“The hidden value of the nice factor is exposed by reciprocation.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
“I don’t know why I made those concessions. The other negotiator was so nice! Something made me want to be nice in return.” Unbeknownst to the speaker of those words, subliminally, he was affected by the nice factor.
Have you ever considered the hidden value of the nice factor when negotiating? Being nice is perceptional, depending on who you’re negotiating with. Nevertheless, it has a place at some point in every negotiation.
The following are ways you can deploy the settle ally of the nice factor to enrich your negotiation outcomes.
Negotiators set the tone for the negotiation at its outset. Note: The outset starts before you’re at the negotiation table. They may set a tone to suggest you should not take them lightly or one that implies they’ll go along to get along.
Some negotiators project a stern persona to convey the sentiment that they’re not to be dallied with; this persona can also be invoked to protect the veneer of insecurity. That’s worth mentioning because you should be watchful and asses if such a demeanor serves that purpose. That can uncover the personality type that you’re really dealing with.
In some cases, a stern type of projected positioning is advantageous. But, if you don’t consider the negotiation style of your negotiation counterpart, it can be the uncoupling of the negotiation before it starts. Thus, you should be mindful of the persona you project at the beginning stages and throughout a negotiation. You don’t want to turn the other negotiator into a more abstinent opponent if he’s not already one. If such occurs, attempt to mollify him by modifying your demeanor. Be nicer.
Soft negotiators will display their demeanor by presenting a broad smile upon meeting you and a handshake that is appropriate for the encounter (i.e. not too hard, not too soft). As you engage in the negotiation, assess to what degree this may be a façade. You can accomplish that by noting the slight changes in her personality when discussing points of disagreements. If she’s quick to placate you, make sure you let her win points, too. Doing that will enhance the nice factor.
Hard negotiators may present more of a challenge when attempting to invoke the nice factor. Depending on the degree of their hardness, moderate to obnoxious, the nice factor may not be appropriate. Instead, you may want to adopt a persona that matches the style of the other negotiator to get him to modify his demeanor. If he does, at that point you may consider implementing the nice factor. Depending on the severity of his modification, being nice can serve as his reward.
Most negotiators don’t like strong tensions in a negotiation. When tensions reach a certain level, negotiators tend to be more dogmatic about the positions they’ve adopted. So, if you find yourself in such a contention, consider employing the nice factor. This may be in the form of making a concession. If you’re not sure if doing that will ease tensions, preface your offer with an ‘if’ statement (e.g. If I do this, will you do ‘x’?). The point of using the nice factor at this point will be an attempt to reset the negotiation to a less pretentious position.
The more positive the experiential endowment you invoke within the other negotiator, the easier the flow of the negotiation will be. That will lend itself to an enhanced negotiation engagement, which in turn should lead to a greater negotiation outcome for you … 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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