Negotiations are not only important in the world of business or politics, but is also integral to our social and family life.
Negotiation entails choosing the path of words – as opposed to violence - to reach an agreement or resolve a conflict.
Negotiation affects all of our lives every day. In a sense, we are all negotiators. Negotiation is defined by Mary P. Rowe, an ombudsman at MIT, as “all interactions between two or more points of view.” This does not even require another person, as it is of course possible to negotiate with yourself. Negotiations are not only important in the world of business or politics, but is also integral to our social and family life.
Our ability to negotiate also distinguishes us humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. Negotiation entails choosing the path of words – as opposed to violence – to reach an agreement or resolve a conflict. Negotiation is characterized by a trade-off of differing opinions or perspectives on an issue, with the purpose of finding common ground. In negotiating, you always give or sacrifice something in exchange for gaining something else. It is a means to achieve a solution that both parties can agree on as being beneficial.
The art of negotiating lies in positively influencing another party’s attitude towards a given idea or proposition without having to change their incentives or objectives. Therefore, the art of negotiating is closely related to the art of persuasion. Negotiation is vitally important to help us – and others – get what we want.
Negotiating is imprinted in the psyche of the human species, and has long been the preferred approach to productive decision-making and the key to conflict avoidance. Negotiating with mutual satisfaction in mind also helps build relationships of trust, which opens new doors for creative agreements and mutually satisfying outcomes, that is, by creating win-win scenarios.
While negotiating can be a challenging exercise for some, others thrive on negotiation and seem to always be searching for that next great deal or bargain. How we feel at the end of one negotiation will quite naturally trigger emotions that may spill over and affect our subsequent negotiations with other counterparts, and understanding the dynamics of these emotions is central to understanding serial negotiators.
In the world of business and retail, being on the receiving end when it comes to dealing with serial negotiators and bargain hunters can be quite daunting. Sales representatives, purchasing agents and lawyers often move from one negotiation to the next, for example. As serial negotiators they can often, as a psychological tactic, deliberately put pressure on you to close the deal as soon as possible – and on their terms. Therefore, patience is absolutely key when dealing with serial negotiators. Remember that negotiation is ultimately a psychological game: keep your emotions in check and don’t let the pressure put on you to make the sale or deal now, prove decisive in your decision making. Be willing to wait, as this will give the other party time to reconsider and quite probably eventually compromise their original terms and conditions.
Researching the other party in any negotiation is also vitally important: find out what drives or motivates them and always consider their emotions. Use this to your advantage. Remember that in any negotiation, you have something the other party wants. Be sure to make that work in your favour throughout the process.
Showing patience and being knowledgeable about the deal are vital psychological counter-strategies when it comes to dealing with serial negotiators. This entails making the right demands or concessions at exactly the right moment during the negotiation. The two well-known proverbs, that is “good things come to those who wait” and “knowledge is power” are therefore always to be kept in mind whenever you are having to deal with tough negotiations.
Paul Russell is co-founder of Luxury Academy London, a multi-national training company with offices in London, Mumbai and Visakhapatnam. Luxury Academy London specialise exclusively in the luxury industry and deliver training in leadership, communication and business etiquette training for companies and private clients across the globe.
Prior to founding Luxury Academy London, Paul worked in senior leadership roles within luxury hospitality. A dynamic trainer and seminar leader, Paul has designed and taught courses, workshops and seminars worldwide on a wide variety of soft skills.