In A Negotiation, Information Is Power

In a negotiation, the more information you have, then the more power you have
In a negotiation, the more information you have, then the more power you have
Image Credit: Heath Brandon

Every negotiation is about power. Who has it, who wants it, and where did it all go. As negotiators, we are always looking for negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that we can use to become more powerful. It turns out that there is one simple way that we can make this happen: get more information.

How To Get An Advantage In Your Next Negotiation

When we walk into our next negotiation, we’d like to be in the strongest position possible. In order to do that, it all comes down to knowledge. The more of this stuff that we have, the stronger our position is going to be.

What this means for us in practical terms is that we need to take the time to gather as much information about what we’ll be negotiating about and who we’ll be negotiating with before the negotiations start.

One of the most important points about this information gathering exercise that a lot of new negotiators don’t realize is that the best kind of information to get is information that the other side of the table doesn’t want you to have. Likewise, if you have information that the other side of the table doesn’t have then all of a sudden the power dynamics of the negotiation have shifted – you are in a much stronger position.

Knowledge And Trust Are Related

Honesty and negotiation have a very interesting relationship. In order to be able to reach the deal that you want, it is often in your best interest to control what information you choose to reveal to the other side and when you choose to reveal it to them. Note that this is very different from lying.

When we obtain important information that the other side really doesn’t want us to have, this can help us to clarify the issues that are important to us and will show us the path that we want to follow. If one of the things that we discover is that the other side has been lying to us, then that will change everything.

Lying in a negotiation can take on two different forms. The first is flat out lying. The other is when the other side chooses to not reveal a material fact to you that is critical to what is being negotiated. In either of these cases, if you discover that you’ve been lied to then you are going to need to start to take every possible measure that you can in order to protect both yourself and the party that you are negotiating for.

What All Of This Means For Yourself

In order to be successful in your next principled negotiation, you need to have more power than the other side of the table. The trick is to learn how you can get this power. It turns out that by gathering information about both what is being negotiated as well as who is doing the negotiating you can get the power that you need.

By gathering information about what will be negotiated before the negotiation starts you’ll be able to properly prepare to negotiate. The power dynamics of the negotiation will change once you have information that the other side does not know that you have. Having this information will guide your negotiating and will determine how the negotiations proceed for you.

Information is power. As a negotiator you need to get as much of it as you possibly can. Take the time to properly prepare for your next negotiation by doing your homework and you’ll be impressed by the type of deal that you’ll be able to negotiate.

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

Question For You: How do you think that you can tell when you’ve gathered enough information to start a negotiation?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Rarely do negotiations just happen. Instead, they are planned well in advance and you’ve got plenty of time to get ready to participate in them and to deal with all of the different negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that you’ll encounter. What this means for you as a negotiator is that you need to make use of the (limited) time that you have in order to show up well prepared for the negotiation. Great concept, but just exactly how are we supposed to go about doing this?