No connection with other side in the negotiationOften you find in a negotiation that the parties just “miss” each other. There is no connection and it is as though each is speaking a different language. This makes agreement difficult to reach as neither side “gets” the other and so their exchanges are often rather stilted and awkward. This can be because either or both sides are using the wrong behaviour for that person. There are 7 billion people in the world and they are all different, with different traits and patterns of thinking. This means that they are influenced by different behaviours and in different ways. Yet most people behave the same way when negotiating, whoever they are dealing with. It stands to reason that this cannot work with everybody. Sometimes they will click with a person and sometimes they will definitely rub someone up the wrong way.

Here are some examples of different types of behaviour from different people. Some people focus on the big picture when negotiating, some focus on the detail. Some people are quick to make decisions, others avoid decisions and don’t like committing themselves. Some people are very animated and involved in the conversation (called being “associated”), and some are very distant and disengaged (called “dissociated”).

    The trick is to adapt your behaviour to the person in front of you – different strokes for different folks:

  • So if you are dealing with a “big picture” person you can use a big, bold behaviour like “visualising ” – painting a picture of the future so as to inspire agreement. This will not work with someone who is more focused on the detail. For a detail-person you need a behaviour like “proposing with reasons” – information, documents, spread-sheets which support your proposal will be welcomed by someone who finds detail reassuring.
  • If you are dealing with an “associated” person, use a sociable behaviour – maybe “share the problem” or “share the solution” – these kinds of interactive behaviours will go down well with that sort of person. Someone “dissociated” won’t be nearly as comfortable with this kind of thing. They will be much happier if you take lots of breaks, or use silence in meetings so that they can retreat to their own space rather than being forced to engage.
  • If you are dealing with someone who likes to avoid decisions then don’t put pressure on them to make up their mind – that is likely to paralyse them into indecision. A better approach would be to use incentives to help them get off the fence.
  • If you use the right behaviour for the right person you are more likely to persuade them to do what you want – they will feel you are “their kind of person”. Work with their energy, not against it, in order to make a connection.