Skilled negotiators know that they must lead their opponents toward their goals in order to achieve a viable result. They bring passion to the negotiation to establish their conviction and commitment to the outcome. Many corporate negotiators lack the passion of personal investment and tend to seek quick resolution rather than excellence when negotiating for their companies. Unfortunately many developers are handling their own accounts and their passion permeates the discussions. Many retail bankruptcies are the result of bad real estate decisions. That is not surprising when one considers the differing interests of those making the deals. The company representatives are working for salaries and bonuses. Their opponents are often working to protect their personal assets and build personal wealth.
Whenever you agree to take on the leadership of a negotiation do so only if:
- You believe in the cause.
- You can make a personal commitment to winning.
- You have the time, energy and interest to fully pursue a victory.
It is not fair to those you represent to offer less. Doing so places them in jeopardy from the start.
If you are not able to do this, you can offer to consult and provide support and guidance to those leading the endeavor. This is often effective as it allows the other person to have the passion and vigor to lead while you provide the expertise. Knowing your limitations is essential. Don't take on assignments that you are ill-prepared to handle properly.
Passion and conviction are compelling arguments. The non-verbal signals emanating from a person of conviction are clear:
- A firm handshake.
- Looking the other person unwaveringly in the eyes.
- Standing straight and facing the room squarely.
- Moving through the room with dispatch.
- Asking for coffee or water before being asked.
These are signs of one in control, one expecting results, and one ready to start. They are the mark of a leader.
The author is an assistant editor at How-to-Negotiate.com, a site featuring articles about leadership skills required in the dispute settlement process and how people negotiate everything in their daily lives be it personal issues, parenting matters, social conflicts, or business or work related challenges. The site promotes the fact that conflict is a natural aspect of everyone's life and we should all work at improving our ability to negotiate the curves life throws our way.