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Negotiating Confidence - The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Keith Stacey
Confidence In Negotiation The Gift That Keeps On Giving

An important precondition for success as a negotiator is belief in your own ability to achieve positive outcomes.


And don’t we love confident people. Taylor Swift. Ariarne Titmus. Scott Pape (The Barefoot Investor). They’re all people who inspire us.


Confidence, when it stems from a realistic assessment of your abilities (!!!) is a gamechanger. In each negotiation, there are major decisions that need to be made before and during the process. A confident negotiator makes the right choices at pivotal moments.


A confident negotiator also has clarity about objectives; they know what a good deal is for both parties. They are both optimistic in setting their objectives, and realistic in understanding the marketplace and the power each party brings to the table.


They understand that the exchange of information between parties is an essential element of creating value. They are also secure in the belief that they can gain their fair share of any value created.


As you will have read in previous Scotwork blogs, being willing to make first proposals and set the agenda for the negotiation is one of the traits of a confident negotiator. They understand that early proposals may be rejected and are not afraid of repackaging failed proposals.


The reason that confidence keeps on giving, is that the success created by the confident behaviour, reinforces the belief that those successes will be replicated in further negotiations.


Of course, confidence creates good behaviours which lead to better results, which in turn, reinforce the confidence that created the success in the first instance!


The dramatic impact of confidence has been clearly demonstrated in controlled experiments where two random groups have been put through a standard physical exercise program in a gym.


One group was told they were very fit and had performed well, the other, that they were unfit and performed badly.


(Both groups had performed the same, in fact.)


After having a few days to reflect on their performance, the groups were asked to repeat the exercise and reflect on their experience.


Here the results were clear, and dramatic! The group that was told they were high performers, enjoyed the exercise much more than the other group and they performed at a much higher level when required.


The participants who were primed to be more confident, not only performed better, but also enjoyed the experience much more than their peers who had become dispirited.


While confidence grows, and is reinforced by better outcomes, there is a danger that it can morph into overconfidence. (Yep, we’ve all come across someone who’s victim to that!)


Part 2 explores overconfidence and how to avoid it.


Happy negotiating!

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