Our goal when entering into a negotiation with anyone is to be able to walk away with the best deal possible. Just exactly how to get from the beginning of a negotiation to that deal no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used is what we don’t always understand. This is exactly where being flexible comes into play.
Is Flexibility A Bad Thing?
How do you want to be seen by the other side of the table during a negotiation? I’d be willing to bet that just like the rest of us, you’d like to be seen as one tough cookie. This goes double for women – we don’t want to show any hint of weakness or we fear that the other side won’t take us seriously
Unfortunately, what this kind of negotiating attitude can lead to is a great deal of inflexibility on our part. A big part of negotiating is both presenting and considering alternatives to what has already been discussed. If we are inflexible, then there is a very good chance that we are going to view being willing to consider an alternative as being a sign of weakness to the other side.
Just so that we can be clear here: this is a mistake. Yes, we do want the other side of the table to take us seriously and we don’t want them to think that they can walk all over us. However, we need to step back for a moment and remember what our real reason for being involved in the negotiation in the first place is: to get the best deal possible. This means that we do need to be willing to consider alternatives because that is what will probably lead us to the deal that we’re looking for.
How Flexibility Can Work To Your Benefit
If we can agree that being flexible is actually something that can work to your benefit during a negotiation, then the real question is going to be how best to use this negotiating skill. During every negotiation there are going to be conflicts. This is where your flexibility can help out.
When faced with a conflict, you are going to have to be willing to propose possible compromises. What this is going to show the other side is that you are open to working with them to finding ways to solve the problems that you are currently facing. Having the ability to do this will show the other side that you know what you are doing when it comes to this negotiating stuff.
Instead of viewing being flexible as making you weaker in a negotiation, you need to take an opposite approach and view inflexibility as making you weaker. Those negotiators who are inflexible will never be able to reach the kind of deals that they want. The inability to change will forever keep them from achieving the ultimate goal that we all have in each and every negotiation that we engage in.
What All Of This Means For You
When we are involved in a heated principled negotiation, it can all too easy to get caught up in focusing on the details of what is being negotiated. When this happens, we can lose sight of what is really important to us – getting the best deal possible.
All too often we desperately don’t want to be viewed by the other side of the table as being in any way “weak”. This can mean that we become inflexible and unwilling to consider new ideas during the negotiations. We need to realize that not being flexible is actually what makes us week. We need to be able to consider new ideas if we want to have any hope of being able to reach the best deal possible.
Our goal when we enter into our next negotiation must be to be as flexible as possible. We need to always have an open mind and be willing to consider new ideas and new ways of finding solutions. Find a way to be flexible and you’ll be able to create the deals that you want to be able to reach.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that it is possible to be too flexible in a negotiation?
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