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The Killer Formula to Make Your Argument Convincing

The Killer Formula to Make Your Argument Convincing

What do you expect when you enter into a negotiation? Do you expect to win, lose, or settle? One thing you can expect is to expect the unexpected. Many of us think we enter a negotiation thinking we must settle, but what if you knew a strategy to increase the likelihood of winning every time?

Think of this in the form of an analogy. If your emotions were the buttons on a remote control, would you give the remote to the person you are negotiating with? If the person does possess the remote control, then you better know the buttons. [1]

Let’s take a look at the strategy to win in every negotiation and how you can use it.

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The Winning Formula = Emotion + Logic + Repetition

What tactics would Aristotle have used during a negotiation? Well, he actually told us what he would use. They are The Modes of Persuasion: Aristotle referred to his ethical strategy as Ethos + Pathos + Logos (Appeal to Authority + Appeal to Emotion + Appeal to Logic). Similarly, Maria Ploumaki informs us that the elements to the art of negotiation include: Emotion + Logic + Repetition. She says that cold facts and evidence alone will not be as appealing as presenting your ideas within a emotional appeal. [2]

Ploumaki sees negotiation as a combination lock, where we have 3 rotating dials (Emotion + Logic + Repetition). By understanding these elements, we will have a better chance of remaining calm when we find ourselves in a defensive position. She compared this to someone pushing us from the side as we are walking toward a destination. When this happens, we are typically forced off our destination. What we should do is immediately stop, stay calm, and reposition ourselves toward the original target.

Let’s look at each of the elements in details:

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1. Utilize emotions for a successful negotiation.

Chris Voss is a former negotiator for the FBI and author of the book Never Split the Difference. Voss developed his negotiating skills in tense situations, situations where lives were literally on the line. Where most people liken negotiating to keeping a poker face, Voss uses a different approach and strives to influence people’s emotions. In his view, emotions are not obstacles, they are the means to a successful negotiation. Here are 5 techniques he uses to win every negotiation and get what he wants. [3]

  • Mirror words selectively. Simply repeat the last one to three words your counterpart says. Additionally, use what Voss calls the “late night FM DJ voice” and slow the conversation down.
  • Tactical empathy. Voss recommends we list the worst things that the other party could say about you and say them before they can.
  • Get to No. Pushing people to a “yes” makes them defensive, so trigger a “no” instead. Voss recommends using no-oriented questions, such as “Is now a bad time to talk?”
  • Get to That’s Right. Voss recommends trying to trigger a “that’s right” response by reaffirming how your counterpart feels. He says the moment you have convinced the other person you understand their feelings is when breakthrough happens.
  • The illusion of control. If you want to gain the upper hand in any negotiation then you must create the illusion of control. Voss recommends forcing the other person to use their mental energy to figure you out. He recommends using questions beginning with “How?” or “What?” in order to elicit this type of energy drain from the other person.

2. Logically approach the situation and make your arguments presentable.

Logic alone will not work. It’s not just the facts, perception changes the way we see things. I am reminded of a quote from Albert Einstein

“Not everything that can be counted counts; not everything that counts can be counted.”

Let’s take a look at 4 actionable steps in order to get what we want during a negotiation. [4]

  • Assess. We must first assess the situation by conducting a cost/benefit analysis. Ask yourself if you have any influence over the final outcome.
  • Prepare. Before starting any negotiation, first try to understand what you are attempting to achieve. Then try to understand your counterparts’ true interests.
  • Engage. Every dispute or negotiation involves information. Neale encourages us to look at disputes as opportunities to negotiate as we have information they want.
  • Package it. Always package your issues. Do not negotiate issue by issue; instead, propose alternative solutions to your counterpart through packages. Neale recommends using If-Then language, such as: “If I give you this, Then I get…”

3. Never allow your buttons to be pushed and repeatedly bounce back.

People are eventually persuaded if something happens often enough. This is the repetition principle and it works. Our brains are awesome pattern-matchers and repetition creates a pattern.[5] Let’s take a look at how Ploumaki uses repetition.

  • Expect the unexpected. It doesn’t matter how many negotiations you have been a part of, they will all be different. Always enter a negotiation expecting the unexpected to occur, because it will.
  • Leave your comfort zone. The moment you feel comfortable is the moment you get in trouble. This is also when you stop developing. You will never win in your comfort zone.
  • Never be left without options. Be willing to back away from any negotiation. There might exist constraints limiting the other party; however, these may change over time. What’s not negotiable today may be negotiable tomorrow. [6]
  • Always act, never react. Prepare for tough question during a negotiation and don’t hide from them. Most importantly, remember what people do is their choice, how you react is your choice.

To consistently make the formula work, separate a good deal from a bad deal.

