Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2020

Why it can be good to be inconsistent in a negotiation

The book influence by Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D. has become an international bestseller. This book on persuasion explains why people say ‘yes’ and how to apply this knowledge. He discusses six common principles which he also calls mental short cuts as we rely on mental short cuts every time we are faced with a decision. He explains how to use these principles, how to become a skilled persuader and how to defend yourself from them.
In this post we will discuss the second principle – Commitment and Consistency Our actions tend to be in line with what is consistent with our previous actions. If we make a promise we would not want to break it, especially when we have made that promise publicly and voluntarily. It makes us accountable.
Cialdini describes an experiment that had been staged by a psychologist Thomas Moriarty at a beach in New York City. In the study a researcher would put a towel on the beach a few feet away from a randomly chosen individual. The researcher would lie on the …

This persuasion skill leads to negotiation success

The book influence by Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D. has become an international bestseller. This book on persuasion explains why people say ‘yes’ and how to apply this knowledge. He discusses six common principles which he also calls mental short cuts as we rely on mental short cuts every time we are faced with a decision. He explains how to use these principles, how to become a skilled persuader and how to defend yourself from them.

In this post we will discuss the first principle – RECIPROCITY Picture the scene, you are going out for coffee with a colleague and you are paying for the coffees. What is your colleague’s most likely reaction? ‘Thank you for the coffee, I will get it next time’. This is the law of reciprocity that is applied in most situations meaning if I give you something you feel obliged to give me something in return. In negotiation this rule is essential. When we negotiate, we start with a more extreme demand first so we can then concede. If you concede first, you sho…

Why you should think slow in a negotiation

Kahnemann describes two different systems of thinking. Fast thinking is characterised by using cognitive shortcuts, called heuristics, to make acting possible in an overstimulated environment. Slow thinking is a systematical and analytical step-by-step approach of thinking. We collect small pieces of information, put them together and carefully consider options. This approach takes longer since we systematically evaluate the overall picture.
Reliance on institution through fast thinking increases in a complex negotiation, where negotiators reach a state of cognitive overload. At such times, we naturally shift away from slow thinking to fast thinking.
Taking the time to logically reason through every decision can be costly, even leading to decision paralysis. However, to think slow in a negotiation can limit cognitive biases and is therefore not as bad as you might think. Use 3 integrative strategies to encourage slow thinking in a negotiation:
#1 Make a list. By writing down all possibl…

4 Tips to use emotional labour to your advantage

Emotional labour is a process, your own emotions are modified to achieve a better negotiation outcome. As we practice to recognize our own and the other party's’ emotions and learn how to regulate them we build emotional competence. This helps to automate emotional regulation, protecting cognitive resources and raise our awareness in a negotiation. Being resilient in a tough negotiation is not easy. Emotional competence can be used in negotiations to achieve the best deal. #1 Recognize your own emotions.

Reflect the origin and cause of uncomfortable emotions that can be counterproductive in a negotiation. Learn how to deal with them more constructively through role play and preparation. #2 Recognize the emotions of the other party.

Listen, show empathy and view the issues from their perspective. #3 Regulate your own emotions.

Re-frame the situation to re-evaluate a complex negotiation. By doing this you distance yourself from the situation emotionally regulating your impulses. …

Why you pay too much when buying through an auction

The trigger for this post was a headline I read in the paper “Cashed-up older buyers pay $325k over reserve”. A 3-bedroom house in Brunswick, a suburb of Melbourne, was sold at auction in December 2019 for 325,000 $ above its reserve. The auction must have been frantic with the auctioneers playing the potential buyers off against each other and creating a competitive environment. This is dangerous as people then lose sight of the true value and the want to win takes over and subsequently people end up paying too much.
So, what is happening to us when we are in an auction and why do we tend to overbid? A study conducted by a team of neuroscientists and economists at the NYU tried to understand exactly that question. Our prefrontal cortex is the part of our brain where our logical and complex decisions are performed. Our unconscious decision-making process is performed in a different part of our brain which is called the Striatum. This also the part of where our fight or flight respons…

5 Surprising Negotiation Facts

If you don’t ask you don’t get.If you don’t negotiate you will always pay the full price. If you don’t negotiate your salary you will never be able to get the pay rise that you deserve. People don’t just hand something to you, you need to ask for it and then negotiate. If you have a fear of negotiating, chances are you try to avoid it. If you avoid negotiating, you will never lose your fear of it. What you need to do is expose yourself to negotiations; embrace it by practising negotiating as often as possible. Fortunately, there are many opportunities where you can practice and improve your negotiation skills daily.
The following five facts about negotiation might give you a different perspective of negotiation and as a result you might approach the negotiation differently.
1.A negotiation starts with a rejection People often fear rejection and tend not to move past it whereas receiving a rejection means that this is the beginning of a negotiation. A rejection gives you an opportu…

