“3 Every Day Power Secrets You Can Use To Help Negotiate Better” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“To negotiate better, you must know when, and how, to use your sources of power.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“3 Every Day Power Secrets

You Can Use To Help Negotiate Better”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

He said, “To negotiate better in a power negotiation, you must know the secrets of power, along with how and when to use them. And there are three power secrets that will help you negotiate better in any negotiation.” That was the advice a master negotiator gracefully imparted to a rising negotiator seeking to increase her negotiation skills.

Are you aware of the powerful secrets that the master negotiator was referring to? Do you know how to use power secrets to control negotiations? If you are unaware of those secrets or want to increase your negotiation abilities, continue.

Secrets of Power

What makes some people better negotiators than others? Is it the skills they’ve amassed? Does it depend on with whom a person is negotiating? The answer to both questions is yes.

Good negotiators know how to use the right tactics in the right situation. Master negotiators know how to use the right tactics and strategies in the right situation, and they know the degrees of difference in how and when to apply them.

That is the secret of power in a negotiation. And even more, there are three facets of power that one can use to enrich one’s negotiation efforts. They are positional power, relationship power, and informational power.

Positional Power

You may be familiar with the story of an unpleasant stand-by passenger who became frosty in his efforts to get aboard an overbooked flight. In attempting to display his importance, he asked the gate attendant, “Do you know who I am?” To which the gate attendant thrust the microphone in the waiting area to her mouth and said, “A man is standing before me that does not know who he is; does anyone know him?

The man in this situation attempted to use positional power, his importance, to bend the gate attendant to his will. In reality, in that situation, the gate attendant had the power. She could determine who would and would not get on the overbooked flight. And due to the man’s frosty demeanor, he most likely diminished his chances of getting on board.

While the man may have legitimate power in other environments, the airport was not one of them. Always be aware of the limits of your positional power. And never allow your ego to worsen your position during your negotiations. To the degree you control it, you will negotiate better.    

Relationship Power

Question: What is the value of a relationship? Answer: It depends. Some negotiators refer to relationships with individuals the opposing negotiator knows during negotiations. They subliminally suggest derived benefits or detriments their opposition might derive from those relationships. That helps shape how the negotiator displaying the information is perceived.

To use relationship power to increase your negotiation efforts, consider what the other negotiator might obtain from your connections; be sure that those connections are individuals he admires or fears. Based on your chosen direction, introduce the appropriate relationship into the negotiation. And then assess the impact that has on your counterpart.

In some situations, you may see a smile displayed. That may indicate that person’s desire to acquire a closer relationship with that individual; he may infer that you could become the catalyst to accomplish that desire.

Whatever your perception of the action you witness, follow up with a question (e.g., what are you thinking?)  The point is, the more you can leverage the relationships you have with others, the more credible you may appear. And that will allow you to negotiate better.

Informational Power

In negotiations, information is power – well, somewhat. The truth is, applied information is what turns it into power. Thus, you can use it as leverage if you possess essential information that is key to the negotiation process.

How might one use informational power in a negotiation? Engage your imagination as we return to the situation with the gate attendant and the upset man that wanted a seat on an overbooked flight.

Suppose the irritated man personally knew the president of the airline and suggested to the gate attendant that he would speak highly of her efforts to keep things running smoothly amid the chaos to the president; in this scenario, he would not have approached the agent with the, “Do you know who I am,” question.  

The man has information, his relationship with the airline president that can benefit the agent. The suggested quid pro quo to the agent is, find me a seat on the flight, and I will speak highly of you.

Never discount the value of information. And always consider the best time to offer or use it in a negotiation. It will help you negotiate better.


To successfully use any power secrets in a negotiation, you must know how to apply them. In some situations, a stern approach may be required. At other times, the softness of a feather will be more appropriate.

While more power secrets can be exposed, you will negotiate better by maintaining control and awareness of the three power secrets mentioned and their sources. Using these secrets of power will also enhance your negotiation efforts while increasing your outcomes. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!  

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