Negotiation Positioning Successfully Boost Health Care Summit – Not

In the negotiations at the Health Care Summit that recently concluded in the U.S., the winner was … nobody, or was it? In a negotiation, positioning plays a key role in the manner by which negotiators negotiate. Positioning partly entails establishing the image, style of negotiations, and attitudes you’ll display and project throughout the negotiations.

In observing some of the maneuverings that occurred at the Health Care Summit, it appeared that the whole ‘event’ was a melodrama, cloaked as a staged optical illusion, disguised as ‘getting something done’ for the American people.

(For additional insight, view my comments on the Neil Cavuto show by visiting my Press Room page, or go directly to the source:  http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/4054072/how-health-reform-should-be-managed/  )

This expose highlights negotiation strategies you can employ, based on the manner in which the participants engaged one another at the Summit.

Seating:

  • The Democrats and Republicans could have arranged the seating so its members were interspersed with one another. Had the seating been such, both parties would have had to agree to the arrangement before hand, and the stage would have been set for less hostility. Subliminally, it could have promoted more camaraderie.  

When you negotiate, consider the seating arrangement.  Adjust it to suit your purpose for the negotiation.

Talking Points:

  • Neither party strayed far from their talking points. The Democrats said things like, “the bill had a lot of agreements that the Republicans put forth, we’re not that far apart, we’re close, the bill is not that radical, let’s find common ground”. The Republicans said things like, “start over, start with a clean sheet of paper, scrap this bill, go step by step, the bill was ‘painted’ as having been created in the back room without the Republicans participation”.

When you infuse a negotiation with such rhetoric, you preset mindsets not to seek common ground. In addition, such resounding rhetoric creates a hypnotic mental state for one to maintain his perspective, making him less open to alternatives.

Optics:

  • Politicians have to be very mindful of the image they project. The cliché, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is probably truer in politics than any other professions. That being the case, the politicians in attendance at the Summit were very concerned with their ‘appearance’ and how it would ‘play’ back home.

During a negotiation, consider how you might be advantaged or disadvantaged from ‘the way things look’. In some situations, you may acquire value, or be devalued, based on who’s in attendance. Case in point from a political perspective, one of the attendees from the Republican Party is facing a tough primary fight in his home state. If he was in a picture with the president, appearing to be very ‘chummy’, an opponent could use the picture against that politician, to depict ‘how close’ the politician’s views are to the president. Mind you, his views could be the opposite of the president, but the picture could ‘pose’, or create, a different perception.

Body Language:

  • From a body language standpoint, depending upon which party was speaking, the participants from the other party conveyed signs of stiffness, constant evaluation, skepticism, and total disagreement in some cases.

If you maintain a rigid body position, your mental state of mind will convey your thoughts. You’ll also be less likely to possess an open mind, when it comes to the possibility of alternate solutions. If you want to maintain a free lane for alternate thoughts to flow in your negotiations, loosen up.

Name Calling:

  • At the Summit, the president referred to most attendees by their first name. In so doing, psychologically he marginalized them. In return, they had to call him Mr. President, out of respect for the office he holds.

As you negotiate, observe situations in which you can enhance your esteem. By doing so, you’ll increase your persona and have more sway over the other negotiator. You’ll also reduce the possible insolence he might display.

Use these strategies in your next negotiation. In so doing, you’ll be rewarded by achieving more of what you seek from a negotiation … and everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Tips Are …

  • Consider the ‘optics’ of how your offer and your point of view will be perceived.
  • In the positioning planning process, consider how you might ‘reframe’ (present differently) your position, to make it more appealing.
  • Before negotiating, consider incentives you might use to entice the other negotiator to move in a specific direction.

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