How to persuade the other side of your arguments

Heuristics are cognitive shortcuts that help us make everyday decisions quickly and without too much thought. While it is good to make quick decisions in special circumstances, it can also be counterproductive when dealing with complex negotiation situations.  It is a mechanism to protect us from an overstimulated environment  and to enable us to act rationally. When we make quick decisions we tend to make mistakes and on reflection we often believe we could have made a better decision.
The „Validity Effect“ describes another cognitive shortcut, in which a statement is more likely considered to be true after it has been repeated numerous times. Studies have shown that a claim during a commercial is considered more credible if it had been mentioned during the advertisement numerous times.
In negotiations the „Validity Bias“ may affect the perceived credibility of our statements and those of our counterpart. For instance, as we consent with the other party three times, we unconsciously …

How to manage fear of negotiating

Negotiation is conflict which makes negotiation uncomfortable. Most people dislike negotiating because of the aspect that negotiation is uncomfortable. In such situations negative emotions like anxiety, anger or competitiveness take over. Anxiety is an emotion that is focused on oneself. It is triggered when there is unease of a situation and where the outcome is unknown. Anxiety is a reaction to a threat which triggers the flight response. Crediting the other party with more bargaining power than oneself is one trigger that can create anxiety in a negotiation.
Negotiators who are anxious in a negotiation tend to want to get out of the situation quickly; they want to run away from it if they could. Trying to get out of the negotiation quickly is counterproductive. An anxious negotiator is very likely to not open ambitiously and is very likely to concede easily.  An anxious negotiator  might also accept the first offer just to finish the negotiation quickly. This plays into the hands of …

Why assumption stands in the way of a good deal and can be costly

If you want to have a successful negotiation with a satisfied outcome you need to do the one and most important thing and that is preparing!
Most people fail to prepare adequately before a negotiation.  There are many reasons for that such as not having enough time, not knowing how to prepare or being too confident and thinking one knows it all already.
The truth is if you don’t prepare you will have a random approach and will leave yourself open to a terrible result. Benjamin Franklin, once said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. The success of a negotiation depends on your preparation. The more energy and effort you put into a negotiation the more confident you will be during the negotiation. The biggest mistake people make when preparing for a negotiation is making too many assumptions. Approach the preparation like a blank canvas as if you don’t know anything about the other party, the issues and the negotiation variables. We all have certain expectations and the p…

Common mistakes negotiators make when sharing information

Sharing information builds trust which is the basis for any long term relationship and good outcomes. The art is to understand what information is appropriate to share, what should be kept for a later time and what information can’t be shared. Sharing information also calls for reciprocity meaning that the other party feels obliged to give something in return. Social psychologists call it ‘the law of reciprocity’, meaning that when you get something you have the urge to reciprocate and give something in return which in many cases can be far more generous. While information sharing builds trust and appeals to the law of reciprocity it is important that before going into a negotiation one must calculate the risks and benefits of sharing information with their counterpart. A common mistake people make is that they share too much information. Sharing too much information can damage your position of power because information is power and the more the other party knows about you and your posi…

There is a difference between selling and negotiating

Selling and negotiating are two very different skills that require a different skill sets and need to be applied at different stages throughout the negotiation process.
Selling is establishing a need and creating demand. It is all about convincing the customer that they need the product or service by talking about the features and benefits of the product or service.Selling is about convincing, persuading, justifying and explaining why the product or service is the one the customer needs.
Negotiation on the other hand is about agreeing to the terms of the deal. Once the need has been established and the sale has been concluded the negotiation can begin. A skilled negotiator asks effective questions to gain valuable information and listens carefully to what the other party has to say as the insights can then be used in the negotiation.
If you fall back into selling the mode during the negotiation you demonstrate that you still need to convince the other party that the product or service …

5 New Years resolution strategies that will help you become a better negotiator in 2020:

Talk Less and listen more

Most people like to hear the sound if their own voice; they like talking about themselves, their issues, successes etc. Most people are also uncomfortable with silence and feel the need to fill silence with words.  Have you ever felt awkward sitting at dinner with someone and nobody speaks?  How big was the urge to speak? As the saying goes ‘Silence is golden’, if you stop talking, the other party will talk  more and will reveal valuable information that might be 'golden' in the negotiation.
Prepare Preparation is key to a successful negotiation outcome. We are all time poor and rush to get things done. It is therefore even more important to set priorities and make time to prepare. When preparing you uncover important information and gain control and power. Being too nice Negotiation is uncomfortable and often people tend to fall into the trap of being too nice to overcompensate. When you negotiate you are in it for yourself or your company, not for the othe…