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I was writing a few slides for a training programme on negotiation skills yesterday when I was reminded of a key lesson a mentor from a previous organisation taught me.


We were on a call with a supplier, who was dominating the airwaves and feeding some half-truths into the discussion.


I was getting more and more frustrated by how things were developing so decided to interrupt and get the conversation back to the facts. As I saw them, at least.


As I started to interject my mentor reached across and bashed me in the face. There was an awful din as the handset smashed into my mouth and the whole call stopped. I was in shock but as I had started to speak I had to quickly offer my apologies and ask the supplier to carry on.


We finished the call and the negotiation reached a very positive conclusion for my organisation.


Afterwards, my mentor took me to one side and offered me the first golden rule in negotiations,


“Don’t interrupt, you never know what they might say next.”


Most people don’t like silence and will do almost anything to fill it. It might be a piece of information that you can use in the negotiation. It might even be an offer beyond your expectations.


If you interrupt you will never know.


This post is part of my 60 day blog challenge.