Effective communication techniques are the backbone of superior negotiation skills. In the art of persuasion, power and force were once considered to be standard practice.
However, the use of power is a very poor method of persuasion, as I discovered in my recent interview with Stuart Diamond (pictured left). A Wharton Business School Professor, best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize winner who has taught negotiation to over 30,000 people in 45 countries, he reported how power does not work at any level of negotiation.
Whether it’s with children, friends, spouses, business or politics, attempting to assert power over someone always leads to resistance to you and your message. Instead of using power and logic, a much better approach is to seek collaboration by understanding the other person’s perceptions and emotions and using that knowledge to move towards a win-win situation.
I believe that is highly important, however, I also believe that it’s just as important that you also are comfortable with your own perceptions and emotions before entering into a negotiation. To find out how you can best prepare yourself psychologically for a negotiation, I created the 4 C’s of persuasive communication. Once understand this process, it will allow you to become a much better collaborator and perceiver of perceptions and emotions.
The 4 C’s are…
First, you want to be crystal clear about the outcome you want to have and how you are going to go about getting it. Depending on the situation, you want to have done your preparation if appropriate and be clear on what your message is about and how to cater it to the situation. The more clear you are on what you want to present and how, the more decisively you will be able to speak about what you have to offer. By having greater clarity, you will also be able to easily adapt your message to make it a win-win for everyone involved.
Second is consistency. Because you are clear on what you want, and open to what they want, this part of the process is about continually generating benefits for working together. The more often you present benefits that will serve the needs of the other person (as well as your own), the more valid your message will become to them.
Next is congruence. As you continue to find benefits, at the same time, you should be looking at which benefits in particular they seem to resonate with. What ideas and possibilities are they most passionate about? This is going to lead to revealing what the person’s values are. Just as your message, should be fully aligned and congruent with your values, you will also start to discover their values too. The more you can align your message or offer to their values, the more persuasive you will become.
Last is commitment. You need to be fully committed to what you are presenting. You need to be prepared for any possible objections or changes that may need to be made. You have to believe that what you have to offer is of great value, and be politely tenacious in your discussions.
If your offer is aligned with your greater purpose, and you can see how it could also be aligned to their greater purpose, this will help you remain committed to the creation of a mutually beneficial outcome.
Use the 4 C’s as a guide to get you prepared before a negotiation and as signposts during discussions. Always remember focus on collaboration through the understanding of another person’s emotions and perceptions, rather than trying to force your point of view through logic, threats, leverage and other power plays.
To listen to my interview with Professor Diamond, where he reveals his top negotiation tips and learn more about the 4 C’s and the 3 questions you can ask to discover someone’s deepest desires and values, click here.