Friday, April 8, 2011

Communication - Types of questions

Types of Questions.

There are a number of different types of questions you can ask during a negotiation and to be a good negotiator you need to understand what questions to ask and when to use the different types of questions.
  • There are closed ended questions that require a simple yes or no. You only ask these when you know what the answer will be. If the response can be what you don’t want, don’t use them.
  • There can be leading questions with answers you already know. One question I may ask is what the Supplier would agree to what they are asking the Buyer to agree to for their own purchases?
  • There can be questions about what, why or how? If you understand what they do, why they do it and how they do it, you should be able to understand the reasons for potential concerns.
  • There can be questions to uncover facts, objectives, values, evidence, causes to understand positions. If you understand why they have a position, you can take steps to work around and solve the problem rather than focus strictly on positions.
  • There are questions to uncover obstacles to agreement and the underlying issues or problems that need to be solved. I understand your position; can you tell me the specific issue or problem you are trying to address?
  • There are questions to clarify or be more precise. You use these types of questions whenever you reach agreement to make sure that there is understanding about what was agreement.
  • There can be questions requesting feedback. A good example of this is to say “you obviously have run into this issue with other customers, how do you resolve it with them?
  • There are questions to help manage the responsiveness or flow of the negotiation. For example you can ask them if they need additional resources to respond or if you need to explain the issue to someone else in their company.
  • There are “what if” questions. You use what if questions to explore potential options without proposing the option.

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