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MORE PIES to negotiate better

They do look tasty
Image courtesy of Wix

In the world of negotiation, success often hinges on effective communication. But how do you ensure that your message is heard and understood?


Enter MORE PIES, a mnemonic device that offers a roadmap to navigate negotiations with finesse. And no, we don't mean sitting down with someone over a mince and cheese, or steak and kidney pie to get to yes.


Inspired by Scott Walker's insights in the March/April issue of HBR, MORE PIES encapsulates key strategies for fostering meaningful dialogue and reaching mutually beneficial agreements.


M - Minimal Encouragers: The journey begins with minimal encouragers – subtle cues that demonstrate active listening and empathy. From a simple "And..." to a thoughtful "Interesting," these responses invite the other party to share their perspective freely.


O - Open Questions: Next up, open questions serve as the gateway to uncovering the underlying issues and interests at play. By asking questions like "What is the real issue?" or "What has to happen for you to...?" you invite deeper exploration and clarity into the negotiation process.


R - Reflect Back: Mirroring the other party's words or key phrases demonstrates attentiveness and validates their perspective. Reflecting back not only fosters rapport but also ensures that both parties feel heard and understood.


E - Emotional Labelling: Name it to tame it – emotional labelling acknowledges and validates the other party's feelings. Statements like "It sounds like the money is important to you" or "I sense that you..." show empathy and create a conducive environment for productive discussion.


P - Paraphrasing: Translating the other party's message into your own words clarifies understanding and demonstrates active engagement. Paraphrasing allows you to ensure alignment and avoid misunderstandings.


I - "I" Statements: Expressing your feelings and concerns through "I" statements fosters transparency and authenticity. By articulating the impact of the situation on you, you create a space for genuine dialogue and problem-solving.


E - Effective Pauses: Silence speaks volumes. Effective pauses allow for reflection and processing, empowering both parties to articulate their thoughts and needs more clearly. Embrace the discomfort of silence and let it pave the way for deeper understanding.


S - Summarising: As the negotiation progresses, summarising the key points reinforces understanding and clarifies next steps. By repeating the other party's words, you demonstrate active listening and ensure alignment on key issues.


MORE PIES offers a comprehensive approach to negotiation that prioritises empathy, active listening, and clarity. By incorporating these strategies into your negotiation toolkit, you can navigate conversations with confidence and achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.


So, next time you find yourself at the negotiation table, remember to serve up MORE PIES – and don't forget to ask yourself: WAIT, why am I talking?

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