Whether you're renegotiating your rent, asking for a raise, or deliberating with your partner, you want to start every negotiation the same way: "With a good opening question," says Chris Voss, former lead international kidnapping negotiator for the FBI.
You want to ask calibrated, open-ended questions, Voss explains in his book, "Never Split the Difference," since "they allow you to introduce ideas and requests without sounding overbearing or pushy."
"Calibrated questions avoid verbs or words like 'can,' 'is,' 'are,' 'do,' or 'does,'" he continues. "These are closed-ended questions that can be answered with a simple 'yes' or a 'no.'"
Instead, start with "what" or "how." These two words can calibrate pretty much any question, he explains: "'Does this look like something you would like?' can become 'How does this look to you?' or 'What about this works for you?'"