May, 4th 2013
Getting Past No
Mario Alberto Aguirre
Negotiations take place every day, everywhere. We all are negotiators, some of us good and some of us not that good. But we all want to have a yes for an answer. Whether in business situations, couple matters, family discussions or daily interactions, we all are exposed constantly to negotiations. And these negotiations define the path of our lives, so we’d better be good at them. People see negotiations as demanding and stressing confrontations, and often see only two paths: being too soft, compromising solutions and giving in; or being too hard, damaging relationships and loosing other people’s friendship. But what people don’t often see is a third choice, jointly problems solution, a combination of both soft and hard approaches used to focus on interests rather than positions. These jointly solutions produce the best results for both parties, reduce time and energy consumption, and drive better work relationships.
However this is easier to say than to do, and we will face obstacles, five of them:
1. Your reaction. The good thing is that this one depends upon you. When we are under attack we react instinctively. This instinct-based reaction usually is a counterattack or giving in, in the first one both sides lose one and in the second one you lose. Therefore we should look for a mind-based response. 2. Others emotions. Other party’s negative emotions, whether driven by anger or hostility, could be hiding fear and lack of confidence and these can make communication more difficult. 3. Others position. Other party’s positional behavior, the habits for negotiations they might have could try to make you give in, they tend to think that your win is their lost. 4. Others dissatisfaction. Even though you might be trying to get a win-win agreement, the other party might not see their benefit blinded by their idea of looking good or not losing their position or reputation. 5. Others power. If the other party sees negotiations as win/lose they will be determined to defeat you and won’t be cooperative. “What’s mine is mine and yours is negotiable”.
So getting past no requires overcoming these five obstacles by controlling your behavior and influencing other people’s.
As an analogy there is the world rally championship. You have clearly defined your end point – the finish line – but the path is never a straight line. There are constant right and left turns, some of them more aggressive than the others, and there are many ups and downs. The important thing is to never lose sight of your destination and have a view of the path. Same thing with negotiations, the finish line is a satisfactory agreement for both parties and you might see a straight path to it but reactions, emotions, inflexible positions, discontent, misunderstandings and aggressions will curve it a little bit.
These diversions are the five obstacles mentioned and penetration strategy presents five points to defeat them.
1. Don’t react. Go to the balcony. First step is to hold your reaction, to solve matters you need to regain your metal balance and keep focused. There are three common reactions: To counterattack, to give in, and to break the relationship. The danger of reacting is that is your stomach the one making the decisions instead of your head and your opponent will look for that. You need to keep cool to make the best decisions. Identify the game. There are three types of tactics:
a) Stone walls. When the other party make hard statements and is not giving in you need to not take them seriously and focus on the underlying reasons behind them. b) Attacks. Threats and increased pressure needs to be diverted again, don’t oppose the force, dodge it and use it on your favor. c) Tricks. Information manipulation can be used to...
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