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Adapted from the webinar, The Art and Science of Influencing Others, presented by Anne Converse Willkomm, Director of Graduate Studies.
According to Dictionary.com, negotiation is defined as: The mutual discussion and arrangement of the terms of a transaction or agreement.
Negotiation can be broken down into three basic stages:
There are three elements to negotiation preparation:
Glenn Curtis, an equity analyst and freelance financial writer recommends being optimistic when preparing to negotiate, to actually ask, “What would be a homerun in your deal?”
Ultimately, you can’t enter any type of negotiation without:
Curtis also points out that it is imperative to understand your opponent’s weaknesses. This means thinking about the entire deal from your opponent’s perspective, figuring out their goals and what they have to lose in the deal. This may give you an edge
to negotiate a better deal.
Curtis refers to this as a pre-negotiation exercise and notes that most deal makers don’t develop the counter argument. Making a list of at least five reasons why the opposing party will benefit from the negotiation, will give you power to negotiate better.
Having the ability to point out the “wins” for both sides, gives you a winning advantage:
Neil Patel, considered by the Wall Street Journal to be one of the top influencers on the web, stated in an article in Forbes, “Your appearance is everything.”
By his own admission, he is a shorts-and-t-shirt kind of guy, but he discovered that when he dresses well, he is able to close more deals. In fact, his close rate went from 25% to 40%.
Dressing the part means:
You don’t have to purchase your clothing at Neiman Marcus, like Patel suggests, but can also look for quality lower-priced clothing.
This harkens back to your preparation. Know the details of the deal, such as:
Rony Ross, the founder and executive chairman of Panorama Software recommends you keep the discussions focused on results. She also argues, “By taking the emphasis off the people involved and keeping it on the facts, the negotiation is less likely to
become hostile...it is important that you don’t confuse yourself with the issue.”
There are three basic ways to take control of the negotiations:
Being assertive does not always come easily to everyone. Patel believes that being able to speak up with conviction and to say what he is thinking – even the hard things, gains him instant respect:
Anchoring the meeting by being the first person to throw out a number immediately puts you in a leadership role because you are “starting the point for the negotiation,” says Patel.
If you want to walk away with a low price, then throw out a lower number than you are hoping to walk away with – again, you can’t do this if you don’t understand your goals.
According to Dictionary.com, negotiation is defined as: The action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc. of another or others.
The word that pops out of that definition is effects.
Negotiation is the act of coming to a mutual agreement, whereas influence occurs when an individual has an effect on his or her opponent during the act of negotiation.
Dr. Jonas Berger, a marketing professor at the Wharton School and best-selling author of the book, Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior, says “99.9% of all of our decisions are influenced by others…but we don’t think that’s
He argues this type of invisible influence occurs because of our desire to fit in. But conversely, our desire to be unique also drives our behavior.
At a recent conference, Dr. Berger demonstrated his point with the following examples:
There are two specific aspects where science gives us data:
The Science of Control
A 2014 Entrepreneur article written by the CEO and founder of the productivity app Twoodo, digs into the science behind control.
In moments when we feel we have lost control or we feel as if we are being attacked, our brains produce cortisol – stress hormone (also known as hydrocortisone). This leaves us feeling negative and unable to accurately evaluate the situation. Adrenaline
is then released which further impacts our ability to empathize and makes it difficult to analyze the situation.
In the same Entrepreneur article, Duvauchelle quotes Judith E. Glaser for the Harvard Business Review: “In situations of high stress, fear or distrust, the hormone and neurotransmitter cortisol floods the brain…So we default to one of four
responses: fight (keep arguing the point), flight (revert to, and hide behind, group consensus), freeze (disengage from the argument by shutting up), or appease (make nice with your adversary by simply agreeing with him).”
The Science of Cognition
I’ve already pointed out how cortisol and adrenaline are produced in our brains when we feel a loss of control. In Duvauchelle’s article, he points out researchers have studied cognitive methods to employ to counteract the effects of the cortisol and
David Rock, of NeuroLeadership, subsequently developed SCARF, a brain-based model for influencing others, to help people understand the negative effects on the brain when these hormones are produced.
SCARF refers to the following:
When a negotiator is mindful of these five elements, they are better able to avoid triggering unwanted, emotional, responses.
Management expert, Ken Blanchard, said, “The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority.”
Because influence is about how you connect with someone, the words you choose, your tone of voice, knowing when to push, when to pull back, and when to be silent, requires an awareness of how your opponent is responding, and it requires a self-awareness.
Strategies to Achieve the Art of Influence
There are 6 general strategies:
Alison Wood Brooks in a Harvard Business Review article entitled, “Emotion and the Art of Negotiation,” states, “Bringing anger to a negotiation is like throwing a bomb into the process, and it’s apt to have a profound effect on the outcome.”
Successful negotiators have mastered the art of keeping their emotions in check: Fear, anger, anxiety, excitement, desire.
Brooks cites research that found that anxiety had an enormous impact on the outcome of the negotiations. People who suffered anxiety during the negotiation consistently negotiated deals that were 12% less financially attractive than those negotiated by
the neutral group.
If you show your hand and let your opponent know you aren’t willing to walk away, you must seal the deal – you have put yourself at a disadvantage because your opponent will offer less sensing you are desperate.
You can’t manage your counterpart’s emotions if you aren’t aware of them.
Therefore, observe your opponent’s body language, tone of voice, and choice of words. Watch for inconsistencies - does the message match what is being said? If not, dig deeper:
Rony Ross is quoted in Forbes, “with my words, eyes, and body language, it’s all about engagement.”
Ross has observed negotiators leaning back in their chairs, perhaps to look “comfortable,” when they are actually creating a physical distance between themselves and the person(s) they are trying to influence. She argues that people wanting to influence
others should sit on the edge of their seat and lean into the conversation.
This requires a degree of self-awareness – regulate your tone of voice, keep it steady, strong, but not overbearing. Ensure your tone is optimistic, but also reflects the current status of the negotiation.
Silence is tough. Silence sparks anxiety in almost everyone. The use of silence can be an effective way to influence others. By employing silence, you can take control of the meeting, let the uncomfortable opponent speak – you may get more or different,
A key concept for negotiators is to develop a connection with their counterparts. The best way to do this is to remember the person sitting across the table is, in fact, a real person, not “the company.”
Set aside the idea of the person across the table as an adversary, instead view them as someone you will collaborate with to accomplish a task – creating an agreement both sides value.
Avoid “I” statements – “We” statements signal you are willing to collaborate to reach a win/win.
Remember the power of words:
Manage your emotions:
The key to successfully influencing others is to be self-aware. Understand how you interact with those around you and learn to control your emotions and reactions to others.
The ability to influence others is truly both art and science. It is also something that is learned and must be practiced.