When you negotiate, are you psychologically aware of the psychological perceptions that cause you to observe and/or not observe different aspects that impact your perspective during the negotiation?
In the picture above, what did you observe first? If you’re like most people you probably observed the spider, because it was surrounded by red. Colors influence your perception and what you observe.
The color red symbolizes danger, passion, power, energy, love, and strength, which is another reason why you may have observed the spider first. Your brain automatically focused on the spider to assess to what degree danger might be lurking. Psychologically speaking, consider how other such nuances draw your attention during the negotiation. Some may serve as distractions.
From a psychological viewpoint:
- When assessing and offer/counteroffer, also consider its intrinsic value to determine how valuable it is.
- Think about what you’re seeking. Do you want a quick outcome, a one-time engagement? If so, you may negotiate more stringently. If instead, you’re looking at establishing a longer relationship, you may consider being more contemplative about your negotiation style.
- Be comfortable with a lack of direction so you don’t create stress within yourself. Caution: Don’t become so complacent that you lose your sense and purpose of the negotiation. When you’re unsure of what to do, based on where you’d like to be, compared to the direction the negotiation is heading, take a time out. Just remember not to allow stress to control you. You have to control stress.
- Think about the demeanor you project and how it’s perceived. If it’s perceived to be overbearing, you may place someone on the defense, which in turn may cause you to become defensive.
The point is when negotiating, observe what you focus on and know/understand why it warrants your attention. Also, realize while you’re focusing on whatever is drawing your attention to it, you’re not focused on other aspects that might be beneficial to your negotiation position.
When negotiating, you must be cognizant of the environment, the strategy being employed against you, the strategy you’re attempting to employ, and the impact that all of those variables are having on the negotiation.
Remember, in a negotiation different aspects of the negotiation will have different meanings and impacts upon you at different times. Focus on what’s most important during the time that you’re negotiating in a particular phase of the negotiation while being mindful of how that phase and the actions you and the opposing negotiator implement affect the other phases of the negotiation. Consider where your actions will lead based on the goals you have for future negotiations (you’re always negotiating).
Understand that your negotiation actions will not be linear (e.g.1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) They may be 1, 4, 3, 2, etc. Be adaptable!
From a psychological perspective, if you don’t take steps to improve your negotiation skills, your negotiation skills will never become improved. Thus, psychologically, the more you focus on being a better negotiator, by learning new tactics and strategies along with reading body language, the easier your negotiations will be. It won’t be because your negotiations become easier, it’ll be due to your diligence in becoming a better negotiator … and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!