The better you understand human psychology, the better a negotiator you'll be

The better you understand human psychology, the better a negotiator you’ll be

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What does it take to get your way in the next negotiation that you are involved in? The ability to read the mind of the other side of the table would be nice, but if that’s not possible for most of us. What else do we have to work with? The answer to this question doesn’t have anything to do with negotiation styles or negotiating techniques. It turns out that human nature is a very powerful force and if you understand how it works, then your chances of being successful in your next negotiation increase significantly.

People Want What They Can’t Have

As a negotiator you need to learn what good marketing professionals have known forever: scarcity breeds desire. The other side of the table is going to discover that they just have to have whatever you have if and only if they can’t have it: not enough of it, just sold the last of it, etc. Along the same lines, if there is some that everyone else wants, then the other side is going to decide that they want it too.

You can call it greed or you can call it envy, it really doesn’t matter. As a negotiator what you are going to want to do is to create an auction atmosphere. By doing this you’ll show the other side that they are in a competition to get what you have and they had better move quickly or they won’t get it.

People Become Overwhelmed When Faced With Too Many Decisions

It’s a fact of life that none of us really like to make decisions. What this means is that if we have too much information about something, we’re just going to shut down – we’re not going to know what to do next.

As a negotiator it is your responsibility to feed the other side of the table just enough information for them to make a decision. You don’t want to overwhelm them. You need break the information that you are giving them into pieces and feed it to them over time so that they can process it all.

People Succumb To The Aura Of Legitimacy

We all respond to authority and some of us more than others. If a piece of information is brought into a negotiation and is attributed to a trusted source, then all of a sudden that information is treated as being special.

The reality is that all information in a negotiation needs to be treated with suspicion. It might be legitimate; however, it might also be manufactured. You need to use the air of legitimacy when you can, but at the same time don’t let yourself get fooled by it.

What All Of This Means For You

You are human and you’ll be negotiating with humans. What this means is that human nature will play a big role in your next principled negotiation . If you understand how this all works, then you’ll have a better chance of being successful.

Realize that everyone wants what they can’t have. The other side will shut down if you provide them with too much information. Finally, everyone is influenced by the aura of legitimacy.

Knowing how the other side will react to these three aspects of human nature means that you now have a better chance of getting what you want out of your next negotiation. Use this new power carefully and keep in mind that these forces will also work on you!

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

Question For You: How can you make what you are offering to the other side appear to be scarce?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I can only speak for myself, but as of yet I have not figured that whole “mind reading” thing out. What this means is that if I want to understand how the other side of the table is viewing the negotiation that we are currently involved in no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used, I’m going to have to make sure that I understand human psychology. This means that there are three key motivators that I’ve got to know how to use during my next negotiation.

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How To Break A Deadlock

by drjim on September 12, 2014

Every deadlock can be broken – it just takes a little bit of effort

Every deadlock can be broken – it just takes a little bit of effort
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All too often in a negotiation no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques you are using, when we encounter a deadlock we may want to just give up. After all, a deadlock sure looks like something that is going to prevent both sides from ever being able to successfully reach a deal. However, I’ve got some good news for you. It turns out that every deadlock can be broken; you just need to know how to go about doing it…

Go Away And Come Back

Deadlocks happen. It’s how you deal with them that really matters. When you are faced with a deadlock, one of the easiest things to do is to sidestep the issue. Agree with the other side of the table that the issue that is causing the deadlock is a big issue. Then suggest that both of you table that issue and instead focus on other issues.

By doing this you can prevent the negotiations from grinding to a halt. Instead, you’ll be able to continue to make progress on the other issues. Generally the other side will be willing to go along with this strategy.

The goal here is to eventually come back to the issue that was causing the deadlock. The hope is that because you’ve been able to make progress on the other issues and because some time has passed, what was a big deal is no longer such a big deal. With a little luck, the hostility surrounding this deadlock causing issue will have evaporated.

