Wouldn’t it be nice if you could predict exactly what the other side was going to do during your next business negotiation? Well, you probably can, and no, you don’t need a crystal ball. All you need is an understanding of what the other side has done before...
Most people are predictable. Perhaps you don’t act the same in every situation but you most likely follow a set pattern. You also tend to react predictably. For instance, some people will always use humor to defuse a stressful situation.
In his book The Negotiating Game, Dr.Chester L. Karrass tell us the following about predicting behavior:
“The best way to predict behavior is to look at a person’s history. A careful study of the other person’s habits, temperament, opinions and values will reveal useful patterns. The personality traits of a person tend to guide his or her behavior in accordance with the individual’s major intentions.”
Knowing the other person will obviously help you predict his or her behavior. If you have negotiated with him or her before, you have a pretty good idea of how he or she will react. But what if you are negotiating with someone you don’t know and you haven’t had a chance to do more research on? The most important rule about predicting behavior is to know that people will always act to protect their self-interest and their self-image.
Every negotiator would do well to become a student of human behavior. Being able to predict reactions and behavior will certainly give you an edge at negotiation time. You may even be able to adjust your behavior to elicit the type of reaction you are looking for.
Have you been able to predict the other side’s behavior? Has that helped you when you are negotiating?
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