There comes a time in almost every negotiation where we may get a counterpart that is trying to influence our decisions by making an ultimatum type offer (take X or this bad thing is going to happen to you). Sometimes it may be something they say out of desperation, other times they were going to hit you with it one way or another. At the end of the day, everyone we meet in a negotiation has a plan of attack. Even if you're only information going into an interaction is a cold read, you can start to draw lines between what they may want and why. Usually the reasons for coming to the table that are more than what appears on the surface. If you go into an interaction thinking the other side has only one reason for being there than you are sorely mistaken. There are always things going on in the other side's position, the way they operate as a team or company that has brought them to the table. If we take a real honest look at the reasons they would take a certain position, we can start to form a statement summary that defines their approach, consequently removing all the reasoning for cementing themselves over a certain point.
One of the biggest problems we see in negotiation begins during the process of preparation. Of course we all know preparation is important but “how you prepare” and “what for” are equally, if not even more important.
Yes is a very tricky concept, especially when put it into the negotiation context. First of all, there are 3 types of “yes” – Confirmation, Commitment & Counterfeit – (the 3 ways to “C” yes) as it were. Now while we do not ever advocate aiming for a “yes” or trying to force agreement through “yes”, there will be times when you have to deal with it. Here are the two major ways to handle “yes”.
My last article in The Edge called “The Problem with Tell Me More” left a few people asking “What do you say instead?”. This article is meant to give some insight on how to change your approach and make your communication efforts more influential. You can also find out more about the ideas I am going to share here, in Chris’s book “Never Split the Difference” Chapter 7.
Whether or not you realize it we have all used “tell me more” when questioning someone about a topic we want to know more about. More often than not our intentions are inquisitive and open-ended but we forget that the simplest definition of an open-ended question is one that cannot be answered with a “yes” or “no”. Unfortunately at times our desire to know more gets in the way of the mission to be collaborative.
People will always ask you questions in a negotiation. When it is important to find out the reasoning for their question asking "Why" or flat out answering is not the best solution. Use "What makes you ask?" instead.
Increase your communication success by eliminating these 3 bad communication habits that naturally trigger a negative human response.
“Ignore human nature at your own peril” is one of our basic negotiation approaches. It is also why our skills are so effective. In any given situation people have a tendency to react instinctively simply because they are people. When you are backed into a corner, especially when you have skin in the game, you are going to react based off of instinct. People are emotionally driven. If you can determine what emotion is driving them at a given time then their behavior becomes imminently predictable, which allows you to orient your communication approach.
Many people think they can already negotiate. Maybe you have gotten over on a car salesman. Maybe you or someone you work with consistently makes seemingly good deals because you know you have all the leverage. Better yet you pride yourself on collecting yes’s and you’re rights, but for some reason you keep having to go over the same thing with the same people.