Negotiation and Motivational Psychology.
Motivational psychology as it applies to negotiation, is not something which can be taught in an article. This will give you an overview of the knowledge necessary to perform better during negotiations, but it is only a primer. Learning why people behave the way they do, under various circumstances, requires years of dedication and study. The purpose of these articles has been to make you a better negotiator, by becoming a better communicator.
Human Communication consists of three simple components: Physiology, Tonality and Verbiage.
How you hold yourself while you are speaking, from the tilt of your head to the direction your feet are pointing, is 69 percent of all human communication. Half of which is purely physiognomy; what you do with your face. Micro-cues and involuntary emotional flashes are written all over your face, giving your lies away to those who know what to look for. Smiles, as stated at the very beginning of this series, can open doors without a word being spoken.
Tone of voice is 27 percent of human communication. “It ain’t what ya say, it’s how ya say it.” Truer words were never spoken: Loud, soft, warm, cold, angry, pleased, loving, hateful… The exact same set of words can convey any of these things, depending on the tone used when they are spoken.
Words themselves – of which there are millions, just in the English language – for all that we learn them, attempt to master them and place so much stock in them, are a meager 4 percent of Human Communication. Words provide detail, information and perhaps a few abstracts, but little else. Which is why I have always maintained that the Written Word, useful as it is, is a miserable excuse for genuine communication. Why else do you think we employ italics, CAPS, bold, punctuation, emoticons and all those other written expressions of tonality and physiology? Those are all shallow attempts at putting our feelings down in writing; something only the best writers ever actually achieve.
Like it or not, language seems a tool primarily invented for concealing the truth. However, it also gives clues as to how an individual processes and assimilates information. Which, if you can read and pay attention to, will give you a far deeper understanding of how to deal with them.
There are three data processing personality types: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic.
Visual people tend to speak in terms of “See ya, see here, see what I mean, or I see what you’re saying.” They learn best by using visual aides, they think it terms of pictures and since “a picture is worth a thousand words”, they tend to speak VERY fast. Men of course, tend to be more visual, as a group.
Auditory people tend to speak in terms of “I hear ya, listen up, I hear that, and I just heard.” They speak a bit more slowly than visual people and usually have more modulated voices. They are listening to themselves as they talk, so they are more aware of how they sound. They learn better via lectures, naturally tend to be more musically inclined and are more likely than Visual people, to let you get a word in edgewise.
Kinesthetic people tend to speak in terms of “I’m not sure how I feel about that, what are your feelings on the subject, I’m feeling my way around, I feel this is the best solution” and so on. They talk slow and seem to think even slower; which is of course not true, they just mull things more. They learn best by tactile hands-on experiences, and naturally tend to be artists or sculptors. They dislike visual people almost as much visual people dislike them.
Before you start examining yourself and declaring what kind of person you are, STOP. If you want to negotiate like a professional, you must become a VAK. “Be all things to all people.” Like likes Like. Unless the people you are attempting mediate – or sell, it’s all the same – perceive you as “one of them, whom they like,” you may as well give up trying to get them to see things your way.
When you’re dealing with a Visual, speak at their quicker pace and use the words they use. Same goes for Auditory and Kinesthetic. If you have multiple processing types across the table, alter your style to suit each person you talk to, when you are talking directly to them. No one said this was going to be easy.
Determine GENUINE motivations.
People – particularly shrewd people – with experience in keeping professional secrets (lawyers come to mind) are adept at offering up very realistic seeming “straw men” arguments. These people swear their straw men are the objections you must overcome. That is another place where asking questions with no simple yes/no answers, becomes important.
Seasoned negotiators know that objections are not conditions, even though the people on the other side of the table will do their best to convince you otherwise. A condition is “I only have one leg, I cannot drive a stick.” An objection is “I must have it in blue, and you do not have one in blue.” The color is the straw man, the “fear of loss” of choices once a decision has been reached, is the actual problem.
“Why is that?” or “How is that important?” are perfectly innocent questions, with manifold uses. With the deft application of the Why and How Come requests, you can paint a mule into a corner. Very often, as a Mediator, you’ll find you’re at a table full of mules; otherwise they would not need your services.
You also have to be aware of every individual’s self-perception. Are they an Egotist, Altruist, Pacifist or Activist? Is the party you are dealing with, arguing for their own gain, or the gain of those they feel cannot fight for themselves? Are they arguing for the cessation of hostilities (peace at any cost), or are they attempting to effect change in others? Sometimes, you will discover all of those motivations, in the same person or party. In fact “Ego” and how we feel the world perceives us, is at the heart of most conflicts.
When you have learned to communicate with people in the manor and style which best gets through to them; when you can delve to the heart of their reasons & motivations; Mediation becomes a simple matter of removing perceived obstacles, from the table.
You will be far more effective at helping people reach their goals and adjust their positions, if you can see things from their point of view. Far more than you will ever be, by “insisting” they see things from your own. Negotiation allows you to meet you needs and desires, by meeting the needs of those you trade with, buy from and sell to.
Good negotiation skills apply to business, love, friendships, raising children and all the other relationships you will enter into, in this life.
Editorial by Ben Gaul