When You Negotiate Are You A Zombie

Have you ever been involved in a negotiation and felt like you were just going through the motion? When doing so, did you feel like a zombie, someone that was not following his or her own will? Have you ever thought about why and how that occurred?

Zombie like states can be induced during a negotiation, and if you’re not careful, they can be very devastating on your negotiation efforts.

The following are factors that contribute to a zombie like state during a negotiation.

1.    Voice tonality and pace, yours and that of the other negotiator, can put you into a trance-like state. Hypnosis is based on the premise of using certain suggestive phrases in a repetitive manner, based on the outcome being sought. During a negotiation, practitioners of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) can make suggestions to your subconscious mind and alter your will. Stay alert to such tactics.

2.    Time pressure can leave any negotiator in a zombie like state of mind. The pressures of time in a negotiation can create a level of tension that could cause you to vary your normal thought processing. Be aware of where you are in a negotiation, as it relates to time, and guard against the negativity that time pressure can inflict upon you.

3.    Being forced to address details when you’re not mentally prepared to do so can wear you down and contribute to you becoming zombie like when you negotiate. Observe your mental level of energy during a negotiation to combat fatigue. Be aware that you’ll become more susceptible to making mental errors of judgment when you’re not as alert as would otherwise be the case.

4.    Be aware of false compliments. False compliments bestowed upon you during a negotiation can be a red herring (e.g. something that attracts attention from the real issue). In essence, the false compliments can be made to get you to continue down a path that is more advantageous to the other negotiator. By following that path, you can become robotic and like a zombie (e.g. following the other negotiator’s lead to receive more compliments).

5.    Triggers (i.e. suggested phrases, scents, music, etc.) can be used to create a hypnotic state when negotiating. If you’ve ever experienced a mood shift as the result of hearing a certain song, or listening to a particular phrase, you responded to a trigger. During negotiations, be mentally attuned to the triggers that might stimulate you to shift your mindset and cause your mental center of gravity (emotional state of mind) to be altered.

“When negotiating, don’t assume your capriciousness is not induced. Just because you don’t think you’re being a zombie doesn’t mean you’re not acting like one.” – Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator

The Negotiation Tips Are …

  • Observe the speaking pace that occurs in a negotiation. The speaking pace can lull or put you into a hypnotic state and cause your actions to become like a zombie.
  • To keep from becoming like a zombie during a negotiation, when asked for concessions, ask for concessions. In so doing, you’ll keep yourself more mentally alert to the traverses occurring in the negotiation.
  • Be intellectually aware of your level of doubt during a negotiation. Doubt can cause you to commit to a sequence of actions that induce zombie like behavior.
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