One key fact that every negotiator must know is that power in a negotiation can be manipulated. Because power is dynamic and not stagnant, negotiators can find ways to increase their power during a negotiation.
To get started on figuring out your sources of negotiating power, Dr. Chester L. Karrass offers six power-building questions to ask yourself. These questions are designed to find a new course of action in order to increase your power.
- Can I enhance my base of power by taking an action I am not presently taking?
- Can I enhance my base of power by permitting or forcing the other party to take an action he or she is not presently taking?
- Can I enhance my base of power by causing the other party and myself to take an action together we are not presently taking?
- Can I enhance my base of power by not taking an action I am presently taking?
- Can I enhance by base of power by not preventing the other party from taking an action he or she is presently taking?
- Can I enhance by base of power by preventing the other party and myself from taking an action we are presently taking?
(The above questions are taken from Dr. Karrass’ book The Negotiating Game.)
Clearly, it is important to continually self-assess. As you can see, power derives from action and from inaction. You must figure out which actions you need to take and which you should refrain from taking. The key is that at every step of negotiation, you can take a read of the situation and reset your course of action.
What do you do to increase your power during a negotiation?