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How to prepare the perfect response

Conversation JudoAre you preparing to fail? Think about your next negotiation. What are you planning to ask for? And what do you think they’re going to say?

You know the form; you’ve had these conversations before. There are probably no more than a handful of predictable challenges they will throw at you. So why would you wait for the hammer to fall before you think of the perfect response?

Control the conversation and you control the deal.

You know what they’re likely to say and you know the outcome you want from the conversation. The perfect response is one that addresses their question square on, but also moves the conversation towards the outcome you want to achieve. Here’s how to prepare:

Outcome: First,be clear on the outcomes you want. How do you want them to feel? What do you want them to think when they leave the room? What do you want to agree while you’re in there?

Challenge: Write down the top three or four challenges they’re likely to throw at you. For each point you make, how are they likely to react?

Response:Prepare your responses: The natural instinct is to refute, react and debate a challenge. Don’t. That just gives away control. Instead, take their challenge and redirect its energy toward achieving your outcomes. This is “conversation judo”. It gives you control, and it’s at its most powerful when it’s done with a question.

For example:

Objective: To get them to buy into your next big activity

Predictable challenge: “Your last big activity failed”

React: “It didn’t get enough support from you”

Deflect: “There were specific reasons that we think we can fix”

Judo: “What do you think we both need to do differently to make this one a success”

BOTTOM LINE: A “Judo” response takes minutes to prepare and has a dramatic impact on both the conversation, and the deal that results. It’s simply remiss of any negotiator worth their salt not to have one ready.

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