When you negotiate, have you considered the power consistency has, or the lack of it, on a negotiation? In negotiations, as in life, consistency gives insight into the direction in which any endeavor is moving. When negotiating, consistency can be the driver of the negotiation from a positive or negative perspective.
Consistency imparts insight into the mind of the individuals we deal with. If someone is consistently late for a meeting, you know to allot an extra amount of time to that individual when planning a meeting. That’s not to say allotting extra time is the correct thing to do; I only highlight the fact to point out the value of consistency. In essence, you can always plan accordingly when dealing with this individual. On the other hand, if the individual is on time one time and late the next and continues to alternate in a manner that does not allow you to discern a pattern, you’ll more than likely become more upset with the individual as the situation progresses.
When you negotiate, you can use the power of consistency to create rapport, break rapport, increase the pace of the negotiation, slow it down, or manipulate it in the manner that best suits the purposes of the negotiation.
How then can you use consistency to influence your negotiations?
1. To build rapport
a. Throughout the negotiation, abide by that to which you agree
b. If there’s a point in question, address it, agree upon a solution and don’t bring it up again.
c. If you wish to break rapport, be inconsistent. Agree on a point and then turnaround and disagree upon the point you just agreed
2. Change the pace of the negotiation
a. People speak at a pace to which they’re comfortable. If you wish to alter their pace, speak faster or slower. By doing so, you will influence their thoughts. They may think you’ve become more reflective when you speak slower, or that you’re getting upset or excited when you speak faster. In either case, if you’re consistent with one speech pace for a period in the negotiation, you will have succeeded in influencing the negotiation.
3. There are many other ways to use consistency to influence a negotiation. If you’d like more information on this dynamic tactic, send me an e-mail at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com – I’d also be interested to hear how you’ve used consistency in your negotiations.
If you abide by the suggestions above, you’ll find, depending upon the person with whom you’re negotiating, that you’ll endear greater respect and possess a higher ability to get past impasses in your negotiations … and everything will be right with the world.
The Negotiation Tips Are …
- When it comes to consistency, know and understand the power of this tool.
- Different negotiators are influenced by consistency and the lack of it. Assess the skills of the other negotiator before delving too deeply into the negotiation to determine how he will respond to consistency as a tactic.
- Consistency as a negotiation tool, if used inappropriately can cause more harm than good.