How To Influence The Other Side During A Negotiation

In order to get what you want out of a negotiation, you need to know how to influence the other side
In order to get what you want out of a negotiation, you need to know how to influence the other side
Image Credit: John Benson

Ultimately a negotiation is all about getting the other side to do what you want them to do. You can ask them, threaten them, beg them, intimidate them, or try a number of other things but ultimately all of your negotiation styles and negotiating techniques are designed to find a way to get them to see things your way and agree to the deal that you want to sign. One way to go about making this happen is to influence the other side. Great thought, but how do you actually do this?

Being Able To Influence Is All About What You Can See

When we engage ourselves in a negotiation, what we’d like to be able to see is the big picture. We’d like to be able to determine what is going on, who is doing what, and what the other side is really trying to accomplish. With a lot of different discussions and people in the mix, this can be very difficult to do. Your goal has to be to detach yourself emotionally from the negotiations so that you can gain a perspective on just exactly what is going on. You are going to want to be able to see how things interconnect and what the pattern of your negotiation is.

If you want to have any hope of being able to influence the other side, you’ve got some homework to do. When the negotiations start, you need to start asking questions that are intended to get information about the other side’s motives, beliefs, values, and their needs. Once you have all of this information, you’ll be in a good position to start to map out your negotiating strategy.

Your goal as a negotiator is to be a problem solver. This won’t necessarily be easy to do, but all throughout the negotiations you are going to want to be searching for ways to make a deal happen for both sides. This means that you are going to have to be keeping your eyes open for creative alternatives that might be able to be used to address both side’s interests and concerns.

There Is No Such Thing As Impossible

People can do the strangest things. If you find yourself in a negotiation and the other side is just doing very, very strange things, you need to find a way to “get into their head”. This means that you are going to have to make the effort to view the issues that are on the table through the eyes of the other side. What you are going to want to be able to do when you do this is to understand how it all works with the other side’s set of experiences.

In a negotiation, at times you’ll discover that there are avowed opponents sitting at the same table. When this happens, all of a sudden everything gets just a bit more difficult. What you are going to have to keep in mind is that the willingness of either party to change is going to be directly related to what their tolerable pain threshold is. They are not going to be willing to change their position until they believe that the cost of not changing is going to outweigh the cost of changing.

I have a tendency to become very involved in the negotiations that I participate in. This is simply because I really do care about the outcome and the people that the deal that I’m going to be able to create will affect. However, I really need to learn how to back off a bit. The people who study such things tell us that we become dumber when we get really involved. What happens is that because we become excited about what is being discussed in the negotiation, our adrenaline really starts to flow. Unfortunately, when this happens we become doped up and our mental skills become dumbed down.

What All Of This Means For You

In order to be successful in our next principled negotiation, we need to find ways to influence the other side. We want them to see the world the way that we see it. In order to make this happen we need to maximize what we can see and realize that nothing is impossible.

In order to be able to move the other side closer to the deal that we want, we need to be able to see the big picture. In order to make this happen, we need to be able to detach ourselves emotionally from the negotiations and gain a perspective. You’ll need to take the time to ask the other side questions in order to determine what their true motives are. You want to be a problem solver. See things through the other side’s eyes. Get opponents to feel enough pain in order to be willing to change and make sure that you don’t get too involved.

It’s not easy to influence the other side of the table during a negotiation. However, if you take the time to learn the techniques that are needed in order to do this, then you will have developed a powerful skill. You’ll be able to guide the other side more quickly to the deal that you want to reach with them.

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

Question For You: If you find yourself becoming too involved in a negotiation, what should you do?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

If you ever take a look at the types of people who are attracted to the negotiating profession, you’ll find that they normally share a great deal in common. Specifically, these are people who like things to be nice and neat. Everything has a place for them. What they really don’t like is chaos. That’s why as negotiators who probably share this trait, we need to always be keeping an eye out for having scrambled eggs show up in our next negotiation.