“Framing is the impactor on one’s sensibility.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
When framing anything, the better the frame, the greater the chance for a successful outcome. Consider a wall, versus a fence, versus a barrier. You can use all of them to protect those that are inside. They can also be what keeps those on the other side from gaining entrance. And, you can state that they can protect those on either side. So, what’s the difference from a framing perspective? The difference lies in the perception of how you define the barrier. That’s why framing is so important.
When you frame content to be discussed in a negotiation, your framing of it determines how it will be perceived, how it will be discussed, and how the negotiation will flow.
The following are a few insights you can use to win more negotiations by framing them better. Doing so will increase your chances of having a winning negotiation outcome.
Before you attempt to frame a discussion, you should know what someone’s value proposition is. Because, if you make a concession that’s not perceived as being valuable, you might open yourself to a greater request (e.g. I don’t need that, but how about ‘x’). If you’d not intended ‘x’ to be discussed, you could have framed your offer by stating, I can concede on this, but not ‘x’. By doing that, you take ‘x’ off the table before it has the chance of entering the offer proposition. Mind you, the other negotiator can still request to have it, but you will have set a marker for denying him his wish. If you’ve used it as a red herring, you may turn the perception of its value to a greater benefit to your position. Then, if you wish to concede it, you should request something substantial in return.
“He was right before, isn’t he right now?” Be careful of how you validate or accept a point as being valid. Just because an entity has been right 99 percent of the time, doesn’t mean that it’s right this time. Then again, if the other negotiator subscribes to such a thought, use it to your advantage.
You can do that by stating that you’ll be discussing ‘x’. Then, state that ‘x’ has been proven to have a 99 percent accuracy factor. Framing any point in that manner lends more credibility to it. There’s also a sense of security implied in the statement, because most people like the perceived sense of being surrounded by others.
Combating Opposing Framing:
If it doesn’t serve your purpose, be prepared to refute the framing attempts of the other negotiator. While doing that, have your own talking points ready to rebut his attempts to refute yours.
A good negotiator knows the hidden value that lies in framing a negotiation. Therefore, there will be an aspect of ‘give and take’ as you and he spar over the process you’ll use, and how you’ll frame those processes, to engage in the negotiation. During the planning stage of the negotiation, give serious thought to how you’ll frame your points and the strategies you’ll use to alter the other negotiator’s perspective.
How are you going to act? The persona you project during the negotiation, confidence, or a lack of, and when you project that persona, will impact the negotiation. So, you should plan for how and in what circumstances you’ll promote a certain persona versus another. That’s also where framing comes in. If you synchronize the framing with your persona, you’ll have more perceived credibility.
Framing can serve as a silent ally that lies dormant while waiting to lend assistance in positioning the negotiation. When used stealthily, it can be what gives you a hidden advantage that the other negotiator never sees coming. Thus, using it wisely can enhance your chances of winning more negotiations … 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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