Ask Powerful Questions

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Asking powerful questions is a strategy that will keep you in the power position during a negotiation. Knowing the right questions to ask prior to the negotiation is part of the preparation process for negotiations. Having a few power questions in your arsenal is advisable whether the negotiation is for a contract worth over 100 million dollars or getting your kids to take out the trash.
Let’s start with the kids famous “I don’t know” answer to many questions we as parents ask. I am sure anyone who has children has heard this phrase from your kids. The best powerful question to ask when you get an “I don’t know” answer is “If you did know, what would the answer be?” Warning when using this, be prepared to get it used on you one day in the future. My son took the opportunity to turn this around on me on a few occasions with an added “got ya” smirk on his face!

Attorneys train on how to ask powerful questions when in court with a witness. The police ask powerful questions during interrogation to solve the case. Asking powerful questions requires some research into people’s behavior and how they respond to various situations.


Here are a few great questions to ask during a negation to help you get more information to fuel your strategy:

• Would you explain the reasons for your position?
• Why is that important to you or your company?
• Is there anything else that you think I should know?
• What would you do if you were me?
• What do we need to do to reach an agreement?
• What can I do to help you?
• How did you arrive at those numbers?
• What are your priorities?
• Why do you think this is a fair and reasonable price/proposal/condition?
• What part of my proposal gives you the most concern?

There are numerous powerful questions you can ask. These are just a few examples. Be sure to listen closely to the answers. The responses will help you adjust your strategy and get more leverage for your side of the negotiation.

Happy Negotiating!

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

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