“Darkness will always conceal from the light that which the light doesn’t expose.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
When you negotiate, do you see what’s missing in the negotiation? Are you attuned to how words are pronounced per any hidden meanings they might possess? Too many times, too many negotiators miss vital clues when negotiating. Those missed clues could be missed opportunities that might lead to a better outcome.
The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. That statement has been used to heighten the perspective that, just because we don’t know something exists doesn’t mean it doesn’t. In a negotiation, we must heighten our perspective for who may not be at the negotiation table that’s calling the shots. We must also be mindful of the person that represents herself as the decision maker and in reality, she’s a stand-in.
… and the dog didn’t bark. There are multiple questions that this situation could pose. Where was the dog? Should the dog have barked? Did someone do something to stop the dog from barking?
There are many reasons why you may not observe a piece of vital information that may be right in front of you when negotiating. To become more aware:
- Increase your situational awareness. That means you should mentally prepare yourself to be more attuned to what will occur during the negotiation. You will already have developed your negotiation plans highlighting the strategies and tactics you expect to employ before the negotiation, but you’ll also layer those plans with the obscene. The obscene can entail something that is so outlandish that you’d think it would never occur; good negotiators flourish in the outlandish in an attempt to get the other negotiator to flounder. So, don’t take this ploy lightly. Also, by employing this strategy, you’ll uncover hidden thoughts that might come up during the negotiation and/or thoughts that will lead you to higher thoughts.
- Have people on your team designated to observe certain aspects that occur during the negotiation. As an example, you can have someone listening to the words used to express spoken thoughts of the person with whom you’re negotiating. That person would also seek to determine how such words were positioned, along with inflections, to assess any hidden meanings contained in the words. That designee could also be tasked with assessing what was not said; what’s not said can have as much, if not more of an impact, on someone’s hidden meaning. That same individual might also observe the body language gestures displayed to determine how synchronized someone’s words and body language gestures are aligned, along with when synchronization did not occur (note: when words are not synchronized with body gestures, the words have a higher probability of being misleading.)
- In preparation for vital negotiations, make sure you’re well rested and hydrated. In any situation that may be infused with angst or anxiety, your physiology will play a key role in how you interact in the situation. Thus, being well rested and hydrated will allow you to think better and more clearly. To add to your magnification of focus, be sure not to eat foods that will make you lethargic.
- Slow down or speed up the pace at which you normally present and consume information. Doing so will alter the way you see and think. It will also alter the perspective of the other negotiator because he’ll be responding at rates you control.
There are a lot of moving pieces in a negotiation. Some are seen, inferred, and others are unseen and/or inferred. To gain a better grasp of the unseen, consider employing the steps above. You’ll see more of what’s missing in the negotiation, which will allow you to shine a light into the crevices in which the unseen hides. That will lead to more negotiation wins for you … and everything will be right with the world.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them. You can reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com
Remember, you’re always negotiating!