“Avoid Danger In Negotiations – How To Control Conversations Better”
Two agents were working undercover as they discussed an update with their informant. They were seated in a recessed area in an attempt to keep their conversation private and to avoid danger. They wanted to control the environment as much as possible. Suddenly, a panhandler walked over and aggressively began to ask for money. One agent said pleasantly, no. But the person persisted by asking, why not? The agent said, no, again. Still, the person continued their plea for money. Finally, the agent growled as he said in a loud voice, I said no! Stunned, the beggar turned and quickly walked away.
Potential danger always surrounds you, even during negotiations (you’re always negotiating). In some cases, you avoid it by staying outside of its bounds. At other times, you prevent it by the way you control conversations in an environment.
When the agents turned their attention back to their update, the informant asked, did you think that person was dangerous? The agent said, no. That beggar didn’t accept my answer the first few times. So, I had to alter the delivery of my words. By changing the tone of my reply and sounding more hostile, the panhandler sensed my, no, response as being more definitive. That’s why he walked away at that point.
Consider the following techniques to increase your control as you negotiate with those that might attempt to be defiant or with those that you’d like to control better.
Block and Bridge
Block and bridge is one way to alter the flow of a conversation. You’d implement its use as a conversation began to head in an unwanted direction – one that you feared would cause you to lose control of the discussion or interaction. You might also consider employing it when you wanted to enhance the flow of a conversation.
To invoke its use, when someone began making statements that you disagreed with, or citing accounts not aligned with where you wanted to take the conversation, block their comments. As an example, you can say, you have a point (block), and the outcome was less than expected (bridge). I suggest we take the following approach. It’s known to have better results.
The manner you block someone’s comments depends on the severity of the situation. If it’s one that might escalate to a high degree of irritation, you might consider blocking the other person’s statements with a harsh tone and words. If that’s not required, consider being milder in your intonation and demeanor.
Answering Questions With Questions
Answering questions with questions is an excellent way to gather more information than you give. It also allows you to control a conversation. Because the person asking questions is controlling the flow of the discussion. And that occurs as long as the other party is answering questions.
To implement this strategy, ask a question in response to one that’s asked of you. Do this instead of answering the initial query. Thus, instead of providing an answer to that question, you’d respond with one of your own.
As an example, if someone says, do I have to take this course of action? Your response might be, what do you think will happen if you don’t take this course of action? You’ve not answered the question. And if you get a response, you’ve gained more insight into the individual’s thoughts. Along with a possible solution to a situation if you choose to implement that person’s response.
Listening To What’s Not Said
Many people consider themselves good communicators because they pay attention to what someone says. In reality, you can be a better communicator and control conversations better by observing what’s someone doesn’t say.
As an example, if someone said, I didn’t do what you said I did. You might consider a person’s answer to mean, I didn’t do what you said I did. Yes, I did it, but not the way you stated it.
By listening for what’s not said, and the response of how something’s said, you’ll gain better insight and control of someone’s statements. You’ll also know more about how that person is communicating. And that will be worth its weight in gold.
In every environment, and every negotiation you’re in, think about how you’ll control that environment. In particular, consider how you’ll avoid dangerous situations, what form of control you’ll use, and where that might take you in your encounter. Because the better you control conversations, the more power and control you’ll have in every negotiation and situation that you’re in … and everything will be right with the world.
“How To Be Better – Negotiator – Control Your Risky Positioning”
Positioning in a #negotiation impacts a #negotiator’s ability to #negotiate before the negotiation begins. Because the way you position yourself determines how the other negotiator will perceive you. And it’ll regulate your interactions. Thus, to be a better negotiator, you must #control any risky #positioning that might impact a negotiation.
Everyone considers what they might encounter before they engage in an activity – that’s especially true in negotiations. And it’s better you shape their perception before they do. Doing so delivers the image you wish them to have of you compared to the haphazard perspective they might create.
The following are examples to control your positioning before a negotiation occurs.
Hanging with Influencers:
You’re perceived as an influencer when you surround yourself with those that influence others – that allows you to become better positioned. To advantage your position, consider becoming seen with the influencers that’ll have the greatest impact on those that you wish to influence. That will improve your positioning based on how others perceive you.
Controlling Your Message:
People will attempt to control your message. And they may hijack its intent to serve a purpose that’s better aligned with their goals, not yours. To oppose their efforts …
Control others that attempt to control your message. Don’t let them brand you or your message if it doesn’t support your positioning – confront them when they oppose you.
