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Techniques Of Negotiation For Change Management – Voice

Techniques of Negotiation for Change Management – Voice

We started off our series on The Art of Negotiation in Change Management and how we can employ these techniques into our change management strategies on last week’s blog. 

As we continue to unpack this, we’ll look at how to successfully integrate these techniques into our approach. We’ll start to unpack a series of useful techniques when using negotiation skills, the first of these being ‘Voice’.

Negotiating can be complex and we need to again reiterate that we’re looking to focus on, and draw inspiration only from it’s positive benefits to ensure a mutually beneficial outcome for all parties. 

Achieving an optimal outcome in a negotiation requires a positive, collaborative mindset, but it also requires a certain set of skills. Some would say that the most important of these skills is the way you use your voice, how your tone impacts on the conversation, how it is perceived both positively and negatively, and whether or not you’re deliberately using a particular tone of voice. These factors will all directly affect the ability to come to any kind of amicable resolution irrespective of what it is you are saying. 

Around the negotiation table, according to Chris Voss, there are 3 main tones of voice that people use:

1. Assertive

This voice is declarative, straight up and delivered like a punch in the nose, and is incredibly counterproductive.


This voice is the bearer of truths and delivered gently. It promotes collaboration. This is the tone we should strive to uphold in these discussions to allow a sense of comfort and also to reassure the other party that the purpose for the discussion is to reach an amicable resolution and not cause or further compound any points of tension or conflict.

3.Late Night FM DJ

This voice is usually straightforward and soothing and probably only best used when there are points of the negotiation that are not negotiable or immovable. It is important to identify when it is appropriate to use this tone and should not be presented in a superficial manner. Rather we’re wanting to enforce calm as discussions revolve around talking points that cannot, for whatever justifiable reason, not be negotiated. 


In addition to these tones, it is essential to master these two inflections:


Speak with an upward inflection when asking questions, but be sure that this is delivered as a genuine curiosity and interest in the other parties point of view. This should become a default inflection. 


Speak with a downward inflection when you’re needing to state facts, but again be mindful of the tone used when presenting these statements. You never want to introduce any kind of hostility into the negotiation.

The voice is a tool that can be used to establish and set good intentions when entering into a negotiation, and is particularly useful in discussions around Change Management. As you embark on journeys of transformation, you will be met with resistance. It is in these moments where the use of voice in conversation can create confidence and comfort in those who are resisting change. 

Maintaining a voice that inspires confidence, authenticity and displays a genuine interest can go a long way in developing a communications plan that is that much closer to building a trust based relationship with all stakeholders of the transformation. 

Come back again next week as we look at the technique of ‘Mirroring’ in negotiation.

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