What Are You Permitted To Do During A Negotiation?

Do you need a permit during a negotiation?
Do you need a permit during a negotiation?
Image Credit: Joanna Paterson

As negotiators, we tend to spend our time thinking about what we are going to want to accomplish during our next negotiation. We’ll think about the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that we are going to use, how the other side might react, etc. However, one of the things that we generally don’t spend any time thinking about is the very thing that we should be thinking about: just exactly what are we going to be permitted to do during the negotiation?

Persistence Is Acceptable

Deep down we all want to be liked by the people that we come into contact with. When we are engaged in a negotiation, this desire to be liked does not go away. That’s why we can shy away from interacting with the other side in the same way over and over again. However, it turns out that that is exactly what we need to be doing.

What this all comes down to is how you feel about your positions on the issues that are being negotiated. If you believe that you are right – that the other side would truly benefit if they accepted your proposal, then you need to be persistent. You need to make the same pitch to the other side over and over again. Eventually they will start to see just how committed you are to the ideas that you have presented and they will start to accept them.

You Can Keep Your Mouth Shut

When someone asks you a question, your gut instinct is to respond to them. However, it turns out that you don’t actually have to do this. Instead, the next time that the other side asks you something, don’t respond to them. Instead, let there be silence. What you will see start to happen is that the other side is going to become uncomfortable with the silence.

When this happens, they are going to feel forced to speak up. They will probably restate the question that they have already asked you and provide further elaboration and include more information. As negotiators we know that will allow you to learn more about what they want to get out of the negotiations. This is clearly a big advantage for you. Additionally, by remaining quiet you provide yourself with more time to think about what you want your next move in the negotiation is going to be.

You Can Say The Same Thing Over And Over Again

During a negotiation we want the other side to understand that we truly believe in the proposals that we have presented them with. What this means for us is that we need to come up with a way to clearly communicate to them that we believe in what we are telling them. One simple and easy way to go about doing this is to start to say the same thing over and over again.

There may be many reasons why you start to repeat yourself. One of the most classic is that you simply have run out of things to say to the other side. When this happens you can simply say what you have already said. By saying the same thing over and over, there is the possibility that you may start to impress the other side with your level of commitment to your proposals. This might be just what you happen to need in order to get the other side to commit to doing a deal with you.

What All Of This Means For You

During a principled negotiation, the other side is going to have expectations of us. For that matter, we may have expectations of ourselves also. However, one of the most important things that we may not have spent enough time thinking about is what we will be permitted to do during the negotiation. If we want to be successful, then this is something that we’re going to have to work out.

We need to understand that we can be a pest during the negotiation. This means that we can be very, very persistent in what we are trying to accomplish. By doing this we can show the other side just how committed we are to our proposals. Silence is a tool that we have on our side. When the other side asks us a question, we don’t have to say anything. By not answering, we’ll generally get the other side to ask the question again and provide more information. We also have the right to sound like a broken record. We can say the same things over and over again. When we do this, we may impress the other side with our proposals and get them to agree to them.

In order to accomplish what we’d like to get out of our next negotiation, we need to make sure that we fully understand what is permitted. We then need to make use of all of the actions that we will be allowed to use. By doing this we can speed things up and just maybe we’ll be able to secure the deal that we want!

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

Question For You: If we decided to remain silent when we are asked a question, how long do you think that we can remain silent before things start to get a bit too strange?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I think that it’s pretty safe to say that when we enter into a negotiation, we all have a fairly good idea of where we’d like to end up. However, the trick is finding out how to use our negotiation styles and negotiating techniques to get from where we are to where we want to be. That’s why it may not come as all that much of a surprise to you to discover that where you choose to start things out in a negotiation can have a very big impact on where things end up.