Why Are Some Negotiations So Hard To Wrap Up?

Getting to the end of a negotiation can be difficult to do
Getting to the end of a negotiation can be difficult to do

Image Credit: Philo Nordlund

Every time that we start a negotiation, we have the same hope: that we’ll be able to use our negotiation styles and negotiating techniques to quickly and efficiently get to the end of the negation and walk away with a deal that we can be proud of. However, all too often it seems like sometimes there are roadblocks that show up almost out of nowhere. For some odd and strange reason, the other side just does not want to change their position. What’s a negotiator to do?

It’s All About Conforming

As negotiators what we need to keep in mind is that the purpose of our negotiation is to get the other side of the table to agree to change. None of us really like change and so this can be a difficult thing to do. The ideas and the proposals that are included in our part of the negotiation presentation may be familiar to us and we may view them as being the sensible thing to do. However, what we need to keep in mind is that the very newness of what we are proposing can make our ideas appear to be threatening to anyone who does not deal with change well.

Each and every one of us has a very deeply rooted instinct that causes us to follow the heard when we have a chance to do so. We are more likely to accept procedures and opinions that have been repeated to us over and over again. It is critical that we understand that from the other side’s point-of-view, if they can find a way to stay in harmony with the standard practices and the customs they currently perform and not go along with your new ideas, then they are going to remain comfortable.

We Like Order Over Disorder

Those of us who like to think of ourselves as being stylish like to believe that we have no problems setting our own path. However, what we need to realize is that the other side may not share our love of new things. Instead, they may be trying to hold on to the way that things are today as tightly as they possibly can.

Life is an unpredictable thing. Most people seek out as much stability and tranquility as we can possibly surround ourselves with. What we want to know is that if we perform some action, some other action will be the result of our doing this. What we don’t want to have to worry about is something else that we had not anticipated happening. What this means for us as negotiators is that during a negotiation, we are going to have to take the time to work to overcome any resistance that we start to get from the other side when we propose changing how things happen.

What All Of This Means For You

Change is a concept that tends to scare some people. If you find yourself in a principled negotiation where the other side of the table is not eager to change the way that they go about doing things, then you have a problem on your hands. You’ll find that they will start to throw up roadblocks that you’ll have to find ways to deal with if you want to be able to reach a deal in this negotiation.

One of the most important things that we need to understand as negotiators is that what we are proposing as a part of the negotiations represents change to the other side. This may appear threatening to them. The other side seeks to conform to the way that things are. They want to follow the heard. The other side does not want to let go of the way that things currently are. They are seeking order over disorder and they want to know what the guaranteed outcome of their actions will be.

It is into this world of change and fear of change that we plunge as we start any negotiation. Hopefully we understand that in order to get the deal that we want, both sides are going to have to make changes. If the other side is not comfortable with making these changes, then it is going to be out job to help them get over their roadblocks and eventually accept that they too are going to have to change.

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

Question For You: If the other side is afraid of making changes, how can you propose that they accept your ideas without scaring them too much?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

The trick to being successful in a negotiation is finding some way to get the other side to do what you want them to do for you. Although this is easy to say, it turns out that it’s actually quite difficult to do. We never want to go in to a negotiation blind and that’s why it’s so important that you take the time at the start of the negotiation to make an attempt to gauge both the expectations and the mood of the other side of the table. What you are going to want to do is to find a way to use the persuasive power prescription (PPP).

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