Negotiation Tip of the Week
“A bully is someone waiting to be put in his place. Ask the right questions to do so.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
“Negotiate Better With Better Questions To Combat A Bully”
Have you given thought to how you can combat a bully based on the questions you ask? A bully, in this case, can be anyone that intentionally attempts to intimidate you in any environment (you’re always negotiating). Questions posed to yourself before a negotiation and to a bully during a negotiation will impact the flow of the negotiation.
Consider thinking about the following questions before engaging a bully in and during a negotiation.
Questions to ask yourself:
- I know the person I’ll be negotiating with has a reputation for being perceived as a bully when he negotiates. How can I change his demeanor before entering the negotiation? This question will help you focus on the strategy you’ll develop for the negotiation.
- Why has the bully targeted me to negotiate with and what bullying strategies might he use in our negotiation? This question will give you insight into how the bully sees you. Based on the answers, you may have to do something to get the bully to alter his perception of you. From there, you can determine how to reposition yourself in the bully’s eyes to combat him.
- What weaknesses does he sense in me? Having this insight before the negotiation will allow you the opportunity to strengthen your negotiation skills per the best negotiation strategies you can use to combat him.
- Who else has he negotiated with as harshly as his reputation indicates he’ll do with me? Who has he not negotiated with as harshly and why did he adopt the approach he did with that entity? Having information about the bully’s past negotiation demeanor will allow you to understand who the bully fears and why. From there, you might consider allying yourself with that source.
Questions to ask bully:
- Why are you projecting the type of negotiation behavior you’re emitting? This question will open a dialog between you and the bully. It’ll also put the bully on notice that you’re aware of his actions. Note any behavior change from this point.
- Ask her, what’s the best outcome you’re seeking from this negotiation? All you’re attempting to do in this case is uncover any potential hidden agendas that she’s not put on the table. Once you have this insight, you can decide what adjustments you’re willing to make.
- Another question is, do you have a problem with me personally or professionally? In her reply, she’ll disclose whether she has personal issues that emanate from her gender, ethnicity, or another source. Regardless of the reply, you will have gained additional insight as to the source of her motivation. If it’s something you can’t change (e.g. she doesn’t like your gender or ethnicity), you can let her know that’s an issue you can’t alter. Then, ask if she wishes to continue the negotiation in a more amicable manner. Either way, you will have let her know that you can become someone to contend with if she pursues the negotiation in which she’s doing.
Questions impact everyday life. In a negotiation, the right questions asked at the right time can enhance or detract from your negotiation position. In your future negotiations, give careful consideration to the questions you ask yourself and the opposing negotiator. In particular, consider asking questions that will have the greatest impact on the bully and those that will add the most value to your negotiation efforts. Doing so will better align you and your efforts for a successful negotiation outcome … and everything will be right with the world.
What are your takeaways? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com
Remember, you’re always negotiating.