Caption: Success in a negotiation is based on both identity and morality

Caption: Success in a negotiation is based on both identity and morality
Image Credit: Herry Lawford

When we think about what it is going to take for us to be successful in our next negotiation, we often think that what we need to do is to master some more negotiation styles or negotiating techniques. It turns out that this is not the case. Instead, what we need to do is to take a moment and look internally so that we can have a better understanding of what the other side the table is hoping to get out of the negotiations. If we can understand what they want, then we can determine how we can help them to get there. Identification and morality can play a key role in making this happen.

Identification

Often times when we sit down to negotiate with someone, we really don’t know them. Sure, we may have done research and talked to other people who have negotiated with them, but we have not had a chance to spend any time with them before this negotiation. This is the time that we want to try to exert what is called “referent power”. In order to make this happen, what we are going to have to do is to try to get the other side to identify with you.

What you are going to want to make happen is to get the other side to understand the situation that you now find yourself in. You are going to want to be broadcasting empathy to them. Ultimately what you are trying to make happen is to get the other side to share both your current feelings and your aspirations. The ability to make this happen is something that we are not born with, it’s a skill that we need to develop.

How we choose to conduct ourselves during a negotiation is what is going to cause the other side to cooperate with us and to show us some respect during the negotiations. The way that you can make this happen is by preparing for the negotiations. You’ll need to ask yourself two questions: what can I either do or say to the other side in order to create a trusting relationship with them? Finally, you need to ask yourself how you can approach the other side during the negotiations so that they will emotionally identify with both you and your position.

Morality

I guess that we could all agree that the perfect negotiation would be one where we were negotiating with ourselves. We’d understand where the other side was coming from, what they wanted and the normal set of communication problems would eliminated. Since that’s never going to happen, we’re going to have to hope that the person that we are negotiating with is a lot like us. We’re going to have to hope that they share a similar set of ethical standards and values.

If this is the case, then we’ll always have a final fallback position that we can count on in our negotiations. If it becomes necessary, then we can always ask the other side simply to be fair. If you make a request like this, then you are going to have to be careful about how you actually state it. You are going to have to be humble when you make your request for fairness. When people receive a request like this, they generally respond positively.

This tactic goes by a number of different names, but one of the most popular is “the surrender tactic”. What you are basically telling the other side is that you are going to allow them to determine the type of deal that they are going to be willing to present to you. They need to understand that they are now in a more powerful position; however, with that power comes a great deal of responsibility to not abuse it. They will find that their options are now somewhat limited and they will be forced to provide you with a deal that you can live with.

What All Of This Means For You

In your next negotiation, the only way that you are going to be successful is to get the other side to agree to what you are asking them to do. There are a lot of different ways to go about doing this, but connecting with the other side using identification and relying on the other side’s morality can both play a role.

In order to get the other side to agree to the proposals that you are making, you are going to have to get them to see the world the way that you do. This means that you need to use “referent power” to try to get the other side to identify with you. If you find yourself in a position where you don’t appear to have any way out, you need to realize that you have another option. You can simply appeal to the other side’s sense of fairness. More often than not, this works out for you.

The good thing about any negotiation is that you have a number of different ways that you can use to reach where you want to get to. Connecting with the other side and using their sense of fairness are just two of the ways that are available to you. In your next negotiation, keep in mind that you have these options and then go ahead and use them when the time is right!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: What should you do if the other side does not seem to be acting fairly?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When we think about negotiating, we often picture it happening in a business setting. On the table before us are things such a prices, delivery dates, and quantities. However, it turns out that we use our principled negotiation styles and negotiating techniques all the time and not always at work. As parents, we spend a great deal of time negotiating with one tough customer: our children. This type of negotiating requires special techniques in order to get the outcome that we want.

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Negotiating is all about rewards and punishments

Negotiating is all about rewards and punishments
Image Credit: Kate Ter Haar

As I write this article, I read in the paper today that North Korea has broken off communications with the United States. The reason that they stopped talking to us is because the U.S. has been taking actions to cut off North Korea’s leader’s access to international funds which he uses to purchase luxury items. Clearly the actions of the North Korean government are designed to change the behavior of the U.S. government. During a negotiation, do we have the same ability to change the behavior of the other side?

It’s All About Power

Any time we think about what power means to us, we often come away with the belief that during a negotiation, power is what provides us with the ability to compensate, or on the other hand, coerce the other side to do what we want them to do for us no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used. The funny thing about power is that it’s not really a tangible thing – you can’t touch it. Instead, power lives inside of everyone’s head and it’s what we think it is.

In order for power to work in a negotiation, both sides have to participate. One side needs to believe that they are either vulnerable to being placed in a disadvantaged position by the other side or being given what they are looking for by that same side. The side that is believed to have either of these two abilities will then be considered to have power relative to the other side.

The most important thing to understand here is that since power is not something that you can touch, we all need to come to the understanding that power is really a relational concept. When we go looking for power, we need to understand that we’re not going to find it belonging to any one person or group. Rather what we’ll discover is that power is really embedded in the social relationship between two different groups.

Power Has A Lot To Do With How You Choose To Use It

A good example of the relationship of power to a negotiation would be if I showed up with a car tire. If the other side found themselves owning a car that only had three tires, then the tire that I had would be very valuable to them. With it, they could drive their car and they could go places. However, if I showed up at the negotiation with my tire and the other side already had four working tires, then the value of my tire would be very little.

One important thing to keep in mind during a negotiation is that there is no such thing as only one reward or one punishment. Instead, we need to understand that there is an entire range of both rewards and punishments that can be doled out during a negotiation. Rewards can run the range from simply making the other side feel better during a negotiation to actually providing them with financial rewards. Likewise, punishments can include such things as damage to a career, financial penalties, or any event that the other side would prefer didn’t happen.

The presence of both rewards and punishments in a negotiation means that behaviors will be affected. The behavior of the other side will be shaped by the explicit and the implicit rewards and punishments that are part of the negotiations. The behavior of the other side will be controlled by the rewards that they are seeking and the punishments that they are trying to avoid. What we need to understand as negotiators is that people’s behavior can be changed by the negotiating system that they are operating under.

What All Of This Means For You

Surprise, surprise – during your next principled negotiation there is a very good chance that the other side will not be doing what you want them to do. In order to get the deal that you are going to want, you are going to have to find a way to get them to change their behavior. Ultimately, this is all going to come down to power.

Power plays a key role in every negotiation. Power is not something that we can see or touch. Instead, power is really part of the social relationship between two different groups. This means that power lives in the heads of both sides of the negotiating table. Power is based on two things: rewards and punishments. The other side will be looking for ways to maximize their rewards while minimizing their punishments. As negotiators we need to understand that our use of power will have an impact on the behavior of the other side.

In order to get the deal that we want out of our next negotiation, we need to understand that power will play a key role. The other side will respond to the rewards that we can offer to them as well as the punishments that we may end up threatening them with. If we understand how these tools work, then we can change the other side’s behavior and steer them towards providing us with the outcome that we are seeking.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you should use more rewards or more punishments during a negotiation?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When we think about what it is going to take for us to be successful in our next negotiation, we often think that what we need to do is to master some more negotiation styles or negotiating techniques. It turns out that this is not the case. Instead, what we need to do is to take a moment and look internally so that we can have a better understanding of what the other side the table is hoping to get out of the negotiations. If we can understand what they want, then we can determine how we can help them to get there. Identification and morality can play a key role in making this happen.

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