“Everything in life is an act. And you’re the actor on the stage of your life.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
Do you plan how you’ll #act when you #negotiate? What #role do you decide you’ll play? Knowing the right role to display will allow you to negotiate better. You can’t predict every circumstance you’ll encounter in a negotiation. But the better prepared you are, the better your act will be.
Everyone plays a role when negotiating. And, your role should align with how you wish the other negotiator to perceive you; that’s your act. You should not view it as bad or inauthentic; it’s an act. If it’s misaligned, you run the risk of weakening your position. As an example, you shouldn’t become a bully if you’ve been playing the role of someone that’s helpful. That would be a misalignment.
Consider the following and keep in mind that you can morph from one act to another. Just be sure there’s an easily perceived reason for doing so.
You can adopt this act to project a ‘no-care’ attitude (i.e. if it happens, fine – if it doesn’t, fine). You might employ this demeanor when you wish to confuse the other negotiator about your real interest in what he’s offering. Make sure not to become unmasked by being too deep into the role. Because a fleeting offer may disappear before you can shift acts.
“I won’t accept that offer under any circumstances!” Be cautious when adopting this act. It can leave you in a position that’s difficult to retreat from. While this can be a good tactic, if it’s overused and you must concede, you’ll be weaker throughout the rest of the negotiation.
To combat the perception of being in a weaker position, consider feigning momentary hopelessness. It’ll lend credence to your act. But you must attempt to regain your defiant act, be it from a less entrenched position, to regain your position. You’ll only be able to use the hopelessness ploy once, twice if you’re overly convincing. So, be mindful of how and when you employ it. If you do so too early in the negotiation, you’ll lessen its effect later. If you do it too late, you’ll bring additional scrutiny upon your act.
Most people like helping people. It’s a characteristic that’s pleasing. It’s also a characteristic that some people despise. Thus, you must know when to be a helpful actor and when to drop the act.
Dominant negotiators, the bullying type, tend not to want help. They already know what’s good for the negotiation. From their perspective, your insights will only hinder the process.
Invoke the helpful act with collaborative negotiator types. They seek input to promote win-win negotiation outcomes. To better effect this act, consider when you’ll lead and when you’ll follow. To follow, ask the other negotiator for her opinion. Then, build on it. To lead, present a non-threatening offer and ask your collaborator what she thinks of it. Build on what she says.
Most people don’t like to be dominated; it places too many restrictions on them. Nevertheless, acting dominantly versus someone that’s savvy and in control can have its benefits. The difference lies in whether you’re perceived as being overbearing, strong-willed, or just knowledgeable. To effect this act, attune yourself to the other negotiator’s perception. There can be hidden value in this role. Knowing how to uncover that value makes it more valuable.
The stage you’re in, in the negotiation, should direct how you act. Like a good director, if you time your actions appropriately, your actions will be more believable. That will lead to more winning negotiation outcomes … 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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