Perceptions are important
Modern business negotiations are often perceived as won or lost on the slimmest of margins. These negotiations are greatly influenced by the parties’ perceptions of power. And perceptions can be purposefully modified by the use of tactics before, during and after negotiation meetings and briefings.
Power is a perception
Perceived power gives control during negotiations. The key to resisting attacks on your powerbase is to identify the sources of power.
Not all power comes from physical prowess. Look at the way athletes encourage noisy spectator involvement to enhance their performance. Like athletes, skillful negotiators identify where power resides; only then can they increase or decrease the influence of that power. They understand that while power lies in the substance of the negotiation, this is often less important than ‘process power’ – how they manage the negotiation tactically.
Some Tips on TacticsBefore The Negotiation Meeting:
- Prepare a list of tactics the other party is likely to use and develop counters.
- Continually ask yourself what tactic is the other party using.
- Combine your tactics so they are camouflaged.
- Note that timing the application of tactics is crucial.
- Restrict the urge to inflict a short-term payback that affects long-term relations.
- Audit what tactics were used and how they influenced perceptions of power.
- Plan how to manage tactics better next time, both yours and theirs.