“To control psychological safety, understand the lock that prevents it.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
How To Use It To Win More Negotiations”
People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.
Psychological safety is something everyone seeks when negotiating. And yet, some people do not understand its value; it gets stuck in their subconscious.
Thus, the awareness of psychological safety is an abstract of negotiations that people overlook. Nevertheless, it is a factor that impacts the outcome of negotiations and can help negotiators achieve their goals faster.
In this article, I discuss what psychological safety is, its benefits, how to improve its usage, and how to utilize it to win more negotiations. So, if you want to achieve more significant negotiation outcomes while understanding the value of psychological safety, continue. You will benefit from the following information.
What Is Psychological Safety
Psychological safety is an emotional feeling people have during negotiations. It refers to the level of comfort they experience. To feel secure, they must believe they can be open and engaging without the other negotiator taking advantage of them.
When negotiators feel psychologically safe, they are less stressed, more likely to be more cooperative, exchange information more freely, and open to seeking creative solutions. This mindset opens avenues for a deeper appreciation of the participant’s priorities, leading them to identify common grounds quickly and easily.
How Does Psychological Safety Benefit Negotiations
There are many benefits to using psychological safety in negotiations. The following are a few of them. Consider using the ones that might benefit you during your talks to enhance your negotiations.
1. Trust Enhancer
Environments psychologically safe fosters trust among negotiators. Thus, there must be a degree of it among negotiators for them to negotiate effectively. If it is lacking in either party, the missing degree will become the determinant factor that foretells the difficulty and success the negotiators will encounter.
2. Improved Creativity Flow
To enrich creativity in negotiations, negotiators must feel safe. A lack of safety hampers one’s ability to think fluidly. And imagination becomes impounded by the restrictions that fear instills.
To increase creativity flow during negotiations, use psychological safety. Create environments where all parties feel unincumbered to express themselves freely.
3. Conflict Reduction
Stress induces conflict. And in its absence, negotiations flow better. Accordingly, when negotiators feel safe, they become more interested in outcomes and less interested in conflict engagement. That is another benefit of psychological safety in negotiations.
To reduce the degree of conflict that otherwise might engulf your negotiation, address potential conflicts as they enter the threshold of your talks. Do so in a meaningful and non-threatening manner. The more you invoke psychological safety into the process, the more successful you will be at curbing conflicts, and that will enhance the negotiation process.
How To Improve Psychological Safety In Negotiations
As in any negotiation, psychological safety is paramount. So, how can negotiators improve and increase their negotiation efforts? That is what this section addresses. It starts with:
1. Creating Ground Rules
In any environment, rules set the boundaries for engagement. That is why establishing ground rules for the negotiation is so important. If negotiators create ground rules where participants feel psychologically safe, they will work supportively toward achieving their goals
2. Possessing A Non-Judgmental Attitude
Everyone enters negotiations with preconceived notions about what will occur, the type of negotiator they will deal with, and the possible difficulties they might encounter. In making that assessment, negotiators form biases.
To negotiate better in a psychologically safe environment, suspend your apprehensions. Seek to have the other negotiator do the same. The more negotiators clear their thoughts of preconceived notions, the more open-minded both will be to accepting each other as non-combatants.
3. Listen Actively
Participating in active listening allows you to hear what you might otherwise miss. Active listening also entails being attuned to what you see – body language.
Times may occur when either party becomes negatively triggered. But if psychological safety is at the forefront of the conversation, such emotions will become squelched before they have the opportunity to derail the talks.
By listening actively, you will better discern the true meaning of the word choices and gestures that someone uses to represent their thoughts. And that can happen more effectively in a psychologically safe environment.
How To Use Psychological Safety In Negotiations
1. Setting The Tone Of The Negotiation
The tone you set at the beginning of negotiations determines how the participants will interact with each other. It can enhance or detract from the feeling of being safe.
Be open, pleasant, and friendly to encourage a psychological safety tone. And seek the other negotiator’s reciprocation. Once all parties are on that page, the negotiation should proceed amicably.
2. Focus On Interest
To enhance psychological safety in negotiations, focus on a negotiator’s interests, not their position. That means placing your efforts on helping parties achieve positive outcomes; that is their genuine interest, not the position they state.
3. Problem Solving
Genuinely displaying your desire to engage in problem-solving amicably entails three things.
a.) Avoiding confrontational language (e.g., that’s a dumb idea)
b.) Highlighting points of agreement (e.g., I like what you said about ‘x,’ let’s build on that.
c.) Practicing and having the other negotiator participate in win-win negotiations
With actions focused on problem-solving in this manner, negotiators will feel more secure and freer to participate in psychologically safe settings.
Psychological safety is a potent ingredient in negotiations. Thus, if you want to have better negotiation outcomes, you will use it for the powerful tool that it is. And everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
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