Business Negotiation June 13, 2013

The Power of Negative Planning or How to Stop Hoping for the Best-Part Two

As we all know, plans have a way no not working out.   I have seen people so disconcerted by a failed approach that they say or do something that actually raises the expectations of the other party...

As we all know, plans have a way no not working out.  I have seen people so disconcerted by a failed approach that they say or do something that actually raises the expectations of the other party.  I have seen others so at a loss for words that they cave in all at once.  Others become cantankerous when facing tough resistance, saying things they wish they had not said.  What every negotiator should realize is that the other parties’ “no” and their strong resistance are to be expected. It must be built into the plan.  I suggest two courses of action.

First, before talks start, test your line of reasoning and your arguments through a “Devil’s Advocate” defense.  If it’s a personal negotiation, the so-called “Devil’s Advocate” can be your friend or spouse, or it can be an associate if it is a business transaction.  The important thing is to have someone in your organization take the role of the opposer.

The job of the Devil’s Advocate is to frustrate your plans by doing two things.  First, by forcing you to support your own position and second, by making you defend against the other side’s difficult arguments-arguments that they are sure to raise in the course of the later give and take.

Researchers call this the double defense:  supporting your own arguments and rebutting those the opposer will bring up.  Experiments in psychology have shown this to be the strongest defense preparation you can bring to the table.

My second suggestion also applies to any negotiation, be it personal or business.  Learn to give yourself time to think by using frequent caucuses or time outs.  This will permit a continuous review of the bargaining situation.  As new developments come to light, you will be in a better position to make a revised plan and to adjust your strategy.

The process of negotiation is one of discovery.  Strengths and weaknesses not anticipated beforehand will come to light.  The regular use of a Devil’s Advocate approach, combined with frequent time outs and better advanced planning, is the best way to anticipate the unanticipated.
Upcoming seminars
Effective Negotiating
Effective Negotiating
Effective Negotiating
Effective Negotiating
Search for seminars near you
June 04, 2020

Success in negotiation starts with understanding what kind of negotiation you are dealing with. Fundamentally, every negotiation is fundamentally about finding and distributing value...

Read More Group 7
April 06, 2020

Use this article as a guide to help you think in new ways to renegotiate for better contracts and stronger partnerships, whether in business or in life. Never be afraid of sitting down at the table to set new terms...

Read More Group 7
January 12, 2020

Happy Holidays to you and yours! Chances are very good that you had to negotiate with at least a few people to figure out what your holiday plans would be this holiday season, and chances are good that it didn’t all go perfectly smoothly. If you are all still on speaking terms, that’s probably because you utilized some of your best conflict resolution tools...

Read More Group 7