Use Concessions

A deadlock will cause a negotiation to grind to a halt. What you need to do in order to break the deadlock is to find a way to get the negotiations moving once again.

A great way to make this happen is to make some small concessions to the other side. Give in on some issues that you really don’t care about. Once you’ve done this, ask them to make some concessions to you.

This back and forth of concessions is how you can get things rolling once again. With just a bit of momentum, you may be able to get up enough speed to be able to find your way around the issue that caused the deadlock.

Go “Off The Record”

A deadlock happens when you and the other side of the table can’t come to an agreement on an issue. A lot of what has caused the deadlock to occur has to do with the personalities that are involved.

One way to break this deadlock is for you to go “off the record” and reach out to people who have not been involved in the negotiations. Since they were not involved in the discussions that led up to the deadlock, they may be able to show you a way around the deadlock.

What All Of This Means For You

To any negotiator, a deadlock can be a scary thing. It sure looks like the negotiations are going to end without you being able to reach a deal with the other side of the table. However, it turns out that every deadlock can be broken.

In order to break a deadlock, a good first step is to try to sidestep the deadlock causing issue. Go on and deal with other issues and then come back to deal with the “big” issue. You can also make a series of small concessions to the other side and get them to do the same. Once things have started to move again, a deal may now be in sight. Finally, you can always go “off the record” and appeal for help from people at higher levels in both organizations.

Don’t let a deadlock halt your next principled negotiation. Instead, by taking the time to understand the people who are involved in the negotiations you will be able to find a way to break the deadlock. Get good at doing this and every negotiation that you are involved in will be able to end in you reaching a deal with the other side.

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

Question For You: When a deadlock is reached, should you let the other side make the first move to try to break it?

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

What does it take to get your way in the next negotiation that you are involved in? The ability to read the mind of the other side of the table would be nice, but if that’s not possible for most of us. What else do we have to work with? The answer to this question doesn’t have anything to do with negotiation styles or negotiating techniques. It turns out that human nature is a very powerful force and if you understand how it works, then your chances of being successful in your next negotiation increase significantly.

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What Negotiators Need To Know About Job Opportunities In The Federal Sector

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One of the responsibilities that we have as negotiators is to teach others about where they can find good jobs — negotiating jobs and others. As kids go back to college this fall, it’s the perfect time to open their eyes to the job opportunities in the federal sector. We all know how hard it […]

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Deadlocks Are A Small Negotiator’s Best Friend

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When you enter into a negotiation, often times things don’t seem fair. Specifically, sometimes you view yourself as being “the little guy”. When this happens, it’s often easy to believe that you don’t stand a chance – no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques you use the other side is going to get what […]

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How To Make A Deadlock Work For You In A Negotiation

August 22, 2014

Deadlocks are a part of negotiating just like speeding tickets are a part of driving. We don’t like them, but just like all of the other negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that we have to deal with, they show up every so often and we just have to deal with them. The good news about […]

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5 Ways To Use A Deadlock To Your Advantage

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In a negotiation, reaching a deadlock is something that we all fear, right? Everyone views a deadlock, which is when both sides can’t agree on something that is being discussed, as a form of failure. We don’t want to fail, so we use all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that we know to […]

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August 1, 2014

Although we can spend a lot of time talking about the best negotiation styles and negotiating techniques to use during a negotiation, sometimes just getting the appropriate parties together can be the biggest challenge of all. We live in busy times and the more people that have to be involved in a negotiation, the more […]

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Negotiating With Iran: How Was A Deal Reached?

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It is through negotiation that the impossible can be made possible no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used. A deal has been brokered between Iran and the rest of the world in regards to their work on creating an atomic bomb. For more than a decade Iran has been willing to […]

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The Power Of Delays In A Negotiation

July 18, 2014

We all hate delays, right? No matter if it is when we are in traffic, waiting in a line at a store, or waiting for the next web page to load, any sort of delay is a bad thing. Or is it? It turns out that in a negotiation, sometimes a delay can be a […]

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