Negotiation impasses and negotiation confrontations are very similar. In both instances, you need to create “space” to expand the negotiation to see if there is more room for both sides to maneuver. This is often called turning a “U-turn” into an “S-curve”. After hitting a roadblock, you move back a little and see if there is a way around it. Smile, keep calm and negotiate on.
Here are the 4 steps:
- Use the “late-night FM DJ” voice
- Start with “I’m sorry…..”
- Mirror either the last 3 words or the critical 3 words of what they are saying
- (You may need to remain silent here. Wait for at least 4 seconds to let them fill the gap.)
- Paraphrase the response to the mirror
A paraphrase is taking what they have said and putting it in your own words. It’s another of the FBI 8 skills. Paraphrases differ from a mirrors because they’re a little longer and you’re changing the words into your own. A mirror doesn’t change the words, it uses them exactly.
A “mirror” is when you repeat exactly the last 3 words or what someone has just said, or the critical 1-3 words of the main part of what someone has said. This is about as close to a Jedi mind trick as anything in the entire FBI 8 hostage negotiation skill set. It’s there because it works. With a mirror you can trigger something in your counterpart’s brain that compels them to say more. (Watching this skill in action after you’ve used it is actually kind of entertaining.)
Getting someone to restate and expand on an objection is the first key to finding a way around it. In many cases (but not all) a mirror may be all you need. Why should you waste time trying to smash through an obstacle when there may be an easy way around it?
Confrontation doesn’t have to be painful. Even better when you’ve got a skills to use that are ridiculously simple and even a little bit fun.
Want to see this come to life? Here’s an example:
An “old-school” boss is trying to have an employee make paper copies of literally thousands of documents because she feels more secure with paper than digital copies.
Employee: “Boss, what are the plans for the paper copies?”
Boss: “As I said before we need two copies as usual.”
Employee: “I’m sorry, two copies?”
Boss: “Yes- one for us and one for the customer.”
Employee: “So you are saying that the customer is asking for a copy and we need a copy for internal use”
Boss: “Well, let me see if the customer actually needs the copy but I definitely want a copy. That’s how I do business.”
Employee: “That would be great if you could check with the customer. Do you know where we could store the in-house copy, we are out of space here in Quality Assurance?”
Boss: “You can store it anywhere”
Employee: “I’m sorry, anywhere…?”
Boss: “As the matter of fact you can put them in my office. I have some space here. I really like having an extra copy even though it is not required. I will just get new assistant to print it for me after the project is done and all the file are on the server. This way I know that they are exact copies of what is stored.”
Employee: “That would be great. Let me know what the customer says about their copy.”
Postscript from the Employee: “Later on I received an e-mail from my boss saying that the customer does not need a paper copy. All they want is a CD or two, depending on the size of the file! A week of work is avoided and no argument with the Boss!”
Mirrors will make you feel awkward as heck when you first try them. That’s the only hard part about them. You will be your only obstacle here. Try them and let them work their Jedi (Black Swan Group) magic for you.
Remember: “These are not the droids you are looking for…”