Use Perception to Negotiate Successfully

When you negotiate, to what degree do you think the words you use and your body language impact the perception that occurs during the negotiation?

Recently a pastor made what some people perceived to be very incendiary comments about the United States. Some considered his words to be ludicrous; it sent them reeling, while others embraced them with praise. Some assailed his words, while others thought his words were reflective of the reality they had lived. Some people made comments about his body language being threatening, while others felt uplifted by those same non verbal gestures.

Whose perception was accurate? To the degree that it’s the perception, opinions, and views of those that hold them, all of them are right.

When you negotiate with people, you have to consider their background, ethnicity, gender, and the way in which they view the world. That’s to say, you have to understand how they perceive that which is pat of their environment, their life, along with the customs and life experiences from which their opinions stem.

You can’t use the exact same tactics and strategies in every situation, with everyone in the same manner. In essence, you have to tailor your negotiations to fit the environment in which you are negotiating. Remember, people really do live in their own little worlds.

When you negotiate, always take into account the manner in which people view you and perceive their environment as a reflection of and through you. (e.g. What is she/he thinking about me? What perception I’m I projecting?) People will prejudge you, label you, and cast their perception of you, upon you, when negotiating.

As you go deeper into the negotiation, keep in mind the outlook and opinions the other person possesses of the world. Paint your expression about the items of discussion in the similar words, gestures, and circumstances that they use. In essence, speak their language. If you fail to do so, you will be sending a subtle, unspoken and hidden signal that indicates you’re not ‘like them’. If they feel, “you’re not like them”, they’ll be less likely to be like you and thus, they will like you less.

You can propose positions and/or demands in a searing manner, or have your positions perceived as such, depending upon the stance you project or take. If you comprehend, appreciate, and negotiate to the level of understanding and perception that appeases the person you’re negotiating with, you may be allowed to maintain your position. In essence, you’ll be given a pass.

It really depends upon the level of understanding you have of the person you’re negotiating with and the way you implement your level of understanding. You don’t want to appear to be ‘shaking the cup’ with dark glasses on, or pandering. You should project your point with convection and truth without being threatening, always considering how you’re being perceived. 

If you negotiate from a position of understanding and respect for the other person’s background, fears and apprehensions, you’ll move closer to achieving the goals of the negotiation. By taking into account how the other person’s perception is based on their ‘life experiences’, and implementing your negotiation strategy around that perception, your negotiation outcomes will become more successful … and everything will be right with the world.

The negotiation lessons are …

·       When negotiating, always understand the mental makeup of the person you’re negotiating with. If you match their mode of thinking and the manner by which they process information, you can negotiate with them from the same outlook they possess. By doing so, the negotiation session should go smother than might have otherwise occurred.

·       To the degree you understand your negotiation partner, you’ll have better insight into ‘what makes them tick’. If you understand that aspect of their makeup, you’ll be less likely to tick them off.

·       In a lot of cases, the more you appear to be like the person you’re negotiating with and understand the values they hold dear, the more they will like you. All things being equal, in liking you they will be more apt and willing to strive for the same conclusion to the outcome you seek.