“Negotiate More Effectively By Knowing How To Act Better” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

Do you plan how you’ll #act when you #negotiate? What #role do you decide you’ll play? Knowing the right role to display will allow you to negotiate better. Although you can’t predict every circumstance that you’ll encounter in a negotiation, the better prepared you are, the better your act will be.

Your act:

Everyone plays a role during a negotiation. And, your role should align with how you wish the other negotiator to perceive you; that’s your act. You should not view it as bad or inauthentic; it’s an act. If it’s misaligned, you run the risk of weakening your position. As an example, you shouldn’t become a bully if you’ve been playing the role of someone that’s helpful. That would be a misalignment.

Consider the following and keep in mind that you can morph from one act to another. Just be sure there’s an easily perceived reason for doing so.

  • Nonchalant

You can adopt this act to project a ‘no-care’ attitude (i.e. if it happens, fine – if it doesn’t, fine). You might employ this demeanor when you wish to confuse the other negotiator about your real interest in what he’s offering. Make sure not to become unmasked by being too deep into the role. Because a fleeting offer may disappear before you can shift acts.

  • Defiant

“I won’t accept that offer under any circumstances!” Be cautious when adopting this act. It can leave you in a position that’s difficult to retreat from. While this can be a good tactic, if it’s overused and you must concede, you’ll be weaker throughout the rest of the negotiation.

To combat the perception of being in a weaker position, consider feigning momentary hopelessness. It’ll lend credence to your act. But you must attempt to regain your defiant act, be it from a less entrenched position, to regain your position. You’ll only be able to use the hopelessness ploy once, twice if you’re overly convincing. So, be mindful of how and when you employ it. If you do so too early in the negotiation, you’ll lessen its effect later. If you do it too late, you’ll bring additional scrutiny upon your act.

  • Helpful

Most people like helping people. It’s a characteristic that’s pleasing. It’s also a characteristic that some people despise. Thus, you must know when to be a helpful actor and when to drop the act.

Dominant negotiators, the bullying type, tend not to want help. They already know what’s good for the negotiation. From their perspective, your insights will only hinder the process.

Invoke the helpful act with collaborative negotiator types. They seek input to promote win-win negotiation outcomes. To better effect this act, consider when you’ll lead and when you’ll follow. To follow, ask the other negotiator for her opinion. Then, build on it. To lead, present a non-threatening offer and ask your collaborator what she thinks of it. Build on what she says.

  • Dominant

Most people don’t like to be dominated; it places too many restrictions on them. Nevertheless, acting dominantly versus someone that’s savvy and in control can have its benefits. The difference lies in whether you’re perceived as being overbearing, strong-willed, or just knowledgeable. To effect this act, attune yourself to the other negotiator’s perception. There can be hidden value in this role. Knowing how and when to uncover that value makes it more valuable.

The stage you’re in, in the negotiation, should direct how you act. Like a good director, if you time your actions appropriately, your actions will be more believable. That will lead to more winning negotiation outcomes… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Prepare to Ace That Job Interview, Sales Call, Or Presentation With These Simple Strategies

How is a job interview, an important sales call, or a big presentation just like when your turn comes in Olympic Competition? In all of these, your future hinges on how well you perform in the next few minutes. How can you increase your chances of success?

As any Olympic Athlete will tell you – it’s mostly about the work you do to prepare yourself. When it comes to that job interview, sales call, etc., it’s really no different. So, how to be prepared?

Of course it’s essential that your preparation include planning what you’ll say. However, studies show that words make up only 7% of the essence of communication. So, if you primarily prepare what you plan to say, you’ve missed out on preparing 93% of your communication. What is this other 93%? It’s your body language and your tonality. That’s right, more than 90% of the meaning of your message is conveyed not by your words, but by your body language and tone. This is what will make or break your interview. And how much time do you typically spend preparing the effectiveness of these elements of your communication? If you’re like most people, almost none.

Body language and tonality are mostly subconscious communication elements. That is, we are not consciously thinking about, paying attention to and choosing these moment by moment while we communicate. They are shaped by our mood, our inner voice, our state of being, at a subconscious level.

As the athletes know, winning is mostly a mental game. That is, believing, and actually being congruent behind your belief, are key. It’s no different in communication. To be an effective communicator, to have your tonality and body language supporting your message and your objective, is an inner, mental game.

So, how do you make yourself a winner in your “games”? How can you prepare way beyond your “script” and ensure that you get the gold – the job offer, the sale, the result you were hoping for?

Belief – The #1 Essential Winning Strategy

When you know you are the right person for the job, or that your offer can really help this person, then your body language and your tonality will naturally and powerfully communicate this. If you can’t easily visualize the outcome you desire as if it’s already happened, and see it unfolding that way in your inner view, chances are your tone of voice and your body language will reveal your doubt. Despite all the effort you put into carefully designing what you’ll say, the message you communicate will be “I’m not the right one for this job,” or “You probably don’t want to buy this.”

Imagination – Your Best Tool

To get congruent so that all of your communication elements – words, tone and body language – are projecting what you want to get across, you can use the amazing power of ….. your imagination.

If you were about to get on stage to give the performance of your life, wouldn’t you rehearse? Well – how about it? Set aside time and rehearse, much as you would if you were about to do a theatrical performance. Imagine it as vividly as you can, including the surroundings, what you are wearing, what the other person or people are like, what they say, and what you say. Imagine feeling strong and confident. Imagine it all the way through, from the very beginning, all the way to “winning” and the feelings of triumph and jubilation that accompany the win.

