January 8, 2024

Face-Saving

Asian cultures are said to be more concerned about face-saving than Western cultures. I'm convinced that Westerners are just as concerned about saving face. Perhaps our concern is deeply hidden, but it's there. Face-saving is one of the big hidden issues in every negotiation.

People negotiate on two levels: personal and business. A bad deal for a person's organization may not be bad for them personally. Conversely, if an individual suffers loss of face in dealing with another, even the best agreement will leave a bitter aftertaste. All of us need to validate our self-worth. During a negotiation, when our self-image is threatened, hostility emerges.

When an individual feels threatened they may make threats of their own, walk away, or become apathetic—but all usually get angry. Experiments show that people, given a chance, retaliate against the person who attacks their ego. Those who have "lost face" are willing to suffer losses to themselves if they can cause the abuser to suffer. Research clearly supports that the person whose "face" is threatened withdraws. The more critical the attack, the less information the face-saver communicates. Loss of face becomes significantly more serious when the abuse is visible to friends or associates who are important to them.

A negotiation can hardly be conducted without questioning the other person's situation and position. One must probe into the facts and assumptions. But take care to avoid making these probes personal. They should be directed at the business issues and not at the competence of the other person.

There are ways to minimize the potential hostility that might be created when a person is put into an awkward position. Try blaming errors and discrepancies on third parties, or other people no longer with the organization. Another technique is to blame differences on policies, procedures, or systems that neither of you control. These "bad-guys" serve to direct responsibility away from the person and towards non-threatening channels.

Here a few tension reducers I've found useful:

"Given the data you have, I can see your conclusion, but have your considered . . . ."

"It's certainly open to several interpretations, but I believe that . . . "

"Here is some information you may not have had an opportunity to review."

"Perhaps there are other factors I'm not aware of."

"Let's look at it this way."

"The difference between our points of view is not large, however we need to consider …"

"I think your XYZ department may have led you in the wrong direction."

I know some people who still believe that a strong personal attack pays off. I don't. It is dangerous to abuse another person no matter how angry you are or how justified your position. Always leave the other party a face-saving way out.

THE PROGRAM WAS GREAT! MY SEMINAR LEADER AND THE STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE KEPT ME CONSTANTLY STIMULATED. I NOW AM BETTER PREPARED TO GO INTO AN IMPORTANT NEGOTIATION MEETING AND STAY IN CONTROL, WHILE FINISHING THE MEETING SATISFIED.

Deanna D.
CASE MANAGER at THE JACKSON LABORATORY

IF YOU HAVE THE TRAINING BUDGET AND TWO DAYS TO SPARE, YOU'LL STRUGGLE TO FIND A PROGRAM MORE FAR-REACHING, ON-POINT, AND INSTANTLY IMPLEMENTABLE.

Jeff G.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER at THE M.K. MORSE COMPANY

EXCELLENT COURSE, BRINGS MORE CONFIDENCE IN MY ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE. I THINK THIS COURSE IS A MUST FOR ALL EMPLOYEES WHO DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS.

John S.
CHIEF ENGINEERING MANAGER at EXXONMOBIL

THIS WAS VERY EFFECTIVE WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON BOTH-WIN NEGOTIATING.

Kathleen L.
SENIOR ANALYST at BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN

THE KARRASS CLASS WAS THE SINGLE BEST TRAINING CLASS/SEMINAR I HAVE EVER ATTENDED. EVERY TIME WE DID AN EXERCISE IT TAUGHT YOU WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME. THANKS.

Kim C.
PROCUREMENT at AMERICAN EXPRESS

THIS PROGRAM HAS GREATLY INCREASED MY CONFIDENCE AND ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE FOR MYSELF AS WELL AS MY COMPANY.

LaDonna E.
SENIOR STRATEGIC BUYER at HALLMARK

THE NEGOTIATING CLASS WAS VERY INFORMATIVE. THE INSTRUCTOR PROVIDED AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO EVERYDAY LIFE.

Mary S.
INTERNATIONAL SOURCING at FMC TECHNOLOGIES

WE NEGOTIATE EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES, BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY. THIS COURSE DEFINES THE PROCESS AND PROVIDES TECHNIQUES TO ACHIEVE SUCCESSFUL RESULTS.

Phillip H.
VICE PRESIDENT at GE

PRIOR TO THIS CLASS I FELT AS THOUGH I WAS GETTING EATEN ALIVE BY INTERNAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH SALES REPS. NOW I FEEL PREPARED TO CHALLENGE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING AND BET TO THEIR REAL NEEDS.

Steve Q.
PLANNER at HONEYWELL

MANY PEOPLE FAIL TO ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL BECAUSE THEY DON’T SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO NEGOTIATE A WIN/WIN AGREEMENT WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES. THIS CLASS IS AN EYE OPENER TO THIS DYNAMIC..

Stuart B.
CONTRACTS MANAGER at HEWLETT-PACKARD
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