What is the best way to get what you want out of a negotiation? Would aggression work, or maybe compassion? What else?
Well, the answer is actually “calibrated questions.”
Let us explain:
Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes by asking questions doesn’t just expand your view about them because of their answers. Asking questions allows people to open up and be more vulnerable to your asks inside negotiations. Key points to remember: Ask them questions that cannot be answered by a simple yes or no. Make them talk. Get excited about their responses. Building authentic listening helps the other party to establish a connection with you and makes them learn that you genuinely care about a positive experience while working with them.
So what are open-ended calibrated questions?
These are questions structured around “how” and “what.” They force the other party to think about things from a more holistic point of view. When you make the other party the center of the negotiation, this makes them see things from their perspective but still lets them maintain a sense of autonomy.
Here’s a list of 21 open-ended calibrated questions and why we recommend them:
1. What would you like for me to know?
By asking someone what they think you should know first, you invite them to rethink their own needs and draw a map for you. Staying curious about immediate fires in this person’s life demonstrates empathy and allows you to strategize where you put the water, (or acknowledgment of their pain), in the conversation.
2. How can I support you to make this different or better?
This question shows that you care about helping without pushing towards a single solution or your own opinions about their circumstances. By adding an element of compassion and care right away, you are showing this person you are invested in them and their happiness.
3. What can you do about this?
Asking this makes them rethink the expectations they have of themselves.
Consider the Serenity Prayer, often used by Alcoholics Anonymous and other therapy-related groups. “Help me to control the things I can and let go of the things I can’t” are the ringing lines that can echo in this question during a conversation.
4. Help me understand your thought process.
Make them use logic towards their demands. Invite them to judge their position. Ask them to walk you through how they arrived at their conclusions so that you can shed light on things they may have missed along the journey.
5. What are the reasons you cannot do this?
This question is great when the other party turns you down a solution centered proposal. Asking this makes it clear that you will not buy into shallow excuses, and more often than not, they will fail to come up with a legitimate answer.
6. How do you justify your reasons?
Building upon the last question, if they give you a reason not to accept your demand, ask this question. Add meat to your queries and rephrase them if needed.
7. What about this circumstance matters to you?
Beam encouragement from your eyes like a floodlight to anyone sharing why things matter to them
. People want to be listened to, and they overwhelmingly want to make a difference in the world.
8. What is the next step to take?
Help model outcomes by asking where different thought patterns could lead. You’ll be empowering their brainstorming process, which encourages people to dream.
9. How can we solve this problem?
Putting them in the driving seat helps you understand their expectations from you. You can then see whether or not these expectations are negotiable.
10. What about this is a challenge for you?
This makes the other party think about why they can or cannot come round to your proposal. If they share with you the challenges they see, you can help to solve them and then negotiate on your terms.
11. How does this fit into your long term goal for the project or business?
These questions make the other party take a step back and reevaluate the problem again on a macro scale.
12. What makes you ask this question?
We’ve all heard it, “the question behind the question is most important.” That’s precisely what this question is. By asking this question, you can understand their approach better.
13. How do we know you are on board?
This question makes them steadfast on their answer and increases your chance of winning the negotiation.
14. When can we get this done?
It allows you to understand their limitations and instills a sense of urgency and punctuality on their end. Try sticking to a date and time for outcomes and hold them to it.
15. What is the highest priority here?
Help them, and you understand what it is that they will not give up. It will help you mold your strategy to a potential needs analysis.
16. Why do you think your solution is fair?
By making the other party defend their claims or proposal, you again take control in your hand. If they cannot prove that their idea is fair to all parties involved, you can renegotiate or pick back up on your brainstorm.
17. What part of my proposal gives you the most concern?
Make them tell you about the demand of yours that they will never accept so you can start focusing on other things to get the best possible deal.
18. What proof do you have to validate your position?
By asking for proof, you can make sure whether or not they are bluffing. If they cannot offer evidence, you can be persistent with your demands. This is a common political tactic – watch the next debate and see many requests for proof from candidates, and even from the audience.
19. What else would you like for me to know?
This question helps you understand all the necessary details and makes sure that you didn’t miss out on anything important.
20. How can we work things out?
Give them apparent control, make them lead the negotiation or problem-solving charge, and understand what they expect. When you’re negotiating a sale, you can use this feedback to sweeten the pot or sell your product with their own words.
21. How do we finalize the plan?
Unless things are done in ink and paper (per se) you can never be sure about the outcome of the negotiation. So try to get things official by asking for a signature, a proposal recapping the agreement, or a check.
