The Negotiator Magazine

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12) Communicate confidence.
There is absolutely no room for insecurity in negotiations. Your confidence must be unshakable, so don’t waffle or try to baffle or dazzle anyone. Your credibility and confidence are closely hinged, so if you are caught bluffing, unless perhaps it is well designed and based on fact, you will diminish your credibility and undermine your own confidence. If your adversary has done their homework as well as you have, they will note any such deviation from fact and exploit your attempt at a ruse. If you’ve done your homework, you will be intimately familiar with the accurate details of the negotiation and will be equipped to handle their discussion forward, backward and inside out. Nothing communicates confidence like being prepared.

13) Communicate calmness.
A sharp opponent will be studying your body language and verbal variations from the moment you walk into the negotiations room. They will associate these cues with your emotional response to certain topics or situations, and will, in all likelihood, rely upon them later to manipulate your emotional state. Therefore, during your meeting, you will want to appear quite calm, regardless of how you feel. Ask a close friend or family member to critique your nuances in a stressful situation. What are your ticks or nervous habits? Once you know what they are, work to conceal them. Control nervous energy by diverting it elsewhere. If you are naturally high-strung, and want to tone things down for your meeting, try fiddling with a pen while occupying your other hand by discretely thumbing the edge of a pad of paper. As long as your mannerisms are either consistent or occur over a range of emotional reactions you will have a better chance of stumping your adversary as they look for obvious insights into your emotional state. During such times you may want to regularly sip water to remind your body it is not disassociated from your highly engaged mind.

14) Communicate authority.
As a vehicle in service to our objective, there exists a subtle difference between communicating confidence and authority. Confidence suggests you are certain, though you may be quite in error; whereas, authority suggests you are capable of decision-making, and therefore represent access to cooperative arrangements. Present your case with an irrefutable air of authority. If you know your facts, and are confident in your argument and defense as well as your bottom line, this should come naturally. By communicating authority you more convincingly imbibe confidence in your opponent and their perception of your proposal – all this, while entrenching another layer of defense around and ahead of your vulnerabilities.

 

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June 2006