14 Tips for Negotiating Successfully – Tip#11 Speak up! Silence could be taken as acquiescence

There’s actually two parts to this point.

First, you should speak up at the right time when in negotiations.

If you don’t hear from the other side, follow up. If you disagree with what they’ve said or if the other party appears to have changed their stance, don’t keep quiet. Acknowledge it and deal with it. When dealing in a negotiation setting or with people you are unfamilar with, it might seem easy and comforting to defer to the other side, to keep quiet or to just let things roll by. Eventually, you hope things might sort themselves out. It’s a possibility, no doubt, but you should certainly not bet on it.

It wasn’t until I read law that I understood the impact of silence. Silence in most situations could be just that and nothing more. However, within a legal context (and any negotiation could potentially result in legalities at some point, if not for conflict resolution, then certainly for solidifying the deal), silence could be taken as acquiescence or compliance. Read in this light, this could have serious consequences depending on the level of formality and complexity involved and what’s been agreed upon.

When is the right time? Usually, at the point it appears to get sticky. When it looks somewhat difficult or challenging, when you have a desire to put it off to another time, that is usually the point at which you need to do that which you are uncomfortable with.

Second, speaking up is also about the power that lies within. In life, you will find that most of your challenges are mental as opposed to physical and in managing through this, you call to the power within. Speaking up calls to that power also.

If you choose :

  • not to speak up, 
  • not to decide,
  • to defer judgement/decision/thought to a later point,

these are instances of you giving your power away. And when you give your power away, then you have no chance to make decisions.

One of the most profound realisations I have come to is to understand that while you do not always get to control the situation or the players, you certainly can control your reaction and your decisions. And it’s true that at times, you may not like the decisions you can make but you can still make decisions.

This is critical.

This simple understanding – that you should speak up, speak up at the right time and claim your power to decide needs to be at the forefront of your mind when negotiating.

When negotiating, you do not expect the other party :

  • to read your mind;
  • to give you what you want without a fight;
  • to pander to your whims and desires;
  • to prioritise your end goal.

These are for you to act on and make clear.

Most importantly, do not limit yourself in terms of how you think the situation presents itself/may present itself. Let it unfold before you. While you do need to think a few steps ahead, do not let the myriad possibilities affect your decision making. Ultimately, your decisions should be based on what’s before you or you risk acting on assumption or supposition.

Next : Tip #12 Failure is part of this journey – embrace it.

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About rowena morais

Media Communications and Editorial Specialist. With my strong professional network of contacts, I help individuals and organisations, particularly those within Human Resource and Technology, strengthen their skill-base and brand through compelling writing, beautiful design, content marketing and publishing. Let's talk.

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