Using open-ended calibrated questions is a tried and tested technique by negotiators. These questions have led to successful negotiations in high-pressure situations for business or even life and death situations. So the next time you want to win in a negotiation, or problem-solve with someone close to you, use this technique. Don’t be afraid to ask the same question a few different ways if you don’t get the answer, and you need to move forward.
Well, there you have it, 21 calibrated questions to help you come out victorious from a negotiation. Good luck, and be sure to use them wisely.
Follow our blog or join our Mentorship group for more tips & tricks.
37 thoughts on “21 open-ended calibrated questions”
I got what you intend,bookmarked, very nice website. Lotta Isidor Burley
Some truly nice and useful info on this website, as well I believe the style has fantastic features. Jean Syd Keary
I believe other website owners should take this site as an example, very clean and superb user genial style and design. Kissiah Jesse Krissy
Terrific article. I am just expecting a lot more. You happen to be this kind of good creator. Nessa Davey Grati
Some truly select blog posts on this site, saved to bookmarks . Dulcine Alfredo Ridinger
There is definately a lot to know about this topic. I love all of the points you have made. Katina Edik Budd
Thank you ever so for you article post. Thanks Again. Really Cool. Dorolisa William Melinde
Say, you got a nice blog. Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic. Natassia Winny Lobell
Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful article. Many thanks for supplying these details. Carey Eben Cassiani
You made some clear points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will go along with with your blog. Shayla Frannie Mitchell
Really enjoyed this blog. Thanks Again. Keep writing. Virginie Murray Sweyn
There is definately a great deal to find out about this issue. I love all of the points you made. Terra Dill Shifrah
I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. Genna Russell Niko
There may be noticeably a bundle to learn about this. I assume you made certain good points in features also. Tate Wainwright Sheaff
I am truly grateful to the holder of this website who has shared this fantastic paragraph at at this time. Josi Raynor Kameko
Simply wanna input that you have a very nice website , I the style it really stands out. Lona Randi Hadwin
I blog quite often and I really appreciate your content. This great article has trly peaked my interest. Berti Nevile Lowis
Everyone loves it when individuals get together and share thoughts. Great blog, keep it up. Carlynne Henri Gaivn
whoah this blog is fantastic i like studying your articles. Stay up the good work! You realize, a lot of individuals are looking around for this information, you could aid them greatly. | Maybelle Grace Odetta
I read a great article with pleasure, I hope it will continue Gillan Nahum Cordula
After checking out a few of the blog posts on your web site, I seriously appreciate your way of blogging. I saved it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my web site as well and let me know what you think. Corabelle Tedie Nicolau
Can I simply just say what a relief to find somebody that genuinely knows what they are talking about online. You actually understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people ought to read this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you are not more popular because you most certainly have the gift. Jasmina Aluin Cock
Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article! Ernestine Hamlen Eimile
Awesome post. I am a regular visitor of your blog and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the excellent site. I will be a regular visitor for a long time. Fawne Elden Lochner
Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic blog. Thanks Again. Great. Nikolia Grange Helena
Hi there, all the time i used to check blog posts here early in the daylight, since i enjoy to learn more and more. Lira Ware Hakim
I needed to write you that tiny observation to help say thank you over again for your extraordinary tips you have shared above. It has been quite surprisingly open-handed of people like you to convey freely what exactly a lot of people could have advertised as an e-book to help with making some money on their own, particularly since you could possibly have tried it if you ever desired. These good ideas as well worked like the good way to realize that some people have similar desire just as my very own to know the truth more when it comes to this problem. I know there are numerous more fun occasions in the future for many who read your site. Nancy Friedrich Luwana
I have recently started a blog, the info you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time & work. Jeanette Skyler Meakem
Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative.
I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this
in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing.
Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to produce a really good article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and
don’t seem to get nearly anything done.
Hi i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere, when i read this paragraph i thought i could also make
comment due to this good post.
Thanks for another informative blog. The place else may just I get that type
of info written in such an ideal method? I have a undertaking
that I am simply now running on, and I’ve been on the
glance out for such info.
I simply couldn’t go away your website prior to suggesting that I really
enjoyed the standard information an individual supply to your guests?
Is gonna be back steadily in order to inspect new
Somebody essentially help to make seriously articles I might
state. This is the very first time I frequented your website page and to this point?
I surprised with the research you made to create this particular put
up incredible. Magnificent activity!
Truly no matter if someone doesn’t be aware of afterward its up to other visitors that they will help, so here it occurs.
Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. But imagine if you added
some great pictures or video clips to give your posts
more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and clips, this blog could certainly be one of the most beneficial in its niche.
Thanks very interesting blog!