A good negotiator wins the deal for himself. A killer negotiator creates a win-win!
My name is Captain D. Most of what I write are things which have come from my experiences in dealing with thousands upon thousands of people from all over the world and judging what makes them tick. I have loved to do that all my life, and it has helped me in countless ways- professionally and personally. Just a few days back I had a major inspection on my ship. The results were crucial for the performance of the vessel. Everyone was looking forward to it. There was a lot of ground to cover, and there were several things which could have gone wrong. The inspector was a very senior, matter-of-fact guy with no interest in chit-chat. Not everything went perfectly, yet in the end we all walked out smiling with a glittering report which made everyone happy! The inspector’s words as he left were, “I will remember you”.
Long story short, I know how to negotiate! It’s not difficult, and being a negotiator can surely take you places. Let us start with a basic concept which many fail to understand.
1. Everybody believes they are the good guys
Whether you are Bill Gates or a New York City cab driver, you have a philosophy- an internal code of what is right, what is wrong, what is enjoyable, what is not, etc. It is your unique collection of beliefs and behaviors. It’s surprising that many people never understand that concept! When you meet someone, they judge you. Those judgments come from that person’s experience- the way he has seen his life unfold. That’s okay. However, to be a killer negotiator you must remember that often you may be trying to convince another person using the yardstick you have prepared for yourself. That may not work very well for you.
Conflict of Concepts
I recently completed a voyage from Iraq to the United States and met people from both countries. I get to chatting easily and often end up finding out information which someone would never hear about from a public source such as a newspaper.
Ask an American, “Why was your country attacked on 9/11?” He or she will say, “They hate us because we are free”. Ever ask a person from Iraq why America is dropping bombs on their houses? I have. They say, “The United States wants to eliminate Islam.” These are both ideas planted in the minds of the masses by people with a certain objective which they do not disclose. Whichever side you are on, one thing is for certain. Someone born in America thinks one way and someone born in Iraq thinks another. Both have reasons to believe what they believe.
How to use this as a negotiator
Even a terrorist is a crusader to himself. Killing people makes sense to him. He can dehumanize people for a greater cause, just like a soldier on the battlefront. A thief is desperate and to him stealing seems a logical way out. We forget that our beliefs are just as strong in our minds as the other person’s ideas are to him or her. To be a negotiator, you must understand that. You cannot try to convince someone otherwise unless you understand his persona completely and unbiasedly.
Weird people around you
You will find many people making decisions which may seem weird to you.
- A company executive I know fired someone just so that he could put the blame for his mistakes on him.
- People are married to those they do not love for years, but it makes sense to them to stay married.
- A friend of mine has taken a job which is about half the pay of his last job, but he now can spend more time with his family.
- Another friend left his family for a girlfriend he had twenty years back in Brazil and went to live there with her.
- Your boss accepted a modification plan for your office based solely on the fact that it is cheaper to implement, regardless of how awesome your idea was.
You may not agree with all this, and that’s okay. When you are a negotiator you need to follow the philosophy below.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” -Aristotle
Action Plan: Learn more than you teach.
As a negotiator, you will face situations when the person on the other side differs with you.
It’s not the time to teach; it’s the time to learn.
Listen and be unbiased. Try to make sense of what the other person said.
- Perhaps there is a point in that idea!
- Maybe I can rethink my ways to accommodate these demands.
- I may have gotten it all wrong so I will consider this way.
- His idea seems bizarre to me, but let me find out how he came to it.
If you consider the above, even though someone may differ with you, he or she will still agree that you are easy to work with and a great person.
If you have a fight or an argument in your personal life hold back and think the above thoughts. They are all applicable! The moment you think of a situation from the other person’s point of view, you are instantly in a position to negotiate! Fight it solely with your logic, and you will lose that position. A negotiator hits the problem from the other side of the table!
The way to fight resistance is not with resistance. The only way to disarm opponents is to understand their philosophy and figure out why they feel that way. You can counter the idea only when you truly understand it. That is the only way to be a master negotiator. Do not hit the person; hit the philosophy, and the person will agree with you.
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