“This Is How To Use Stories And Increase Negotiation Outcomes” – Negotiation Insight

“To forego the exploration of stories is to sacrifice the unimaginable.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“This Is How To Use Stories And Increase Negotiation Outcomes”

People don’t realize; they’re always negotiating.

I recall the time I purchased a luxury vehicle. As I drove the car off the dealer’s lot, I felt a sense of pride. Then, I thought to myself, the color of this car is gold! What will my serious-minded business clients think when they see me in a gold-colored vehicle? Will they question my seriousness about addressing their business? At that point, I was only a few miles from the dealership. I turned around, went back to the dealer, and told the salesperson I didn’t want the car because my clients wouldn’t take me seriously in a gold-color luxury vehicle. I elaborated by using stories of people in my industry that had lost business due to the perception that prospects had of them. Then, I stated that I sought to increase business, not lose it.  We entered a new round of negotiation, which turned out to save me 20 thousand dollars. 

Have you ever considered how telling the right story, at the right time, can increase your negotiation outcomes? It’s true; because the appropriate narrative can tug at the emotions of the other negotiator, which can make him more amenable to being persuaded. The following are components that make up a good story and insights about when you might apply them in your negotiation.

Storytelling Ebb And Flow

Like a negotiation, a story has high and low points. It contains sometimes unpredictable drama, and that keeps your heartbeat racing. And like a negotiation, the more you control aspects that occur in a story, per the order you present insights, the more control you’ll have over the subject listening to the tale you’re telling. Thus, there’s a specific process that you can follow to enhance your negotiation and storytelling efforts. And by following the process, you’ll improve the likelihood of your stories having a more significant impact on the other negotiator.

Storytelling Preparation

In the planning stages of your negotiation, consider which stories you might tell that’ll move the other negotiator to experience emotions – the more profound the feelings, the better. Consider the points in the negotiation at which you’ll apply your narrative, the expected impact you believe it’ll have, and what backup story you’ll use to follow-up on the ones you tell. Thus, it would be best if you tailored your information to trigger the emotion you seek to expose specific to the person with whom you’ll be negotiating. Also, consider multiple emotional points from which you can employ your story. By using various anecdotes to back up the situations you cite, you’ll deliver the repetition needed to make your negotiation point more feasible, which will increase your negotiation outcomes.  

Storytelling Process

Finding Your Stories

To find the appropriate story for the negotiation in which you’ll become involved, ask yourself questions about what outcome your recounts of past activities seek to achieve. In searching for the best narratives, also consider how you’ll use facts and statistics to chronicle your tales. If the other negotiator accepts them as being valid, he’ll have a more difficult time challenging their validity. And that will put him on defense. Thus, your story should attach itself to people, places, and occurrences that will have the most significant impact on your negotiation counterpart.

Crafting The Story

In determining how you’ll present your stories, think about their start, middle, and end – as an aside, you can recall segments from any point in the process later to strengthen your position. The start point of your story should highlight how things are currently – the typical state of affairs at the beginning of your narrative. From there, it should move towards something that shifts the listener’s perspective. The more emotionally powerful the shift, the better; the story I told the dealer about the potential loss of business was my way of making that shift – because a loss of business was something that he could easily understand and tie into emotionally. 

Telling The Story

As you paint your story in the mind’s eye of the other negotiator, create the vision of a new normal, one that’s improved when compared to his current state. To do that, discuss what the main character was doing, what he was feeling, and why he experienced the emotions that beset him. Add flavor to your imagery by expanding on the role auxiliary characters might have had. Make your story vivid! Your task is to give your opponent an imagination roadmap upon which he can see a brighter future by following the path you lay before him. And the more vivid and heart-felt you can make the story, the more it’ll tug at the other negotiator’s heartstrings throughout the negotiation. That’ll add more value to the motivation for him to act, which will make him more susceptible to consenting to your requests throughout the talks.


Telling stories in your negotiation can increase your negotiation opportunities, which will enhance your outcomes. Thus, it would help if you use appropriate stories appropriately every time you can employ them. Now that you have an outline of how to do so try it in your upcoming negotiations. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcomes you achieve. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://c-suitenetwork.com/radio/shows/greg-williams-the-master-negotiator-and-body-language-expert-podcast/

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Negotiation Insight,” click here https://themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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