Every good negotiator knows you can negotiate better by controlling your mind. The question is do you catch yourself when you’re about to go into mental meltdown, or do you realize when it’s too late? Observe the following to gain insights to how you can negotiate better by controlling your mind.
Be wary of the man that would have you change your mind by attempting to demean you.
Recently I purchased meat from a butcher that I frequented maybe once or twice a year. I asked for a half pound of the meat which was listed for $4.99. When the butcher gave it to me I noticed it was marked $5.09. OK. So it was 10 cents more. That was no big deal, but the butcher attempted to turn it into one when I asked why the list price was different from that on my package. At first, he looked at me and said, “Come on buddy. Are you serious? It’s only 10 cents.” To which I replied, “I know it’s only 10 cents. I’d still like to know what accounted for the price difference.” He painstakingly explained to me as though I was 3 years old that he went over the half pound mark and that’s what accounted for the 10 cents. Not taking offense to the stance and posture he exhibited, I thanked him for his explanation and left.
I could have adopted several different actions in the above situation, but I chose to maintain my mental perspective and did not allow him to pull me into a ‘back and forth’ that was really not worthy of my time.
When you negotiate control your mind by:
- Not getting angry when challenged about your thought process, your demeanor, the type of person you are, or anything that might be perceived as being demeaning to your character
- Be mindful of the other negotiator’s body language. This includes smirks, inappropriate smiling, frowning, inappropriate laughter, or any gesture that might cause you to become angered.
- Observe his temperament and yours. The combination of a person’s mental, physical, and emotional state of mind can make him become predisposed to adopt a posture or behavior that he might regret when he’s in a calmer state of mind. Be mindful when attitudes start to escalate and control them before they get out of control.
- Take note of triggers that ‘set you off’. There are certain actions people will engage in that will cause someone to react in a not so pleasant manner (e.g. in the U.S. someone displaying the wrong finger). If you know you’re predisposed to such a reaction, be mindful of the trigger that might provoke you to display and/or engage in a particular action, especially if it’s not going to serve you in the long run.
- Be aware of your actions based on the environment you’re in. When other people are in your negotiation environment, you may engage in an action to ‘save face’, which you might not engage in if others were not present. When making an assessment as to whether you should engage in an activity, consider to what degree your actions might be altered if the environment was different. Saving face can come at a hefty price if you’re not mindful of your actions.
No matter where you are on your continuum to become a better negotiator, by controlling your mind in a negotiation you have a better chance of maintaining a level mindset. A level mindset protects you from becoming irrational. If you’re not irrational, your mind won’t be diverted from the negotiation at hand, which means you’ll be mentally prepared to take advantage of more negotiation opportunities… and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!