When Odds Are Against You … Do You Negotiate Like Olympians

Sometimes, you can negotiate at your best and have your best not be good enough.

In watching the selection process that several countries went through, as they vied for the right to host the 2016 Olympics, I thought about the negotiation process they undertook. Below are some observations.

  1. All of the countries brought the highest level of resources they could muster, in order to display their bids in the ‘best light’ (No surprise there. The US had President Obama and the First Lady, along with Oprah).
  2. There were naysayers who where cynical in their support for those that strove to have the Olympics in their country. In the US, the opposing party to the president chided him for the trip he made to Copenhagen to solicit support from the Olympic committee to bring the Olympics to Chicago.
  3. Each country in contention choreographed its presentation with little room for spontaneity (They didn’t want to leave anything to chance).
  4. Each country sold the benefits of having the Olympics in their environment, without ‘knocking’ the other countries. (When you don’t have anything good to say about a competitor, don’t say anything.)
  5. All of the countries presented from a perspective of humbleness and humility. (If you’re too cocky, you can fall off a ‘high horse’ and hurt yourself.)

When negotiating, there will be times when you have to ‘pull out all the stops’. In so doing, you may have to endure setbacks. You may think your efforts will not bear fruit; sometimes you’ll be right; There are times when even broad shoulders sag.

Nevertheless, when you negotiate, don’t let the thought of possible failure dissuade you from ‘foraging on’. If you can find that extra resource needed to get you over the top, success just might be waiting to greet you on the other side … and everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Tips Are…

  • As you negotiate, always consider the message you’re sending and how that message is being perceived. Observe your surroundings and the body language displayed by the other negotiator to gain insight into his perception. The response, rebuttals, and remarks made by him, will give you great insight. That insight will possess signals that indicate how you should proceed. Take note of them, pay attention to your environment, and pay homage to what they mean.
  • There will be times when you have to persevere to keep the negotiation alive; don’t be thwarted without trying because the goal appears to be insurmountable.
  • When you’re perceived as being weak at the negotiation table, seek leverage. Do so by assembling additional resources that will strengthen your position. Make sure the other negotiator perceives your improved position to be stronger.
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