“Conflation in a negotiation can be the bridge that leads you to the discovery of success”. –Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
When you negotiate, do you consider how you can tie (conflate) your point to prior or current situations that the opposing negotiator already holds as being valid? Conflation for the point of this negotiation strategy is the act of associating two or more thoughts that link your perspective to one the opposing negotiator views as having validity. Conflation can be used in any phase of the negotiation.
The way to use conflation is to draw the attention of the opposing negotiator to a point he’ll immediately recognize as being valid. This can be something that is or has been in the news recently or any source that he believes to be valid. If you can’t direct his attention to such a point via something that’s current, search for something in his past that he’ll agree to as being valid; something that’s closer to your current negotiation time frame will have more sway with him and impact him more. Then, mention how your point is tied to that occurrence and allow him the time to mentally let that association seep into his mind. When such has occurred (watch his body language to gain insight that it has occurred), ask him if he sees the logic in your point. If he says he doesn’t ‘get it’, be sure that he’s not ‘playing dumb’ (different negotiation strategy to be aware of), and seek to clarify his lack of comprehension until he ‘gets the point’.
Conflation is a tactic that sounds overly simple to utilize and therein lies why it’s is so effective. The other negotiator has already made the mental connection to the point that you’ve highlighted as being valid, which becomes more difficult to deny or argue against, since he’s accepted it as being valid. Thus, it’s a logical step for him to connect your point to the position you’ve adopted, which gives your point more validity in his mind.
To become more dynamic at the negotiation table, always consider how you can conflate points that are perceived as being valid, with the points you’re attempting to make. Once the opposing negotiator senses the validity of your conflated points, he’ll be more apt to accept it and feel a kinship with it. After all, the subliminal thought is the fact that you’ve shown the viability of your point that he’s already accepted as being valid from another source. For him to deny such, he’d be arguing with himself. That alone would make the score two against one (i.e. him and his faulty logic against you). Thus, by using conflation in your negotiations, you position yourself to win more negotiations … and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!