NEGOTIATE YOUR WAY TO THE TOP
It has been said that some people just have a knack for negotiations. Not only do they know and use the tools and techniques of top negotiators, but they seem to have an unconscious skill, one that consistently puts those heads and shoulders above the peers around a boardroom table. “This skill could well be their ability to interpret subconscious indicators that opposing negotiators gives off,” says Monique Harrisberg, CEO and founder of South Africa’s leading communication training company, The Voice Clinic.
Most of us have walked away from a negotiation at one time or another like we didn’t get a very good deal. Hindsight offers 20/20 vision. Would the outcome have been different if I’d said this, or done that? What were the other negotiator’s true motives?
“The good news is that it is possible to learn this often overlooked skill, but you’ll have to learn to hear by watching, not just listening to the other person,” explains Harrisberg. “The beauty of learning to interpret people’s subconscious gesture responses, or body language, is that it is more reliable than spoken words, which are consciously constructed.”
“The subconscious part of your brain controls your body’s internal processes including your heartbeat, digestion and breathing. You don’t have to think about these functions because your subconscious is like an auto-pilot for your body,” Harrisberg explains.
Use the five indicators below to immediately improve your deal making ability. They’ll enable you to go beyond the words to read the other persons inner feelings.
“Good negotiators know that getting the best deal is often simply matters of knowing what is and what isn’t negotiable,”
Lip protrusion equal’s non-negotiable areas.
To uncover no-go areas of negotiations, probe your opponents with subtle questions, and watch if they purse or stick out their lips. This is a definite sign of confident defiance, or an area where you’ll find no wiggle room or negotiation opportunity.
You’ll see kids do it if, for example, they don’t want to do something or share something- they stick out their lower lips protrusion is accompanied by negotiation resistance level high and their likelihood of making that particular concession low.
Does the other side believe you?
It’s no secret that during negotiations parties will overstate some areas, and downplay others. They may leave out details, and other times they may outright lie to win negotiation. One of the most valuable skills for negotiators is to know when their opponent believes them – and when not. A key body language indicator of this is when the opponent rubs his or her eye. Strange, but true. Barring some form of eye rub is a body language gesture to look out for as you go for the ‘close’. Good negotiators know that it’s meaningless to attempt to close a deal when the other side is not to board, so they watch for eye rubs. The best way to handle an eye rub is when you see one and say something like, “Does that sound fair to you?” or “would you like to comment on that?” If you treat all eye rubs like a verbal question, most of the time, you’ll preserve the chance for an eventual agreement.
Ear tugs for airtime
When someone wants to interject a comment make a suggestion while the other person is talking, he’ll touch, stroke or lightly tug on his ear to indicate his desire to speaking. If you you are a negotiator who tends to ramble on a bit, or hog all the airtime, this is a useful bit of body language to lookout for, as it will ensure that you give your opponent time to speak, thereby really hearing what he is thinking and being able to stay on top of the game. Many body languages experts think that this evolved from our childhood school days when we would raise our arms to notify the teacher that we wanted to be called on to speak. As grown-ups we we’re more subtle but just as eager to share our opinion, so the best negotiators have learned that when they see an ear tug, they should shut up and listen.
Pavlov’s dog’s response to desire
Much like Pavlov’s dogs, we salivate when we want something. When we evaluate a proposition, we indicate our contemplation by stroking/ rubbing our chin and temple. Once we have determined that we do, in fact, want to take the offer, we stop evaluating and often being to salivate. Now you’re probably hard pressed to recall when you saw someone openly and obviously slobber at a boardroom table, especially a skilled negotiator, but there is also a clue to the fact that this is happening. Out natural response when we want evolves into a need is to put something in our mouth: a pen, finger, eye glasses, or cigar, for example. In the most subtle of examples, a customer might even indicate a desire to accept your proposal by concluding a chin stroke with a licking of the lips or a simple swallow. Look for these signs and then move in for the close.
Great negotiators have learned to watch for micro-expressions. These are very revealing subconscious splashes of emotion. They last only fraction of a second and usually indicate a person’s true emotion about a word, phrase or other communication. If, for example you see a look of shock, or a frown flashes across your opponents face before he composes himself, you can probably deduce that your price is too high, or what you’ve just proposed is not in the ballpark of his expectations. Similarly, if a smile leaks out- you may have pitched your price to low, or know that your opponent knows something that puts him in a position of power at this stage.
“Negotiating skills is the key ingredient in many aspects of your life- from running your own business, negotiating a better salary at work, to getting the best price you can on goods or services. Your success will depend on your ability to interpret the other person’s true interest and objects and successfully persuade him to make the deal,” Harrisberg concludes.