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From the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School:
Contrary to popular belief, active listening doesn’t mean sitting patiently while your counterpart talks. Nor does it simply entail saying “I understand” or establishing good eye contact. Rather, active listening is a dynamic process that can be broken down into three different behaviors: paraphrasing, inquiry, and acknowledgment.
Here’s how you might respond using the three aspects of active listening:
• Paraphrase: “It sounds as if you’re satisfied with our component overall. But if I understand correctly, you need me to assure you that we can increase production if large orders come in. You’re also concerned about our proposed per-unit price and our willingness to work with you to create an acceptable arrangement. Have I captured your main points?”
• Inquire: “You mentioned that you found our proposed price to be unacceptable. Help me understand how you came to this conclusion. Let’s also talk about how we might set up a pricing structure that you find more reasonable.”
• Acknowledge: “It sounds as if you’re quite disappointed with various elements of our proposal, so much so that you have serious concerns about whether we’ll be able to work together over the long haul.”
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