Maybe it’s my Italian-American heritage, maybe it’s the fact that I grew up on the streets of New York, maybe it’s something I picked up during my years as a cop and then a negotiator, but my normal speaking voice is very what you might call expressive. It goes up, it goes down, it goes all around. A regular audio show, my voice.
Do I use that when I’m talking? You betcha. The emotion in my voice—my enthusiasm, my empathy, my disbelief—they all underline what I’m saying. They’re part of my personality when I’m talking, and they help me convey a sense of trust and build a rapport with the person on the other side of the negotiation.
I didn’t consciously set out to develop a voice when I became a negotiator. It was already there. What I did do was realize that my voice modulated, and then trained myself to pay attention to what it said—the emotion beyond the content.
What was that slogan?
Know thyself? To thine ownself be true?
Takes one to know one?
A negotiator should know him- or herself. He should know how his voice sounds, and how her eyes reveal anger. Listen and watch yourself in action. Use the mirror, use videotape, use the shower if you have to—if you don’t know what tools you have, you’re not using them.