Aristotle once said that, “Rhetoric is the medium by which one rules the mind of men”. We often tend to think that sheer personality, charisma or force of will is sufficient to pull off an effective negotiation, at least in the business world. But there is more to negotiation skills then mere gift of the gab or other such seemingly impressive tactics. Influencing and negotiating transactions with people can be a highly cerebral and emotional process at the same time.
Studies have shown that persuasion can have either positive or negative effects on people. But there are four foundational areas that determine how the negotiations plays out depending on the strategy used by the negotiator. Those four areas are – Bargaining, Emotion, Compromise and Logic. In this article we will look at how the strengths of these aspects play out in a negotiation:
Bargaining is probably the most common and easiest negotiation tool that you can employ. While it doesn’t require any extraordinary level of persuasive skills, it does require a certain degree of intuition. The only way a person can have any foothold for a positive bargaining negotiation is if he or she understands the needs of the recipient. Knowing that the party actually knows that you are offering them something that they need gives the bargainer enough ‘teeth’ to sink into the negotiation of the deal.
Emotion is also a highly intuitive factor for negotiations. At the heart of this approach is the cardinal understanding that humans are emotional beings themselves and appealing to their sense of emotions must be done tactfully because people don’t like to be emotionally manipulated and hence the possibility of it backfiring on the negotiator. Creating a sense of need while simultaneously tying the deal in with desire, satisfaction and happiness is a very emotional approach to securing the negotiation with the recipient. This however does not work if the beneficiary party is in it only for the profit and no other intangible factor.
Compromise hinges on the notion that people will always want to get something good even when it costs them nothing. It is about meeting someone at a middle ground where both parties feel like their terms and conditions have been reasonably assessed and agreed upon. Compromise factors in areas that may not necessarily be entirely favorable to either party but is reduced to secondary priority for the sake of a greater and more promising factor that is in the best interest of both parties. The effective negotiator will always begin with the maximum interests in his favor and tactically negotiate down to the most basic and necessary interests in his favor.
A logical approach to negotiating is a purely cerebral affair and deals strictly with the strategic use of numbers, data and rationally coherent arguments. Often the logical approach is the most powerful when used in tangent with either of the other three tactics. For most people, raw data provides a strong taste of reality that cannot necessarily be dismissed as rhetoric or emotive argumentation. When the market and numbers speak for themselves, often the logical response to the appropriate deal necessarily follows and the negotiator in this case doesn’t have much persuasion to do except nudge the other party in the realistic direction.
Negotiation Skills Training is a crucial component that companies invest in for their employees, especially when they are the ones on the front lines and deal with securing deals and transactions in the companies favor.