Everyone seeks to obtain and exercise control in a negotiation. Thus, the more control you have and exercise it the more enhanced your negotiation efforts will be. Since all parties involved in a negotiation are attempting to exercise more control throughout the negotiation, obtaining control can be a dicey proposition.
This article explores how to obtain and exercise more control in your negotiations.
Control in a negotiation is perceptional. Thus, both negotiators will presume they have some form of control at different stages of the negotiation. To assess the degree of control you have versus that which the opposing negotiator has, try to understand his mindset. Some people are more easily controlled than others, simply because they seek to be controlled. They want you to lead them. You can exploit that aspect of their negotiation mindset but be cautious not to project that you’re attempting to take advantage of such a person. If you’re negotiating with someone of that ilk, oblige, by leading them. Make sure that they’re not giving the appearance to be led for the purpose of having you disclose your game plan for the negotiation.
Another way to obtain control is to act human. Saying, I’m sorry to someone in the appropriate situation humanizes you. It also sends the subliminal signal that indicates you don’t think you’re so great that you can’t make a mistake. While saying you’re sorry can be beneficial in a negotiation, you must also be aware that it can give the opposing negotiator a mental boost if he thinks you’re weak in doing so. Thus, when controlling a situation you must be aware to what degree expressing your sorrow enhances or detracts from your negotiation position.
In exercising control in a negotiation, you have to understand the purpose for which you seek control. Identify the psychological reasoning behind your efforts. Question to what degree you may be seeking control to soothe or enhance your ego (i.e. even the score from a prior negotiation, positioning so as not to be taken advantage of, matching the style of the opposing negotiator, etc.) Seek any and all sources that may be motivating you. It’s very important to understand your own mindset that drives you to seek control. Understanding your mindset will give you a sense as to why you engage in certain actions during the negotiation. Assess the mindset of the opposing negotiator for the same reason.
Body language Signals:
When considering the validity of the body language emitted by the opposing negotiator, observe a softer voice tone from one that may have been used previously, possibly sitting/pulling back from the negotiation table, and/or a lowered head. Such body language signals will denote a subdued mindset. Be aware when such demeanor changes. That could signal the beginning of efforts to regain control.
There are a lot of moving pieces when seeking, obtaining, and exercising control in a negotiation. The more observant you are per the above insights, the more attuned you’ll be to signals that indicate when to seek control and how to validate it. In so doing, you’ll become a more consistent winning negotiator … and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!