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.
Last week, I answered questions via a Quora session. One of the great questions I was asked was:
What ways do people signal weakness or strength during negotiations?
Most people who think they are good listeners underperform. There is some research that suggests they do so by as much as 60%. This overconfidence impedes their success as it prevents them from truly understanding the motivation of the other side.
Do you want to make the transition to being an excellent negotiator? No matter where you are on the journey, here are 5 critical steps that you'll need to take along this path.
Many times in life we are our own worst enemy, critic or obstacle. The same reins true in negotiation. Sometimes we start to compromise before providing the other party a chance to negotiate amongst themselves, or even more dangerous, we have a false perception of leverage which really did not exist.
A common misconception about negotiation is that the best course of action is to take a hard line with someone. Use logic to express that what you want is the right path. Be ready for objections and turn them back around on your counterpart.
I was rehearsing an anticipated negotiation in my head. This interaction would be with someone I’ve let get under my skin. This bothers me in a double way because I’m not supposed to let this happen to me, right? I teach this stuff.
“We want four million dollars, forty 1,000-year-old ginseng roots, a 50-troop military helicopter, to take us to Thailand…and four bullet-proof vests.” These demands (and they are actual demands made during an incident) could stymie most hostage-barricade managers. To the lesser-trained they seem non-negotiable. Demands and deadlines tend to crank up the stress level for decision-makers. Generally speaking, they shouldn’t and here’s why.
There is a general principle that structure dictates outcomes. This is seemingly a very simple idea. While clichés like this one can be very helpful, they are also very uninformative. The right structure dictates the outcomes you want. But what is the right structure?
In every negotiation there is information that can only be obtained at the negotiation table, these bits of information will often change everything (Black Swans). This is why The Black Swan Group has changed the format for preparing and engaging in a negotiation. No matter how much information and research you and/or your team has done prior to the interaction there are things needed to find the best deal possible that only your counterpart can tell you.