Is The Logic Part Of The Negotiation Process A Good Thing Or A Bad Thing?

by drjim on November 18, 2011

When logic is involved, you have to carefully plan your next move…

When logic is involved, you have to carefully plan your next move…

A negotiation is very much like a dance, you make a move and then your move forces the other side to make a move. Once they’ve done that, then their actions force you to take some corresponding action and so on. There is a logic to all of this and where things get interesting is when we start to try to figure out if the role that logic plays is working for us or against us…

Why Logic In A Negotiation Can Be A Bad Thing

Logic – a bad thing? Who would dare to say something like that? It turns out that I would and the reason that I would is pretty simple. If you’ve ever been in a negotiating situation where the other side started to use logic to support their position, you know what I mean.

When you are faced with a negotiating opponent who is prepared and equipped to use logic as one of their negotiation styles, then you’ve got a problem. Negotiations can be difficult enough without having to deal with this kind of challenge.

The reason that you can run into problems when you are confronted with lots of logic during a negotiation is because the other side now has a way to guide you to a conclusion using their logic.

What’s going to happen here is that the other side will make a request and then use logic to explain why they are making the request. It will seem like a reasonable request to you. They will then make another request that flows from the first. Once again they’ll provide the logic that is needed to support this request also.

What will happen here is that you’ll find yourself starting to be guided by the logic of their requests. Before you know what is happening, you’ll be agreeing to their requests and going along with them. The other side will have been able to use logic to gain the advantage in the negotiation and they will now be able to move you towards creating the type of deal that they want.

Why Logic In A Negotiation Can Be A Good Thing

Clearly logic can be a bad thing if the other side starts to use it against you. However, is it possible that logic could be a powerful tool if it was in your hands?

The answer is, of course, yes. In any principled negotiation you should plan on using logic as one of your tools. The trick to getting the most out of logic as a tool is that you need to be able to prepare to use it in a negotiation before the negotiations begin.

I tend to believe that logic should be included in any negotiation definition. The reason is that as you are planning how you want your next negotiation to proceed, creating a sequence of arguments based on logic can provide you with the negotiating framework that can help you to close a deal.

What you are going to want to do is to include logic in your preparation for the negotiation. This means that you’ll need to lay out a sequence of proposals that you’ll want to make of the other side. You’ll then have to create a logical framework for why you are making that proposal. Your goal will be to get the other side of the table to agree to your proposal based on your logic.

If you can do this, then your next proposal should be based off of the agreement that you’ve been able to reach on the first proposal. By doing this you can use logic to guide the other side to the conclusion that you want to reach. Once they start to agree with you, logic will make it very difficult for them to stop agreeing!

What All Of This Means For You

Negotiating can be hard work. We’ve all been taught that logic is a good thing and so as a negotiator you’d think that using logic as a part of your negotiating techniques could only be a good thing, right?

It turns out that logic is a slippery beast. During a negotiation if the other side of the table starts to use logic against you, you may quickly find yourself in trouble. The reason for this is that logic is a well-defined series of conclusions that may lead you to a result that is not what you wanted to get out of the negotiations. On the other hand, if you construct a series of logical arguments that support your position, the other side may find it hard to object to your requests.

Logic is a powerful tool. The next time that you are in a negotiation make sure that you keep your eyes open in order to quickly determine if the other side is preparing to use logic against you. No matter what they do, you should always be ready to use logic to support your negotiating positions.

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

Question For You: How much time do you think that it’s worth spending creating a set of logical arguments to use during your next negotiation?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Magical mind control powers. That’s what every sales negotiator would like to have. The ability to bend the other side of the table’s mind to your way of thinking would be the set of negotiation styles or negotiating techniques that would make life so much easier. Sadly, I don’t believe that such powers exist. However, there is something that comes pretty close – standards.

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