Recognizing your Negotiation Potential
Since I started the course of Negotiation I was so excited for learning about this topic, and mostly when I realized (as I’ve already intuited) that every day we make several negotiations in different levels and areas of our life.
And when I say that I was excited for learn about the subject is just because I actually think that I’m one of the worst deals-makers ever. Beginning with my mom, many people tells me that I always give too much and that I receive much less that I give. And I think that’s because of my temperament.
Most of the times I’m happy with the type of negotiations I make, but for some reason people says that the way I’ve acted is so “condescending”, or in some way the other side is taking advantage of me.
So, hearing what the professor has to say in class and reading the books about Negotiation skills I decided to figure out what I’m doing well and what I’m doing bad in terms of negotiation, trying to realize if I have any potential to be a good negotiator or if I’m a lost case...
For that purpose I designed and answered a little self-test with some main questions that helps me to understand better my way of negotiate anything. Let’s see which of the questions I've marked with a circle…
1. Do you have the skill to establish a friendship relation with unknown people?
a) Yes, absolutely.
b) Yes, but it’s is not my usual
c) No, I usually don’t get involved in a friendship level.
For this question I will say a). This is the way I usually do and also the bibliography tells us that it is an important rule for every negotiation. People that think in short term and don’t make a connection with the other party, foreseeing a long term relation, will begin any negotiation in a disadvantage way and will loose many good opportunities in the future. Establish a good relationship is always desirable. So, let’s say I have one point.
2. Do you loose your patience very easily during a normal conversation?
a) Yes, I most of the times.
b) No so often.
c) No, I have a Franciscan patience.
For the question 2 I will answer c). I always knew that it will be useful for something. I rarely get stressed about being waiting for something, and in any conversation even if TOS doesn’t have the same point of view I will not get angry or will start yelling imposing my position. As the Negotiating in the Age of integrity says, although it can be a tactic, it is not a good idea to get delivered by emotions, anger, and resentment, trying to impose by launching fire and attacking the other side. Here we go, one more point.
3. if you go to visit your in-laws and they offer you a dinner with a kind of meat that you have never seen before in your life you:
a) Don’t make any comment about it, and eat it even if you don’t like it at all.
b) Definitely refuse to eat something that is not in your actual diet.
c) Politely ask what is it and if you think it will be painful you pretend a suddenly allergy attack to avoid the dish.
I would like to tell this is the a) for me but I have to recognize that I probably will no eat something that I don’t know what is. So I will ask politely what’s the recipe and maybe not pretend I’m allergic but trying the best way for not to eat all without bothering my host. This point called rapport is very important in order to establish a relation and create empathy with the other side. It includes, dress code, manners, common tastes, interest talking, etc. and it is useful with your in-laws as well as in business. Half point.
4. If some one gets very angry with you and starts yelling, you:
a) Start trembling and almost crying of fear.
b) Start yelling at the double of volume.
c) Stay calm, waiting for the other side to get down to The Earth.
Oh no, my answer is a) so, now I have to put me a zero. Effectively when someone gets angry I usually gets very nervous and it’s difficult to me to continue thinking. Any situation. And as one of the books says in the common mistakes of negotiation is being intimidated by emotional outburst, and to underestimate your own power. I have to learn that some of those outbursts are just a ploy to demonstrate some power, that is not necessarily true. I have to be calm thou.
5. You claim always the true, only the true and nothing more than the true?
a) Yes I’m very transparent.
b) I keep my secrets.
c) I’m a complete liar.
a) Oops, another zero. That’s because I’m falling in another mistake called “being too predictable”. I realize that during any negotiation, it’s too difficult for me to hide some facts as well as say any lie. The correct answer for his question will be b) you have to be trustful enough to gain TOS confidence, but you have to keep some data in order to be more interesting.
6. When you’re talking to some one you usually giver more importance to:
a) What they’re saying.
b) The way they’re saying it.
c) No one of the above.
I will say b) And I know it must be a). One important thing in negotiation is focus in the problem not in the position. Some times we trend to take things very personal and what really matters is get a solution to the problem. Positions don’t need any solution. Half point.
7. When you see something you’d like to buy, you always first see:
a) The price
b) The characteristics, color, shape, design, etc.
c) The fabricator / country of precedence.
And my answer is b). Any answer different than a) will be correct. Why? Because you don’t have to focus in the price since the beginning. Getting only to the “main point” without construct the proper conditions to talk first is not healthy for any relationship: of friendship, familiar, romantic or business. One point.
8. Which of these concepts are most attractive to you.
a) Time is money.
b) There’s more time than life.
c) Time is relative.
I would like to say c) and… yes! One more point for me. In negotiation, specially when it is about international negotiation, time is very important and have different meanings for any culture. For occidental people, mostly for Europeans and Americans the beginning of a meeting must be sharp and the time of lasting for a negotiation will be as quick as possible. For most of Latin American countries the meeting time is more relaxed and it is not so important to be sharp. For most oriental countries the period to get into an agreement trends to be longer and gives a lot of importance to take the time to know each other. Time also gives a psychological pressure and can be used to take an advantage in the negotiation process.
9. In any negotiation, you go well prepared always knowing your bottom line?
Answer b) oh, oh… I realized that’s one of my current mistakes. Some times because of the time and some times because there are decisions do you think you can make it “on the go”. Being prepared, knowing the other side, their expectations and being clear on what are the minimum terms you can accept are among the most important things you have to know in order to get to good negotiations.
10. According to your point of view, life is:
a) White. Everything is good and there are not bad people.
b) Black. Serious and formal. That’s adult’s world.
c) Full of color. With many tones and changing.
My answer off course is c) How boring it will be life in one and only tint. It’s not only good things. It’s not only serious things. And that’s how negotiating would be: as in a life full of color, a children world.
In one of the books they said that children are excellent negotiators: they are persistent. They don’t know the meaning of the word “no”. They are never embarrassed. They often read us better that we read them… I will add: children love to play. So as a child we have to see negotiations like a game, and play it in the funniest way we can.
So, saying that, let’s count: 1, 2, 3… 6 points of 10. I know I can do it better. I know I can improve. But also I wanted to be realistic with myself and really recognize what are my fails to work on them. After all, I can say that I have some potential, or at least I have the adequate attitude to become a good negotiator in the future, in the life.