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Before You Negotiate Successfully … You Have to Connect The Missing Links

» Introduction
When we negotiate, most of us have ‘missing links’ in our negotiation armor. Those ‘missing links’ come in the form of insufficient information, a lack of foresight as it relates to the negotiation, or what some might classify as a ‘blind spot’ in the strategy we’ve adopted/created for the negotiation. How then can you identify your ‘missing links’ before the negotiation and what should you do if you uncover them during the negotiation?
» Step 1
This negotiation lesson delves into how you can uncover some of the ‘missing links’ in your negotiation portfolio.

1. Before you enter a negotiation, know who you are, what role you’re playing, what you want to achieve in the negotiation, and what might prevent you from achieving the negotiation outcome you seek. In essence, try to discern what the ‘missing links’ might be that would prevent you from reaching a successful negotiation outcome and make the necessary link connections.

2. During negotiations, pay close attention to what your body is saying about the components of the negotiation. Make sure you assess the other negotiator’s body language for signs that give insight into her mind. Some novice negotiators forget to calculate the value body language has on the negotiation. In so doing, they allow this very vital ‘missing link’ to wreak havoc throughout the negotiation. When negotiating, body language sends an unlimited amount of information, which telegraphs the thoughts you and the other negotiator possess. Some negotiators will thus attempt to disguise the body language, but since the body never lies, as soon as they let their guard down, the inner thoughts of their minds are exposed.

3. Beware of the ‘thunder clap’ of misdirection. Sometimes sounds (words) can be so loud that they overshadow the real message of the negotiator. The way words are framed can be used to move the negotiation from one momentum source to another. Savvy negotiators will use words as misdirections to take you off point, in an effort to steer you towards their perspective. When you negotiate, you have to be very aware of the points of importance throughout the negotiation and be very aware of the ‘thunder clap’ of misdirection.

4. Give the other negotiator something she can give you to break an impasse. When negotiating, smart negotiators always leave a back door open for themselves and the other negotiator. The back door, in some cases is a way to save one’s position, or save face from a position that creates an impasse. In other situations, a back door can be the acquiescence on a point of importance to the other negotiator, that doesn’t have great importance to the negotiator making the concession. The best way to create back doors is to know what’s important to you and the other negotiator as you negotiate.

5. Don’t allow your negotiation opponent to ‘draw too much of your oxygen’. In essence, don’t let the other negotiator take your breath away through the preponderance of his position. Don’t be awed by the position or demeanor of the other negotiator, to the degree that it takes you off your game.

6. Understand what you can offer to give the other negotiator ‘something’ that will advance the negotiation. Make sure it’s nothing perceived as a ‘take it or leave it’ item. You don’t want to place yourself in a compromising position as the result of appearing to be weak and never make large concessions in the beginning stages of the negotiation.

7. If you know you’re the type of individual that gets ‘heated’ during negotiations, or can be promoted to lose your ‘cool’, prepare for such an occurrence before entering into the negotiation arena. Don’t allow yourself to be ‘sucker punched’ by, or ‘sucked in’ to, the other negotiator’s game plan. Prepare thoroughly, so as to minimize the potential for anger and if you do become angered during the negotiation, don’t allow it to be perceived by the other negotiator. Don’t fall victim to the other negotiator’s ploys, due to your lack of attentiveness to your mental demeanor.

8. When trying to get past impasses, consider using humor to assist your position. Just be sure the humor is viewed as being timely, appropriate, and innovative. If you harbor doubts about the viability of using humor in a situation, error on the side of caution and don’t use it. When using humor in a negotiation, take the position that everyone has the right to hear your opinion. Just make sure you control the levity of your humor.

When you assess your ‘missing links’, keep the above mentioned thoughts in mind. By doing so, you’ll limit the potential pitfalls that might otherwise befall you. Never fear to assess your skills and negotiation abilities from a totality perspective. In so doing, you’ll gain insight into those ‘missing links’. In essence make sure your mental sums add up to the whole of its parts … and everything will be right with the world.


The Negotiation Lessons are …

• Before you negotiate, embrace your ‘missing links’. You’ll gain additional insight into your negotiation style by doing so. That insight will also give you additional leverage during the negotiation, as the result of being better prepared for that which might occur.

• When negotiating, you can detect the ‘missing links’ of the other negotiator, if you observe his reactions to the way you phase your thoughts and questions about the negotiation. Once you’ve discerned his ‘missing links’ you can use them to advance your position. Be cautious not to overplay your hand. You don’t want the advantage of your offensive position to be turned into a defensive one.

• Understanding and utilizing the advantages you gain from being able to interpret body language can be very advantageous when uncovering ‘missing links’. Avail yourself to resources, about body language, that can be used to give you additional leverage during negotiations.

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