“To abate risks better, deal with those that pose the greatest threat to your goals first.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
What do you consider when thinking of risk assessment? Do you think about the impact that your past will have on it? Do you consider the same about the person you’ll be negotiating against? There is a multitude of things to consider. Doing so before the negotiation will make you a smarter negotiator. Before your next negotiation, mull over the following insights when pondering how to be smarter about risk assessment.
Gains versus Losses:
Sometimes, people become caught up in the moment. They forget to weigh their potential gains against their potential losses. Losing track of such mindfulness can leave you wondering why you engaged in such folly, once you’ve returned to a clear state of mind.
When assessing risk, know what you’re assessing as it relates to your larger goal. Don’t place yourself in a position where you make a tradeoff or offer, get it, and then discover that there’s an unintended cost for the acquisition. If a request is too costly, it may behoove you not to enter the bidding. A risk matrix can assist in that avoidance.
You can use a risk matrix chart to assess the probability of an outcome in a negotiation. That will help you uncover any hidden risks that you may not have considered. Based on what you know of the other negotiator, you can assess the probability of how he’ll act/react to certain offers and counteroffers. Thus, you might have your offers and potential counteroffers plotted on one scale and markers denoting the probability that he’ll respond in a certain way on the other (e.g. strong possibility, likely, maybe, low probability, not likely). Then, weight each category (e.g. 85-100%, 65-85%, 45-65%, 25-45%, 0-25%, respectively). Of course, your risk matrix will only be valid to the degree your assessment of the other negotiator is accurate. If it’s not you’ll have garbage in, garbage out.
- Lead/Led – Ask the other negotiator for his thoughts and inputs on matters that you’re unsure about his thoughts. By obtaining his thoughts you’ll gain insight into how he’s thinking. The bonus of that will be of him having the appearance that he’s leading the negotiation. That will also assist your efforts in decreasing the risk that the negotiation might go into unseen and unsuspected areas.
- Offers – Don’t make offers that would demean or insight the other negotiator. You don’t have to tread so gently that he begins to press you on issues. instead, find the balance between the point of leading and following and know when to commit to either.
- Anger – When thinking of the strategies you’ll employ in the negotiation be leery of using anger. There are potential hidden risks involved when you anger someone. They can become unpredictable, which means not only would you demean the validity of your risk matrix, you might do irrevocable harm to the negotiation.
Suffice it to say, the fewer variables you can account for when negotiating the stronger your negotiation position will be. That will lead you to be smarter about risk assessment … and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com
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