“Limit my options and you limit my beliefs. If I allow you to limit my beliefs, I limit myself.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
“Be Alert When Options Are Being Limited”
“What do you believe and how do you arrive at your beliefs? Are you a ‘the glass is half empty or the glass is half full’ person?” Those were the questions posed when two individuals were talking. The ‘half empty or half full’ question was limited by its option. It proposed that there were only two possible answers to the question (i.e. half empty or half full). There was a third possible option not offered. The glass could have been the right size for the contents it contained. Thus, the questioner was attempting to control the thought process of the questionee by limiting the questionee’s options to two possibilities.
“Limit the options of what you want me to believe and I’ll give you my limited beliefs. But by doing so, I may give you insincerity in return.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
When given options, consider what’s omitted. Also, assess if what’s omitted is intentional. Consider if it’s done to keep you from focusing on more salient points that might serve you. When someone limits your options, they’re limiting your choices. By limiting your choices, they’re also limiting your beliefs. They’re controlling you! Don’t take that lightly.
That may sound like it’s obvious, but when you’re presented with specific options, your selections become limited. As an example, if I asked you if you’d rather be rich or happy, what might your thought be? Would you consider other options, or would you focus on the choices I presented to you? Most people wouldn’t consider other possibilities. They would focus on the choices presented.
Always be willing to expand your mind by exploring the possibilities contained in options that aren’t presented. Doing so may expose more value. That’s how you can discover your treasure. Seek yours and you’ll become more mentally enriched by knowledge … and everything will be right with the world.
What does this have to do with negotiations?
When limited by choices, one becomes limited by the options offered. While that can be constraining for you, it can also be a tactic you employ in your strategies against the other negotiator. You can best deliver it by stating your options in a rushed or calming demeanor; choose whichever is best for the situation at hand. To make it more viable, have a combination of options ready to diffuse any possible push-back you might receive. Follow that up with, “I’ve given you options. What else do you want me to do?” Remember, while you have your negotiation counterpart considering your options, you’re in control of the negotiation.
When negotiating, be alert to the choices you’re offered and the ones you offer. If the premise of those choices doesn’t fit within your spectrum of benefits, reject them while attempting to persuade the other negotiator to consider yours. By doing so, you’ll become more reflective and circumspective in your thinking about the choices you consider and extend. That will lead to more fulfilling negotiations, enhanced by more positive negotiation outcomes.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com
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