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It can’t be all about me!

Published: Oct 12 , 2017
Author: Ben Byth

I was recently in a negotiation where the issues were quite controversial and the conversation quickly became emotionally charged. Of course, it didn’t take long at this point for the various stakeholders to dig-in and vigorously defend their positions… needless to say that this wasn’t very conducive to negotiating an outcome.

 

However, it was amazing how quickly the tension lessened once the focus was shifted from me to them. I asked some good questions to understand their positions and perspectives, then summarised my understanding of how the different stakeholders felt.

 

It wasn’t enough to flippantly claim to understand. I worked hard in a non-confrontational way to deeply comprehend why their positions had been taken and what each of the various stakeholders were really trying to protect/achieve. Summarising my understanding of their positions back to them helped them to feel like they could drop their guard.

 

Demonstrating that I understood helped to build trust.

 

Once the emotions were back in check, it was of course much easier to find the common ground upon which we could start to build a solution.

 

This is a pattern I have found to be true every time I have been presented with a difference of opinion/position/concern.

 

I hope that active listening and demonstrating that you understand helps to break down barriers in your negotiations!

 

Ben


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About the author:

Ben Byth
Ben’s background is in commercial business to business sales. Leveraging studies in organisational psychology, Ben’s previous role was responsible for growing Profiling Online’s bespoke leadership assessment business locally and abroad across industries such as Banking and Finance, Insurance, Travel, Engineering and Professional Services.

Read more about Ben Byth

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The Australian Banking Royal Commission has been quite embarrassing with cover-ups, poor conduct and unethical treatment of customers. But it does bring to light key lessons for negotiators. These lessons are particularly true for those who are perceived to hold the balance of power. In other words, if you are negotiating with someone who is seen to have very little power - there is a high chance your actions will come under public scrutiny at some point. It is highly unlikely the banking industry will be the only one to come under scrutiny. All you need to do to come to this conclusion is read the paper to see similar accusations in industries like retail/grocery buying, leasing, franchising, etc.

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