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Often, the difference between the two types of influencing is vague. Different negotiations have different boundaries between positive and negative influences and it is not easy to detect them. Even when we try to keep within positive influencing techniques, we always have the tendency to push toward the limits, hoping that we will notice signals from the other side of the table that will show us when we had pushed too far.
Skillful negotiators have the ability to move the boundary inside what is normally considered as negative actions and still keep a good relationship. When we try to evaluate a situation we are using our own system of values. In a negotiation, however, we are dealing with people that always have another system of values. So, in their eyes, it is not important what is our consideration about fairness, ethic and moral. It is their judgment that matters. And if we want to be effective in our influence, we must evaluate our actions as closely as we can to their views also.
All of us develop a behavioral strategy inside our normal environment. By observation and self-training we identify the limits between the two types of influences. At the office, inside our market, in our group of friends and at home, we have the ability, more or less, to know how to cope with situations that we face. Problems occur with changes.
When we change jobs, when we meet another culture, when the market is changing, we may lose our perception about the limits between the two types of influences. This is when we have difficulties in negotiation.
We don't know any more, for example, what will be the effect of advertising our car for $ 10.000 in India? Is the market value still $ 9.000? And if so, in order to obtain $ 9.000, is $ 10.000 the correct opening? If a buyer comes and offers $ 4.000, is he a serious buyer? Hundreds of questions have to be answered to find again our way to effectiveness in negotiations.
The way we behave in a negotiation is based on our feelings. Confidence, trust, courage are one category and on the opposite side, anger, fear, greed, uncertainty are another kind of feelings that show us why we do what we do. If we are greedy we will try to exploit others. If we are afraid, we will try to protect ourselves, if we are furious we want to attack and if we are uncertain we will avoid. All these lead to negative influence. Our actions are mirrors of our feelings and negative feelings lead to bad relations. The other kinds of feelings, the positive ones, are the source of positive influence. When we are confident, when we have courage and when we want to build trust, we will be able to concentrate on new ways and new opportunities that can bring a strong win-win situation for all parties.
The secret to effective negotiations, therefore, is in understanding others as well as ourselves so that we can use positive influences in our negotiations. Positive techniques are essential to achieving winning results and relationships that make agreements valuable for all the parties in an agreement.
Radu Ionescu is a negotiation consultant and negotiation trainer for Resources, Development & Ideas. Based in Romania, Mr. Ionescu works for Romanian and East European Companies. He assists and advises clients in contract negotiation, conflict solving and mediation and is also a columnist for several Romanian business magazines. To learn more about Radu Ionescu, please visit his site at www.negociere.ro or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copyright © 2004, Radu Ionescu
Copyright © 2004, The Negotiator Magazine