Words have power and in a negotiation, you’re perceived as being more powerful when you shrewdly use words that the other negotiator perceives as possessing strength.
When we speak, our words have an impact on the person with whom we’re conversing. Thus, we affect that person from a negative, or positive perspective, based on what we say, how we say it, and the manner in which it’s perceived. If you want your negotiations to be successful, discover how and when to use power words that influence the other negotiator and implement the following suggestions.
1. Using power words:
Power words are words that convey a stronger commitment to a position than words that would leave the listener in a precarious state of mind, related to a less than stringent perception that he otherwise might have. Some words, convey a less than strong commitment to a position (i.e. maybe, try, might, possibly, I think). In addition, by using such words, you weaken your position, while leaving yourself open to challenges. To be perceived as possessing a stronger commitment to your negotiation position, use words that convey more conviction (i.e. I know, success, will do, guarantee).
Note: To be perceived as being stronger, speak to what you’re for, not for what you’re against. Manage the level of negativity that could seep into the negotiation.
2. Before the negotiation:
Prior to the negotiation, ask yourself, what demeanor you wish to project and how much power you want to convey in the negotiation. If you project an image that’s too strong, or overbearing, you can alienate the other negotiator. Therefore, you have to measure the degrees of power carried by your words. Your words must be compatible with the manner in which the other negotiator is accustomed to receiving such messages and have the same meaning as he understands their conveyance.
3. Body language:
Being able to read and interpret body language gives a negotiator an advantage. Even when you use the appropriate words to match the situation, you still have to deliver those words in a manner that’s perceived as being in alignment with the actions of your body. If the situation does not call for it, avoid the appearance of being perceived as brash. You don’t want to have the other negotiator be in agreement with your position, only to have him back away, because he adopts a feeling of buyer’s remorse, due to a misalignment between your words and actions.
4. Assumptive questions used for power:
When negotiating, there are ways to use questions to gather additional information, to which the other negotiator assumes you already have the answers. This tactic is called using assumptive questions.
Assumptive questions are secondary questions that bypass an initial question that implies you already know the answer to the question that was bypassed (e.g. What led you to lowering your price in the past?). In a non-assumptive question environment, the initial question would be, have you lowered your price in the past?
By asking the assumptive question, what led you to lowering your price in the past, you give the impression that you know the other negotiator lowered his price at some point. When placed in such a position, the other negotiator will go into reflective mode, in an attempt to determine if you’re aware of the fact that he lowered his price in the past. Even if he states that he did not lower his price in the past, you’ve gain additional information about his negotiation position, and thus the reason this tactic is so powerful.
From your words comes power. If you lack the vocabulary to convey your message in a strong and succinct manner, equip yourself with the verbiage that will be required to gain the upper hand. Learn the language of success as it pertains to the person with whom you’re negotiating.
Sometimes, you have to tell yourself, yes I can. Then, believe it. You don’t have to accept the plight of a negative outcome in a negotiation, if you chose not to. If you use the words that convey your negotiation position with power and do so succinctly, you’ll control the direction of the negotiation. In so doing, you’ll lead the negotiation in the direction you want it to take, which will enhance the probability of a successful outcome… and everything will be right with the world. Remember, you’re always negotiating.
The Negotiation Tips Are…
- Words can convey power, but words without synchronized body language can lead to confusion. If you wish to be perceived as being more credible, be sure your words, body language, and actions are aligned with the message you deliver.
- In a negotiation, silence can be golden, but even when being silent, you’re still sending a message.
- When negotiating, sometimes you have to escalate your rhetoric in order to disengage and be in a stronger position for the next phase in the negotiation. In such a position, use words that express power and subliminally you’ll send a stronger message.