Do you ever lose your head in a negotiation? Most people have done so at one point or another. Losing your head can come in the form of not addressing a situation such that you maximize it. It can come in the form of saying something that alienates the other negotiator. It can even come in the form of implementing the wrong strategy. Regardless of the cause, it can be deadly. The point is, when you lose your head, get it back into the negotiation as quickly as possible. The following are ways to do so.
Understand what caused you to lose your head:
- Knowing what caused you to lose your head puts you a step ahead of where you’d be if you were not aware of its cause. Being aware of such allows you to reel your emotions in. What that means is you can mentally shift your perspective. The degree of time it takes to do so will be the defining factor that determines how long your head is out of the negotiation.
Assess the impact of your actions:
- In some cases, the appearance of losing your head can serve as an advantageous act with some negotiators. It can also be a distant death kneel with others. In either case, if you’re at fault and the cost of repair is not too great, give a reason for your lack of control, apologize and indicate it won’t happen again. Take note of the mental temperature of the other negotiator from that point to determine how he’s settling back to normalcy.
Determine viability of corrective actions:
- Aligned with ‘Assess the impact …’, you can seek the input/advice of the other negotiator as to what he would have you do to make the negotiation better (i.e. as the result of you losing your head). Since a good negotiator always attempts to benefit from any position he finds himself in (i.e. maximize the upside and minimize the downside), seek insight from which you can gain an advantage. At a minimum, you’ll gain insight into the other negotiator’s demeanor and a sense of direction in which he’d like to take the negotiation.
Observe the flow of power:
- There are several aspects of power that can cause one to feel exhilarated or subjugated. If you feel you have the power in a negotiation and then it’s taken away, especially as the result of something that was unforeseen, you might lose your head. Since power ebbs and flows in a negotiation, if a loss of power is the cause of you becoming dismayed, focus on what you can do to regain it.
The determining factor in one losing one’s head is usually associated with a negative occurrence that was unexpected. The catch-all would be, always expect the unexpected. Since that’s fairyland and we’re dealing with the real world, as you plan for the negotiation think of anything and everything that might cause you to lose your head. Then, prepare to deal with it. You may not think of everything, but to the degree you think of situations that might occur and they do, you’ll be prepared for them. As such you’ll be less likely to lose your head … and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!