I wanted to share a negotiation secret with you!
Whether you’re negotiating your salary or simply having a fight with your partner, there are always 2 negotiations happening simultaneously.
Yeah. TWO NEGOTIATIONS!
OUTCOMES: I want you to stop eating my food out of the fridge. The WHAT.
PROCESS: Let’s stop yelling at each other. The HOW.
Knowing this can make you more powerful.
There’s a “HOW WE’RE GOING TO NEGOTIATE” negotiation and then there’s a “WHAT ARE WE GOING TO GET” negotiation.
We mistakenly assume we're just negotiating for OUTCOMES.
But the meta-negotiation is process. Your tone of voice. Where you negotiate. If you’re yelling or speaking calmly. If you’re interrupting or taking turns. Who gets to talk first. If you’re being combative or collaborative.
There are explicit and implicit ways of controlling process.
By the way, process is JUST as important as outcomes. It affects the relationship (a lot of long-term value exists in strong relationships; we call that relationship capital). Plus process affects outcomes.
You can actually use the process to BUILD the relationship, BUILD your value in the eyes of your negotiation partner, client, boss, partner, etc. The HOW matters.
Explicitly Leading the Process: “Before we decide on the décor of the new place we got together, let's have a quick chat. In order for us to have the best discussion possible, what do you think about agreeing to a few ground rules first? Let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt, try to be calm, kind and understanding. Let’s find win-wins. One person speaks at a time. Does this sound doable?”
Take a leadership role throughout to guide the conversation and topics.
But leadership is earned. You have to get their implicit consent to lead the negotiation. Anyone can veto any aspect of the negotiation at any point.
Implicitly leading the process: If you have less power and can’t speak so explicitly, try a mirroring technique. If they are screaming, talk quietly and calmly. They will HAVE to match you at a certain point. If they are being stubborn, model collaborative behaviour. Humans learn how to act and learn what’s appropriate by watching their fellow humans. They moderate their own behaviour and tone of voice accordingly.
How explicit you are re: PROCESS depends on the power dynamic.
You are more likely to get your desired outcomes if you help control and lead the process.
Remember, negotiation is not a fight, it’s a dance.
Think of it, instead of who can be most stubborn, as collaborative problem-solving.
Self-sacrifice for the sake of the relationship: often a bad call.
Screwing over the other person and losing the relationship: a bad call.
You must dance somewhere in between.
Think of it as a “We” who is solving a common problem rather than you vs. me.
There’s enough for everyone. If you’re creative enough with offerings, packaging of deals, often everyone can get at least 60% of what they want.
BEING CREATIVE leads to better outcomes for everyone.
Ex: Your dog is barking at night and it’s annoying your neighbour.
Can you think of a more creative outcome than get rid of the dog or don’t?
Process and outcomes, kids. Keep that shit in mind.