Stanford Professor Margaret Neale provides a way to win in any negotiation through accessing the situation. She informs us that the goal of negotiation is not to get a deal, but to get a good deal. We must know what separates a good deal from a bad deal. To do this, we need 3 pieces of information. [7]

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  1. What is the alternative? Think about what would happen to you if the negotiation fails. The person with the better alternative will typically win.
  2. What is our reservation price? Neale says that this is our point of indifference or our bottom line. You must know what yours is.
  3. What is our aspiration? Neal informs us that this is the most important, yet the most overlooked piece of information. This is our optimistic assessment of what we think we can achieve during the negotiation.

If you remember anything from this formula, always remember the importance our emotion plays in any negotiation.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Lastly, think of your negotiation as a deck of cards and ask yourself one simple question… Who holds the high card?

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Featured photo credit: Flaticon via flaticon.com

Reference

[1] TED x Talks: The art of negotiation TEDx Talks
[2] Maria Ploumaki: The art of negotiation TEDx Talks
[3] Time.com: 5 tactics to win a negotiation, according to an FBI agent
[4] Margaret Neale: Negotiating getting what you want
[5] Changingminds.org: Repetition principle
[6] Harvard Business Review: 15 rules for negotiating a job offer
[7] Margaret Neale: Negotiating getting what you want

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Last Updated on October 29, 2020

How to Develop Mental Toughness and Stay Strong

How to Develop Mental Toughness and Stay Strong

Are you the kind of person who wants to achieve massive success in your life? Do you have the mental toughness to make that happen?

I think we can all agree that no matter your ambitions, achieving success can be difficult; and over time, the daily grind can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional energy.

Achievers and high performers from all walks of life face ups and downs along the path to success—they face failure, burnout, discouragement, fatigue, self-limiting beliefs, stress, and so much more.

How do some people continually strive towards their personal goals year after year while others give up on them? How do those people stay strong and persevere when there is so much stacked against them?

Studies now show that mental strength is a critical key to success. If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, you should. In it, she shows that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’” In other words, mental toughness plays a significant role when it comes to achieving goals.

At its core, mental toughness is simply the ability to stick to something when the going gets tough. People with high levels of mental toughness can push beyond these obstacles and forge a path towards success, while those with lower levels of mental toughness may abandon their dreams.

The good news is that no matter who you are, what you’ve been told, or what you currently believe, you can develop the mental toughness you need to be successful.

1. Develop a Positive Mindset

If you’re going to increase your mental toughness and manage stress, the first thing you have to do is focus on building a strong, positive mindset in everyday life.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative.[1]

That’s roughly 45,600 negative thoughts per day!

Carrying around these negative thoughts is like going on a hike in the mountains with a backpack full of rocks. The hike is hard enough on its own, but having extra junk weighing you down is a recipe for failure.

Sometimes, building mental toughness isn’t as much about building new strength as it is about saving your strength for the right tasks. Wouldn’t it be easier to dump the rocks out of the backpack instead of trying to get strong enough to carry the extra weight?

Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. Here are some examples:

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“I’m not smart enough to…”

“I don’t have enough experience to…”

“I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…”

When we allow these self-limiting beliefs to flood our minds, negative self-talk runs rampant, and we crowd out our ability to think positively.

When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true, and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

  • “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
  • “I may not have as much experience as someone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I have enough experience to get started. I’ll figure the rest out on the way.”
  • “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

Get Rid of the All-or-Nothing Thinking

Another form of negative thinking that could be preventing you from building mental toughness is all-or-nothing thinking.

All-or-nothing thinking is the concept of thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. Your performance was great or awful. If you’re not perfect, then you’re a failure.

But this isn’t true!

If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds and only lost 28, isn’t that still better than not losing any weight at all? I’d say so!

If you allow all-or-nothing thinking to rule your mind, you’ll be on cloud nine when you succeed, but you’ll beat yourself up when you “fail.” Acknowledging the shades of gray in between will allow you to see success more often.

When you recognize an all-or-nothing thought, remember to look for the positive in the situation. What did you gain by trying? What would you have missed out on had you not tried? Could you do better if you were to try again?

Ditch the Dwelling

Self-limiting beliefs and all-or-nothing thinking can lead to a bad case of dwelling on the negative, which is bad news for mental health. If you want to build some mental toughness and keep your mind strong, you have to ditch the dwelling.

When we dwell on our misfortunes, we waste massive amounts of energy that we could be using to achieve our goals. When this happens, we’re more likely to quit altogether.

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That doesn’t mean you’re not mentally tough; it just means you’re misusing your energy.

The next time something bad happens, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the disappointment and frustration, but work on reducing the amount of time you dwell on the situation.

If you struggle with this, you can try the following:

  1. Call a friend or mentor and talk it through with them. Get some outside perspective on your situation.
  2. Time block your dwelling by allowing yourself to dwell for no more than one hour.
  3. Then, tell yourself to move on, that you’re human, and you’re allowed to make mistakes or experience setbacks.
  4. If all else fails, find a good way to distract yourself until you can calm down and reexamine things with a clear mind.

