He was pompous, screamed at others while demeaning them, and not well-liked – most of his associates detested him! Some wondered if that was why he’d been stuck in the same management position for over a decade. Plus, he was not a good negotiator – he lacked insight on how to use power. He used bullying tactics with his subordinates (i.e. you’d better do this or else), and veiled threats to delude his peers to get what he wanted. Everyone collectively swore they’d get even with him. And one day they did.
Do you know how to be a powerful negotiator?
Sources of Power and How To Use It:
Voice inflection – There’s power, or lack of, in the way you speak. You can make a statement that sounds like a question or a question that sounds like a statement simply by the inflection in your voice. To sound more powerfully, apply a deeper tone to your voice when emphasizing words of greater importance. This is especially true when negotiating. A deeper tone on, that’s my best price, conveys more conviction to your statement.
Positioning – Whether it’s your physical proximity to others or the proximity of your words, what proceeds your words impacts their perception. Therefore, be mindful of when you speak. If you speak after someone has delivered a rousing proposal, your words may be received with less enthusiasm. The same is true of your physical proximity to others. If you’re physically close to someone with power, your words will carry greater weight simply because of that proximity. Others will assume that there’s a sense of power bestowed upon you from the power person in the environment.
When negotiating, consider the order of your offers and their alignment with people of power. You can also make a prior offer appear to be better by downgrading the one that follows it – in that case, your message states that the trajectory of the offers to follow will become progressively worse.
Manipulation – A negotiator can gain momentary power through manipulation (for this purpose, the word manipulation is neutral – it’s not good or bad). One can use it to feed the other negotiator’s desires by embellishing the item he seeks from you. By doing that, you heighten his sense to acquire it.
To embellish an item, highlight how the other negotiator will feel, and/or appear to others once he’s acquired it. Take note of his body language as you make your summation. If he slips into a dream-like state while smiling and becoming dreamy-eyed, he’s also imagining the great sensation he’ll experience once he’s acquired your offer – you got him! Continue down that path and extract whatever he’s willing to forgo to acquire the offer. Be careful not to turn embellishment into a lie. That might come back to haunt you.
Likeability – Never underestimate the hidden value of likeability. It’s a factor that has swayed many negotiators. I’ve seen lower offers accepted because of it. It’s easy to be likable with most people – just be pleasant. Warning – with some bully types, you’ll have to meet power with power. Thus, the likeability factor may be a detriment. Instead, seek to become respected – respect will be the source that cedes greater power to you.
You’re always negotiating:
In the situation with the manager, mentioned at the beginning of this article, others did exact their toll on him. It occurred when subordinates and his peers combined forces – they informed senior management that they’d no longer work with him. The manager didn’t realize that he’d been negotiating with those folks during his tenure with the company. He used his power recklessly. And now their power was coming to bear against him – senior management fired him.
I love to observe people with power. To be specific, I note how they use it, to whom they extend it, and how they’re altered by it. It’s said that power doesn’t change you – it amplifies who you really are. To that point, always keep in mind, the way you treat people impacts their perception of you. Thus, if they perceive you as an ogre, they’ll be less inclined to assist you in achieving your goals. Therefore, use the sources of power as partners in your negotiations – they’ll increase the perception of you being a powerful person. That will lead to more powerful negotiation outcomes… and everything will be right with the world.