Steps for an Effective Negotiation: Opening the Meeting

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Opening the meeting is the first thing you need to do when you want to negotiate with someone. This is a series of statements in which you introduce yourself to the staff member, ask for a few moments of their time, and thank them for their attention.

These skills seem very self-evident and “it goes without saying,” but these simple steps are frequently overlooked. Following these courtesies makes it clear that you are considerate and deserve the other person’s attention can be broken down into four steps:

  • Provide a Greeting
  • Introduce Yourself
  • Statement of Appreciation
  • Mention the Referring Person

Opening the Meeting: Provide a Greeting

  • The first step when opening the meeting is to provide a greeting. This consists of stating the staff person’s name and some sort of appropriate greeting.
  • Effective examples:
    • “Hello, Ms. Thomas”
    • “Hi, Dr. Summers”
    • “Good Morning, Dr. White”
    • “Good Afternoon, Ms. Dressler”
  • Non-effective examples:
    • “Hey Bro, what’s up?” (This is too casual.)
    • “Yeah, I have a meeting with you.” (This statement is also too casual and does not state the staff person’s name.)

Providing a greeting is important because:

  • It is good practice to act professionally and to state the other person’s name when you meet with them.
  • A good first impression is important for developing a strong relationship and will strengthen the staff member’s desire to help you.

Opening the Meeting: Introducing Yourself

The next step when opening the meeting is introduce yourself. When introducing yourself you want to make a statement that identifies who you are by including your first name, last name, and any other relevant information that you feel helps the staff member identify you.

  • Effective examples:
    • “My Name is Mary Jones, and I am a student in your Monday, Wednesday, and Friday History class.”
    • “I am Jeffrey Gordon, and I am currently enrolled in your Introduction to Psychology Course.”
    • “I am Margret Larson and I live in the Scholarship Halls on campus.”
  • Non-effective examples:
    • “I am a student here.” (This statement does not include your name and identifying information.)
    • “My name is Jon. I need to speak with you now.” (This statement does not provide your full name and is too demanding in requesting the person’s time immediately.)

It is important to introduce yourself because:

  • It is good manners to introduce yourself to the staff member so that they know who you are.
  • You should not assume the staff member remembers you. They may meet with multiple students during the day so any identifying information you could keep them from feeling embarrassed if they can’t recall your name.

Opening the Meeting: Statement of Appreciation

  • The third step when opening the meeting is making a statement of appreciation. A statement of appreciation is a positive statement that lets the staff member know you appreciate them making time to meet with you.
  • Effective examples:
    • “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
    • “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.”
    • “I appreciate this opportunity to meet with you.”
  • Non-effective examples:
    • “I’ve been waiting for hours.” (Not good to begin with a complaint.)
    • “Your office is very cold.” (Also a complaint.)

Stating your appreciation is important because:

  • It shows you are courteous and professional.
  • It also shows the staff member that you understand their time is limited and that this meeting is important and worth their time.

Opening the Meeting: Mention the Referring Person

  • The last step when opening the meeting is to mention the referring person, if applicable. Mentioning the referring person includes stating who recommended that you meet with the staff member, and who they are on campus. If you and the staff member already know each other, or if nobody suggested you should talk to the person, then obviously, you don’t need this step.
  • Effective examples:
    • “Ms. Jacobs from the financial aid center suggested that I talk with you.”
    • “I was talking with Mr. Cannon at the Center on Developmental Disabilities. He suggested that I contact you.”
    • “I was talking with Dr. White at the Math Help room. He said that you would be able to help me with my exams.”
  • Non-effective examples:
    • “Somebody upstairs sent me down.” (This is not specific.)
    • “The blonde in the registrar’s office told me to come here.” (This is disrespectful and non-specific.)

Mentioning the referring person is important because:

  • It provides the staff member with information about who you have already met with and under what conditions.
  • This will help them to better understand why you wanted to arrange this meeting.