Beware of ear-jackers – Ear-jackers are people that will eavesdrop on your conversations when they’re in your environment. Most likely, they’ll appear to be engaged in other activities. They may be seeking salacious information that they can twist to demean you or enhance their positioning (e.g. I heard him say ‘XYZ’. I knew there was another side to him that he doesn’t want the public to see.)
Observe what happens in slow motion. Because we’re bombarded with activities, sometimes we miss what’s before us – most occurrences happen over an extended period-of-time. Take note of the changes that occur around you daily. It’s the short-term changes that could become long-term detriments to your positioning that you should be aware of.
Be innovative – When you’re seen as an innovator, you’re viewed as someone that’s leading others to their future. If they perceive that as a benefit, they’ll follow you more readily. And when you’re at the negotiation table, they’ll be more willing to accept your offerings.
Control the flow of your messages. Always consider the impact one message will have on another when you send it into the realm of public opinion. If you initiate messages that are less important too frequently, messages that might have a greater impact on your positioning will be less potent – and the more important messages may miss your intended audience altogether.
Use Appropriate Words:
Words control emotions. And emotions control perceptions. To control your positioning better, control the words that control your message. As an example, depending on the situation, it may be beneficial to use the word squabble versus fight (e.g. we had a squabble) – that’s less impactful than, we had a fight. The exchange of those two words alters the perception of the situation.
Perception is Reality:
When it comes to controlling your positioning, perception is reality. Your integrity intentions can be in alignment with your actions and if someone taints it with their ill-will, you could become seen as someone with less integrity. That’ll impact the way the other negotiator interacts with you. That could be to the detriment of both of you and the negotiation.
Being a better negotiator starts first with how you’re positioned. It shapes the way you’re perceived at the negotiation table. It determines how the other negotiator will strategize to negotiate against you. And it will have an impact on how effective your negotiation efforts will be. To negotiate better, always pay careful attention to your messages and how they position you. Because, the better you position yourself per how you wish to be perceived, the easier the negotiation will be … and everything will be right with the world.
“Exercising Control Will Make You A More Powerful Negotiator”
The perception of power is a two-way process in a negotiation; the projector sees it from one perspective and the receiver views it from another. Based on the reaction of either, the perception gets revised and the loop continues. As a negotiator, to control the perception of power, control its flow.
There are potential perils to losing one’s temper in a negotiation. It’s the pitfall of losing control of the negotiation process. When a negotiator’s mind becomes hijacked by anger, it becomes less capable of reasoning. That can lead to unintended consequences. Even if you should become angered during a negotiation, maintain control of your emotions. Don’t allow your anger to be sensed or shown. The better you control that display, the less insight the other negotiator will have of your thoughts.
Power can be an enhancer or detractor based on the order of your offers/counteroffers. To enhance your power, depending on the circumstances, consider whether you’ll lead with your weaker or stronger offers. By controlling the order of your offers, you’ll have greater control of the negotiation. To enhance that effort, consider how you’ll escalate or de-escalate the pressure brought by the order of your offerings. You’ll be exercising the control of power and therein will lie the leverage you’ll gain from doing so.
Know What’s Important:
You derive power based on what’s important in a negotiation and to the degree you can fulfill the other negotiator’s desires. That means, you must align your offerings to match the needs of that negotiator. As an example, if you think the other negotiator’s main interest is monetary, and he’s really interested in the betterment of society, you’ll waste your efforts by attempting to maximize his monetary gains. Your perspective will not match his value proposition.
Always know definitively what is most important to the other negotiator before attempting to sway him with powerful offers. To do otherwise is to weaken your position and the power that it assumes.
What should you do when the opposing negotiator’s position is as powerful as yours? You can feign weakness to get him to display the sources of his power; remember, power is perceptional – that means, you’re attempting to get him to display why he thinks his position is powerful. Once you acquire that insight, you’ll be in a better position to adjust and implement your negotiation plan to address his perspective.
On the other hand, you can adopt a power position by displaying your sources of power. If you do, be sure that your power will supplant his. If it doesn’t, once again, you’ll weaken your position.
In a negotiation, when you’re in a power position, if you use it wisely you’ll enhance its abilities. Conversely, if you’re perceived as being overbearing, you’ll diminish your power’s strength. In that case, others will eventually team up to combat your unruliness. They’ll fortify their barriers to thwart your power. Always be mindful of the flow of power, the source of that flow, and what it will take to control it. Doing so will allow you to enhance your negotiation efforts … and everything will be right with the world.