’s demands by having the very first meeting at their premises, then you have lost the first negotiation, and it might put the other party into a stronger position by making them feel empowered and, on the day, more comfortable. Alternatively, you could meet at a neutral location, which will enable both parties to focus on the negotiation, rather than using the space to strengthen a particular party’s position.


Tip 6: Understand who will be at the meeting

Consider who will be present at the meeting. Calling the other party in advance of the meeting and asking who will be present at the meeting for the agenda will provide you with advanced knowledge of the number and quality of the attendees; their personality; motivations and style of communication and negotiation. This will help you prepare how you communicate and respond to them and enable you to match those people with people who are of the same caliber and who have a similar level of experience.


Tip 7:  Understand what might happen at the meeting


Also, be aware that the seating arrangements and the choice of the table being used at the meeting might impact on the negotiation:

  • Someone might sit at the head of the table, as a way to jostle for power and control of the meeting.
  • If the table is square or oblong and you sit opposite the other party, you might be perceived as being equal, but on the other hand, it might set the parties into opposing positions, ready for battle.
  • A round table softens the negotiation and allows, as a starting point, for equal representation.


Speaking for agreement:   

Aim to get some sort of agreement early in the negotiation.  You can have the other party agree to a general comment or something that is common knowledge. By obtaining an initial agreement, the negotiation will start positively, with each party subconsciously feeling that their needs might be met.


Tip 8:  Prepare your mindset 

You can prepare for negotiation by ensuring that, despite what is happening around you, you have the right mindset.  Your mindset will be the strength or an impediment to the transaction. A positive mindset will help you appear and feel confident, relaxed, and in control of the situation.

You can prepare your mindset in advance by doing the following:

  • Understand that the process of negotiation and asking for what you want is often unpredictable. The process might take longer than anticipated, and not everything will be smooth – there will likely be obstacles and surprises along the way, such as the tactics used by the other side which might take you off guard.  If you are stepping into an unfamiliar situation, you might feel nervous or fearful – but these feelings are normal, and knowing this will help you manage the process emotionally.
  • Assume from the beginning that you don’t know everything and there will be matters that need to be resolved. Adopt an inquiring mind.  Instead of accepting the information that you receive at face value, investigate that material.
  • Act consistently and direct your mind and the discussion to the outcome of what you would like to achieve.  Remain open but in alignment with your objectives. This will help direct your focus to achieving your objectives rather than reacting out of nerves.
  • Think that you want to solve any disparity between the parties. A solution-based mindset will provide the opportunity to think clearly and laterally. It will allow you to be flexible and come up with alternative proposals that might help traverse through any blocks.


Key takeaways:


In summary, you will be more confident when you prepare for the negotiation if you:

  1. Understand the business you are buying by completing research and comparing the business to existing businesses.  Examine whether you have everything about the business on which to make an informed offer or whether you need other information.
  2. Know your intended outcome and any compromises that you are willing to provide before you attend the meeting. This will ensure that you do not make rash emotional decisions and can confidently align with your objectives.
  3. Consider where you would like to meet the other party. The location of the meeting might provide an immediate strategic advantage, particularly if the location makes you feel comfortable or empowers you.
  4. Understand who will be at the meeting, and ensure you have a similar caliber of people attending the meeting on your behalf and have framed your argument to match the styles of the participants.
  5. Know what might happen at the meeting, including the framework of what will be discussed, where to sit, and what you can first say to obtain an agreement given these factors will likely have a bearing on the discussion and influence the power between the parties.
  6. Use your mindset to shape the outcome and help manage your nerves, so you can function more effectively.


The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be, and the more likely you will be able to influence the outcome as you will know what questions to ask, the information to source and refer to, what you want, and how to respond to any offer.

How do you measure success?

Measurement will ensure that you are progressing your goals towards success and may highlight the extent to which you have achieved those goals and what you need to improve to address those goals. So, what are 6 ways to measure success?


1. Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is the first measurement. The utility your customers derive from patronizing your
product or service should be the first way to measure if you are successful. If your customers offer good
feedback, that is an indication that you are succeeding.


2. Rate of attrition

Those who work for you are another way to measure success. Yes, no matter how juicy a pay package is, people will always want to leave a job for another job opportunity. However, if the rate at which your team members leave is alarming, it might result in stability issues which could in turn affect the quality of your product or service provision. If you are hiring for the same role repeatedly over a short period it may mean you need to examine your team and how satisfied they are with your organisation.


3. Setting KPIs

This is the most traditional way modern businesses use in measuring success. They set key performance indicators to gauge the level of work being done and the quality of the deliverables from those tasks. In that way, they know if the business goals are being achieved or not.


4. Profit making

Businesses are set up to make a profit regardless of the scale. After all products and services have been offered to your consumers, you can measure success by checking the profit the company has made after deducting all expenses from the revenue. The leftovers will determine if the business has been successful or not.


5. Compare yourself to your yesterday

Change is constant in life. Measuring how you were yesterday and comparing it with today will show you if you have been successful. And if you do not notice any change, then that is alarming.
When comparing your progress, avoid comparing yourself with others. Only compare your progress as it might highlight the need to innovate, pivot, and move to progress.


6. Market Share

The success of a business might depend on the number of markets it controls when compared with its
competition. A business whose market share is small cannot outrightly be declared as not being
successful, but it will not be able to compete with core competitors.

Measuring your success can help you know what you need to pay attention to and achieve more. Hence,
always try to measure your success through the ways stated in the preceding paragraphs.



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