The art of persuasion
Persuasion as a tactic in negotiations and conversations is often times the only way we can arrive at a solution. We are prompted to negotiate at work, with our children, at our gigs, and many times with ourselves. Negotiations are cognitively, emotionally, and in ways physically, exhausting.
In addition, the demands that lead us to the persuasion table often push negotiators into aggressive, or even threatening directions, even when that person would not normally use threats or aggression as a communication style.
Do not be aggressive
The problem with threatening or aggressive negotiations is that for the most part – they don’t work. Many times threats are simply emotional outbursts, even if they are successful at best they are short-term wins with the potential for future collateral damage.
To avoid threatening your way into a ruined relationship and negotiate with poise and skills, consider the following:
- Emphasize the role of reciprocity – people will be more receptive to demands or needs if something is given.
- Be the first to offer something. It sets the tone and makes people more receptive to what you are trying to influence.
- Embrace the “common ground” –
- Align your attitude with theirs to create comradery
- Do not accuse them of being wrong – this simply becomes a personal attack.
- Do not insult or demean their position. Even if you disagree, acknowledge that you understand the perspective.
- Make yourself likable:
- Be polite and practice your manners.
- Dress well and convey your confidence.
- Be present and listen to what is said.
- Be confident.
- When you present information, ensure that information doesn’t violate conversational maxims, this means that the information will be better received and you won’t be forced to rely on threats:
- Information is complete and full.
- Information is truthful and accurate.
- Information is relevant to the conversation.
- Information is expressed in an easy-to-understand way.
- Express humility – admit when you are wrong. It prevents it from becoming an emotional derailed later in the argument.
- Check your emotions regularly. We often resort to threats as an emotional outburst in an argument. If you find yourself resorting to threats
- Utilize the scarcity principle – instead of a threat, indicate that an offer or a situation has a time limit and will expire.
- Stop the negotiation if you feel like you can’t negotiate without being angry. It’s better to walk away rather than risk the potentially negative consequences for future negotiations.
Better to avoid
Although there are some cases where threats MAY be helpful for the most part it is better to maintain poise and avoid threats.
The consequences of threats can be ruined relationships and reputations, and ultimately, may keep you from reaching the ultimate goal of your negotiations.