The faster you can focus on the positives and move past the problem, the quicker you can get back to achieving success in your life.

2. Connect With Your Purpose

One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong “why” for all of your short and long-term goals.

If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a “why” for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback.

Think about the last time you were working on a goal or resolution, and things weren’t going well. Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough willpower or discipline.

It’s more likely that you just didn’t have a strong enough why.

Simon Sinek has been spreading his message “Start with Why” across the globe.[2] In short, he says that:

“Your ‘why’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you.”

One of the biggest drains on your mental energy is pursuing a goal or a task that you don’t have a why for. Often, we set goals because we like the idea of the goal, not the reality of the goal. Without connecting to our why, we can’t intrinsically motivate ourselves to achieve our most challenging goals.

You can learn more on identifying your purpose in this video:

Find Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is our innate desire to do something, and it comes when we work towards something that satisfies ourselves above all else—not our parents or our bosses or our teachers[3].

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Develop mental toughness with intrinsic motivation

    Let’s say you think you want to quit smoking because you know it’s bad for you, but you really enjoy smoking. If you don’t truly want to quit smoking, it’s going to be nearly impossible, regardless of your willpower or mental toughness.

    However, if you want to quit smoking because you just had a baby, and you don’t want your baby growing up around smoke, then that “why” is going to give you intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than sheer stubborn willpower, and it’s far easier to maintain over the long haul.

    If you’re trying to develop mental toughness, connecting a why to everything you want to achieve will reduce the effort and energy it will take to achieve those things.

    3. Find Strength in Unity

    The final aspect of developing mental toughness is embracing the idea that you’re not in this alone.

    Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft alone. Oprah didn’t build her network by herself. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone without a team. Michelle Obama didn’t implement the “Let’s Move” campaign on her own.

    Behind all of these successful people were countless other people who were offering support, mentorship, guidance, and encouragement.

    If you want to develop unmatched mental toughness, you need to understand that you don’t have to go it alone. Even the toughest Navy Seals have a team backing them up.

    Find a Mentor or Committee of Mentors

    The benefits of having a great mentor are far too many to list, but to boil it down to the basics, a mentor is someone who will help show you the path to success, discover your greatest strengths, spot and overcome your blind spots, and work through your weaknesses.

    If you’re struggling to deal with your internal negativity or with finding your purpose, talk it through with a mentor. Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees, and a mentor can help us take a step back and see the bigger picture.

    Here’s how to find the right mentor for yourself: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

    Recruit Some Cheerleaders

    If you want to stay strong, it never hurts to have a group of personal cheerleaders to help you successfully complete your goals. Unlike mentors who are going to jump in and help you address your problems, a group of cheerleaders will help keep your spirits up.

    Even if you have a strong why and a positive mindset, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It doesn’t make you weak to need some help from time to time. Having a group of people cheering you on will make all the difference in the world.

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    As you work towards your goals, tell a few close friends about what you’re doing, and when things get tough, tell them about it. When they give you the pep talk you need, don’t resist their positivity or counter it with your self-limiting beliefs.

    Allow their optimism to refill your energy and use that energy to press on.

    Form an Accountability Group

    Cheerleaders are great, but sometimes we need someone to give us the kick we need to keep going. You might have a strong why for running a marathon or losing 30 pounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; and trying to force yourself to follow through is a sure way to tax your mental energy.

    Why not save some of your mental energy by forming an accountability group?

    Find a person or a few people who have similar goals, or at the very least, the need for an accountability partner. Then, form an agreement within the group to push each other every day.

    4. Learn to Pick Yourself up After Setbacks

    Building a strong mindset and developing mental toughness isn’t easy! Anyone who’s ever achieved massive success knows that obstacles, setbacks, and failure are inevitable, and you’re no different.

    As you work on your goals, you’re going to face many ups and downs, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have mental toughness, willpower, or discipline.

    When you find yourself in a low spot, instead of giving up right away, ask yourself these questions:

    • “Am I being too hard on myself?”
    • “Are negative thoughts distorting my view?”
    • “What’s the positive side of this setback/obstacle/failure?”
    • “Why was this goal important to me? What was my purpose?”
    • “Is this goal still important to me?”
    • “Who can I ask for help? Who can mentor me or hold me accountable?”

    Asking yourself these questions is a great way to check in on your mindset. When we get lost in negative thinking or lose connection to our purpose, it’s far too easy to become discouraged.

    This article provides some useful tips to help you get back on track: How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

    Tying It All Together

    A crucial part of developing mental toughness is learning to recognize negative tendencies and taking action to correct them early on with healthy habits. Developing mental toughness is not about eliminating weakness, but learning how to deal with it and overcome it.

    No one is perfect, but when we focus on the right things, we can develop a mental toughness worthy of life’s biggest challenges.

    More on Developing Mental Strength

    Featured photo credit: Zulmaury Saavedra via unsplash.com

    Reference

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