“To have greater control in your life, start by controlling what you control in your life.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”
That was what she said with passionate sincerity as soon as he answered the phone. Her cell phone battery had died, right at the time when she and her friend were supposed to be deciding where they were going to meet. Both had been driving to meet each other at an undetermined destination. She knew he’d be upset because she knew the demeanor he’d displayed in similar situations in the past.
By saying “I’m sorry” numerous times, as soon as her battery had enough power to call him, she defused a situation that could have quickly gotten out of control. That was also the way she controlled that situation.
What do you do to defuse and control situations before they get out of control? You can have greater control in any situation by first making a genuine effort to connect with someone. You can do this by displaying heartfelt empathy for the plight that the person is experiencing; this should be done in a manner that allows him to sense that your actions are sincere. To the degree that you can suspend negative prejudgments that might afflict your thoughts about the person related to past encounters (e.g. he’s going to be enraged with me, so I’d better adopt a posture that says don’t push me too far), you can stay ‘in the moment’ and foster a mindset that’s less fraught with despair. That will allow you to be perceived as being more empathetic.
My motto is, “You’re always negotiating!” That means, what you do today influences tomorrow’s outcome. Thus, a person’s actions today gives insights into how he might react to situations tomorrow. The woman mentioned in this story knew how her friend would react to not being able to reach her. Thus, she was able to control him by stating so profusely how sorry she was.
If you become more mindful of the actions you engage in with others, you too can shape their future actions/reactions. That means you’ll have greater control of your life’s activities … and everything will be right with the world.
What does this have to do with negotiations?
When negotiating, like a game of chess, you have to be aware of how your opponent will respond to moves you make. Being aware, based on past experiences about that person’s actions, allows you to predict with more certainty how he’ll respond in different situations, which will give you greater control throughout the negotiation. That in turn, allows you to make the moves (i.e. offers/counteroffers) that will progress the negotiation in the manner that suits your negotiation plans. That also means, your negotiation efforts will net greater outcomes for you.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
What are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com
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