Your Inner Doubter Can Be Your Best Ally

Unlike a pre-scripted performance, you’ll also want to rehearse how you will deal with any “curve balls” they may throw your way. Get really creative. Here is where your inner doubter can become your best ally. All of the “but what ifs” that this inner doubter can come up with – rehearse the best possible scenario that would still move you forward toward your desired outcome. Play and have some fun with this. The more bases you cover, the less likely you are to get tripped up during the real event.

It’s especially powerful to actually speak out loud as you do this rehearsing – practice actually getting the words out of your mouth, and experience for yourself whether or not you “sound convincing.”

Practice, Practice Practice

Because your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between the real event, and this imagined one (just think of the emotions you can experience while sitting in a comfortable seat in a movie theater), each time you imagine it is real. Athletes use this all the time, going through their event in their mind hundreds of times, so that by the time they arrive at the competition, it’s just another replay, rather than “the first time”. You can do this, too, so that your next interview is just another in a long line of successes.

The more you use this technique of rehearsing, and imagining the optimal outcome, the more you can also increase your belief, your overall sense that it will turn out the way you’re hoping – for example, that you will get a job offer, or get the sale. Take your practice runs all the way through to getting the desired result and feeling the excitement of the win. This is crucial to the process, because it increases your belief, and that will show up in your communication in terms of body language and tonality that are congruent with being the winner, and achieving the desired result.

Prepare your mental game, and you’ll increase your chances of a successful outcome. Don’t wait for “real” opportunities to practice. You can master most anything with enough practice, and practice is one of the easiest things to do – simply set aside the time, and leverage the power of your amazing mind to increase your odds of winning. Run through it over and over again until you can do it in your sleep. Perhaps you know some people you can bring into your game, and have them play some of the other characters in your practices. This can be a powerful way to practice as well, but it’s not necessary – your own imagination is enough. The more times you play it through successfully in advance, the more likely you’ll get the result you’re striving for.

Negotiating Skills – Dealing With ‘em Smart

Kevin Spacey made it seem like very serious business in “The Negotiator” and we agree with him! It is important that budding entrepreneurs equip themselves with a strategy for effective negotiation. Why, you ask? Its simple… every one thinks about their own selves, avers Dale Carnegie of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” fame. Doing smart business is often a question of striking deals that are attractive to others while serving one’s own interests. This is where good negotiating skills come in handy.

Negotiating skills are needed during all business interactions, be it acquiring a new client, striking deals with suppliers, hiring new employees or even keeping the ones you have. Bear a couple of things in mind to negotiate well:

The personal touch: Whatever be the deal you are trying to negotiate, keeping in contact with the other party is essential. By this we do not mean fixing appointments over the answering machine! Ideally, one should make an effort to meet the client or vendor in person. This will not only secure the other parties’ attention but also give you a chance to assess them closely.

Understand the terrain: The strategy you employ during negotiations will depend upon the other party as well. For instance, if you have common interests, collaboration is the most likely outcome. Compromise is yet another outcome, wherein both parties settle for something a little short of their individual targets. But if your groundwork is strong, you could be calling the shots. Be a patient listener and try to get as much as possible out of the other person; this will put you in the driver’s seat. Prepare and play your cards well, else you could find yourself accommodating more and more concessions.

Aim high: While the idea is to make the deal as beneficial as possible, that’s probably what the other person is going for as well. So, define your targets and keep them high enough to ensure that you do not lose out in the bargain. Ensure a fairly large margin to play with. While setting goals, stick to what is best for your company, (reputation included) rather than that which merely enhances profits. Remember to be discreet about your own goals while negotiating; keep the opponent guessing about what’s on your mind!

Keep the ball rolling: Good negotiating skills require adopting an active stance. For every problem the other party comes up with, discuss possible solutions. Be enthusiastic and persuasive; emphasize common ground and stress on the benefits of the deal to the other person. Unexpected opportunities might emerge during the dialog; hence be prepared to request for more time, if you need to consult with others. Likewise, if dispensable clauses seem to be getting in the way, compromising on them is probably the best thing to do.

See which way the wind blows: Don’t hesitate to make or seek clarifications as this will avoid confusion later. Think twice before you agree to anything new on the spot; there might be more to it than what is obvious. Keep your ears and eyes open for any changes that might not be in the best interest of your business. Calling off a deal that is a no deal is just as important as negotiating well.

Face roadblocks head on: While conflicts are common to all negotiations, they need to be handled with caution. Suggest temporary solutions to problems until they can be discussed at length later. This way you could buy more time to tackle those difficulties efficiently. If there are more than two people on either side then call for a vote to resolve the setback.

The devil is in the details: Once you see the deal through, take care to outline the terms and conditions carefully. Specify the validity of the contract and clauses addressing compensation if the deal falls out among other things. Do this meticulously to avoid loopholes. Attention to minute details will help save precious time and money, should the tide turn against you. Look before you leap; don’t make any commitments before the deal is down in black and white.

There might come a time when it seems like the discussion is headed nowhere; stay patient and focused through it. “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In” by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury and Bruce Patton , could be a good start for those of you wanting to nail the deal at top speed . “Interviewing, Counseling, and Negotiating: Skills for Effective Representation” by Robert M. Bastress and Joseph D. Harbaugh, could improve your negotiating skills a great deal. If poor communication has been getting in the way of your negotiating skills, solve your problem .

Finally, be confident about yourself and your offer; most importantly, end the discussion on a good note, whether you decide for or against the arrangement. With our tips to guide you, “The Negotiator” could well be your second name!