Friday, November 19, 2010

Negotiation Power

Something I told my students today in Negotiations 315:

Knowing the theory behind negotiation success is very important. That's why we spend so much time on it during the semester. Understanding the tools will make you a much more powerful negotiator, and that is why we focus on developing those.

But if you really fail in a negotiation, it will probably be because of you. We all have personal weaknesses, anxieties, and foibles that can trigger spectacular failure. Two examples:

- Inability to stand up to bullies. Most children have either experienced being bullied, or felt sympathy for someone being bullied. When an adult uses verbal abuse as a tactic in business communication, some people respond with fear. "Just make it stop!" the voice in your head screams. You do whatever it takes to get the person to stop, i.e. giving in to their demands, so you can return to your comfort zone.

Bad form.

- Inability to ask. I once worked for an evil man, who took money and self-respect from anyone who allowed him to. But he taught me an important thing. "You don't get nothin' in this world without askin'," he would say. He asked for ridiculous things. He had no inhibitions. So he became super wealthy.

Most of us hate to be rejected, so we don't ask for anything.  Letting go of that fear can multiply your success ratio. You don't ask for a better salary, a better seat at a concert, a better interest rate on a loan. All because Clarissa Mayfield turned you down for a slow dance in middle school.

Clarissa doesn't remember the incident, and you shouldn't either. So let go. And become successful.

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