“The way you think determines the way you’ll act. Be mindful of what your mind thinks of to think and act better.” –Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
In a negotiation, psychology is everything. Negotiators strive to alter the mind of the other negotiator via the strategies they use. They do so for obvious reasons; they want to win, and thus they attempt to shift the mental perception of the other negotiator mind.
If you want to win more negotiations, you have to mind your mind, while altering the mindset of the opposing negotiator, by minding his mind too.
The following are thoughts you can use to shift the mindset of the person with whom you’re negotiating.
- Identify what’s important to the other negotiator.
- You can accomplish this by asking, ‘what outcome are you seeking from this negotiation?’ To be more subtle, you can ask, ‘what would you like to see occur today?’ You’ll receive feedback. Then, as the negotiation progresses, see how far the other negotiator will go to achieve his stated outcome, and what he’s willing to concede to get it. This might be easier said than done, because he may ask for things that are unreasonable to see how much he can get. So, be careful to confirm what has been stated as being important, versus what you see in the form of the other negotiator’s actions. His actions will give you more insight than his words. Thus, always pay more attention to actions than words!
- Read his body language and you read his mind.
- Some negotiators think, if someone has their arms crossed, they’re not open or receptive to an offer. Depending upon where you are in the negotiation process, that can be true or false. First, always establish the baseline of the other negotiator to determine how he uses his body in a ‘normal’ situation (whatever normal is for him). Then, compare what his normal body usage is to the changes he emits when he’s stressed, calm, contemplative, and/or reflective. As an example, if he’s jovial throughout the negotiation and makes gestures with his hands up and open, take note when his hands are turned down and he’s pulling his gestures towards himself. The latter could denote a shift in his paradigm. Depending on how such might influence the negotiation, you should take an appropriate action to align his mind with your thoughts.
- Use microexpressions to identify real thoughts and emotions.
- Microexpressions are mental displays of emotion that are unfiltered by the mind before they’re displayed. They last for no more than one second. Since the mind does not filter the action before it’s committed, the display you see is real. There are 7 micro-expressions that are generic to everyone on the planet. They are, fear, anger, disgust, surprise, contempt, happiness, and sadness. I’ll use ‘disgust’ as an example of how you might use a microexpression to validate a gesture you observe. When disgust is exhibited, the exhibitor will appear to have his upper lip raised towards his nose as though something doesn’t smell right. Through that action, he’s telling you that your offer doesn’t appeal to him. Take note that he may display the same signs when making an offer if he doesn’t think you’ll accept it, or know it’s not a good offer. In such case, he may be testing you to see how you’ll react to his offer.
There are many psychological insights one can glean and use to alter the other negotiator’s mind during a negotiation. The better adept you become at using the above suggestions, the greater your negotiation outcomes will be … and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!