I was recently asked by a friend to critique a negotiator she was considering for hire for her firm. She inquired into exactly how I would evaluate this person's negotiation workshop talents.
She wanted to know if I was going to test his knowledge about negotiation workshop strategies and tactics. I responded by saying, no. I told her, I would have a general conversation with him and observe his reactions and responses. She then asked how I would be able to evaluate him based on that criterion.
She asked why I was not going to test him by creating an elaborate negotiation workshop. I told her, there are several traits that savvy negotiators have. She asked what those traits are and I replied�
1. A good negotiation workshop requires being a good listener. In particular, she needs to possess the capability of being able to hear the unspoken word and be able to interpret that unspoken word to determine what was not said, and the meaning of it. I went on to further explain, anyone that listens intently can discern the meaning of the spoken word.
It takes special, and some would say 'exceptional', skills to be able to determine what is on someone's mind without them disclosing it to you. Listening for the unspoken word entails observing how someone conveys their intent and reading their body language (tone of voice, eye movement, body movements, etc).
2. A negotiation workshop requires being able to interpret body language with a high degree of accuracy. He knows, just because someone has their arms crossed does not necessarily mean they're 'closed' or reserved.
A savvy negotiator understands that he has to look at body language gestures in clusters. By that I mean, he must first get a baseline of the body language gestures of the person he'll be dealing with in a negotiation workshop with to determine how that person uses nonverbal signals (body language) to communicate.
The savvy negotiator instinctively knows that the body doesn't lie and thus when someone tells a lie, the body will 'do things' to compensate for the lie. It's the detection of the 'things' the body does that allows the savvy negotiator to gain insight into the real intent of the person delivering negotiation workshop.
3. A negotiation workshop leader has to know how to go about gathering background information. Before entering into a negotiation session, a savvy negotiator will compile a dossier on the person with whom she'll be dealing with in a negotiation workshop.
You can easily discern the capabilities of a savvy negotiator, if you take a short period of time to talk with her. If she constantly interrupts you, most likely she will miss vital information during a negotiation workshop. If on the other hand, she listens to you very intently when you speak, builds rapport, paraphrases what she perceives to be your intent, more than not, she will be a savvy negotiator.
Of course there's a whole lot more that goes into a good leader of a negotiation workshop, but all things being equal, the person with the latter traits will reach more successful negotiation outcomes ... and everything will be right with the world.