Anytime there is a want or need, you are in a negotiation. Normally, we attribute more importance to the negotiations that we perceive will result in a bigger and better outcome.
Consequently, we don’t put much emphasis on low-stakes negotiations. This is because, in these situations, we are typically getting the essentials of what we want out of the transaction without much effort. And with that, we sometimes deprive ourselves of a better outcome.
We are accustomed to taking the product as is because we have developed an environment of content around the product; for example, getting the cup of coffee at a local store, the hotel room, and the airline seat. We often don’t realize that negotiating in these low-stakes situations would help us become a much better and successful negotiator all around.
When the stakes are high, we plan for the negotiation by trying to predict what the other person will offer and what we would counteroffer in response. We try to make ourselves comfortable by attempting to anticipate the steps and results in the negotiation process.
Unfortunately, this often means disregarding Tactical Empathy™ (TE). The dynamic works as if we were sailing against the wind. Using TE during your negotiation will ensure smooth sailing.
The truth is that you will more often find yourself in low-stakes negotiations than high-stakes ones. Those opportunities, if taken advantage of, will set the foundation for your skills. They will help you get comfortable and prepare you for more high-stakes negotiations.
Negotiators all over the world share a common goal: They want to be able to understand what drives the other side. They feel frustrated by a lack of information. They tell me time and time again that TE is an essential element that is missing from their toolbox.
My interactions with them have also revealed the following to be the four types of negotiations you will most likely find yourself in:
1. Workplace Negotiations
In this era of job hopping, people are moving freely from company to company more than ever before. Gallup estimates that millennial turnover costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually. This trend no doubt poses its own unique challenges when negotiating at the workplace.
Using TE will help you retain important relationships. There is a strong need nowadays for your workers to feel understood. Using TE should not be a choice in the office environment, but something you make an effort to practice every day.
2. Crisis Negotiations
A crisis can present itself anywhere and at any time. We often fail to see that our counterpart is in a state of crisis until it is too late. Your counterpart will show you that they are in crisis by raising their voice in response to something that was said, by remaining silent, or by simply expressing their state of mind. High emotions and crises go hand in hand.
When emotions are running high on either side of the negotiation, it is nearly impossible for the person in crisis to hear anything that’s being said. With high emotions, the chances for success in a negotiation go down to almost zero. Until the logical/ rational part of our brains has gained a foothold in the decision-making process, we can’t move forward.
A person displaying high emotions is telling us: Listen to me, I need you to hear me out and understand how I feel before we do anything else.
3. Domestic Negotiations
These are some of the most difficult. High emotions are usually present when we negotiate with our loved ones. The reason is that the parties will most likely perceive a loss in the negotiation as a loss of control. When talking to those closest to us, our subjectivity about the matter often creeps in and gets in our way, creating dead ends in the negotiation.
To stay on track and not allow high emotions to overtake the logical part of your brain, remain focused on listening to the other side. Labeling™, mirroring™, and using dynamic silence™ to allow the other person to communicate their thoughts and feelings works best.
4. Legal Negotiations
These types of bilateral negotiations are usually complex and often involve multiple parties and negative emotions. It is imperative that you use TE in these situations to defuse the negatives. An “I message” is often useful because counterparts in legal negotiations commonly use demands and intimidation.
The commonality in all four of these types of interactions is that using TE in any high- or low-stakes negotiations will undoubtedly assist you in building a positive-trust climate for collaboration.
When there is resistance from the other side about you and your product, fear from your counterpart will be your main obstacle. TE builds progressive rapport, diminishing their resistance. This is why TE must be your main go-to in your negotiation toolkit for all of your future want/need interactions.