“Control, like power, is perceptional. Thus, the more you exercise control over power, the more powerful the perception will be.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
“Exercising Control Will Make You A More Powerful Negotiator”
The perception of power is a two-way process in a negotiation; the projector sees it from one perspective and the receiver views it from another. Based on the reaction of either, the perception gets revised and the loop continues. As a negotiator, to control the perception of power, control its flow.
There are potential perils to losing one’s temper in a negotiation. It’s the pitfall of losing control of the negotiation process. When a negotiator’s mind becomes hijacked by anger, it becomes less capable of reasoning. That can lead to unintended consequences. Even if you should become angered during a negotiation, maintain control of your emotions. Don’t allow your anger to be sensed or shown. The better you control that display, the less insight the other negotiator will have of your thoughts.
Power can be an enhancer or detractor based on the order of your offers/counteroffers. To enhance your power, depending on the circumstances, consider whether you’ll lead with your weaker or stronger offers. By controlling the order of your offers, you’ll have greater control of the negotiation. To enhance that effort, consider how you’ll escalate or de-escalate the pressure brought by the order of your offerings. You’ll be exercising the control of power and therein will lie the leverage you’ll gain from doing so.
Know What’s Important:
You derive power based on what’s important in a negotiation and to the degree you can fulfill the other negotiator’s desires. That means, you must align your offerings to match the needs of that negotiator. As an example, if you think the other negotiator’s main interest is monetary, and he’s really interested in the betterment of society, you’ll waste your efforts by attempting to maximize his monetary gains. Your perspective will not match his value proposition.
Always know definitively what is most important to the other negotiator before attempting to sway him with powerful offers. To do otherwise is to weaken your position and the power that it assumes.
What should you do when the opposing negotiator’s position is as powerful as yours? You can feign weakness to get him to display the sources of his power; remember, power is perceptional – that means, you’re attempting to get him to display why he thinks his position is powerful. Once you acquire that insight, you’ll be in a better position to adjust and implement your negotiation plan to address his perspective.
On the other hand, you can adopt a power position by displaying your sources of power. If you do, be sure that your power will supplant his. If it doesn’t, once again, you’ll weaken your position.
In a negotiation, when you’re in a power position, if you use it wisely you’ll enhance its abilities. Conversely, if you’re perceived as being overbearing, you’ll diminish your power’s strength. In that case, others will eventually team up to combat your unruliness. They’ll fortify their barriers to thwart your power. Always be mindful of the flow of power, the source of that flow, and what it will take to control it. Doing so will allow you to enhance your negotiation efforts … and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!