ART OF NEGOTIATION: Negotiation is a game of psychology



One very important parameter of negotiation is psychology. Whenever two sides negotiate, it is never two individuals, and never two organizations, but always two psychologies. The psychological mindset of an individual is extremely important in a negotiation.

It so happened that I met a young man of around 24 years, who was going for a meeting. He was in the business of selling printing material. His partner who was along with him, often remarked before going for the meeting, that the customer that they are meeting is a very large sized company, and the executives are “big” fellows and since they were very small business people, they would not get a good deal.

This young man of 24 responded, “We are suppliers of a product that they need. We are the sellers and they are the buyers, and that’s all I know. If both of these things match, we can do business with them. Big or small doesn’t exist.”

Note the different psychologies between two business partners. I am sure you can estimate who would be more aggressive in cracking the deals.

It is important to understand that the current psychological behavior of a person is a function of the past incidents or events. These events could be positive, such as salary rise, marriage, birth of kids, and graduation, or could be negative, such as family issues, accidents, clashes, adversity faced, or any other trauma.

The positive incidents tend to influence the positive psychology, whereas the negative incidents influence the negative psychology.

For example, if a man was bitten by a dog as a kid, he would will be afraid from of dogs all his life, unless he himself, or someone close to him helps him to cure from get over it. Continuing the example, if he goes for a negotiation meeting wherein there is a dog sitting in the room of the owner or director, he would feel uncomfortable and his negotiation would be extremely poor.

I remember one such instance, wherein I had to meet the director of a very large company in a posh office in Mumbai. The meeting was scheduled at 11:00 am and I reached the place at 10:30 am, just to make sure that I am comfortable with the environment. I was initially made to sit in the waiting room that was very cozy, with two ACs at an extremely low temperature (and I could see neither the remote, nor the switch, nor the operator anywhere to change the temperature of the AC), giving me a chilled feeling. The nervousness to meet such a high profile person was also taking a toll on my mindset. Hence, I gulped down two glasses of water. By the time I went for the meeting, I was feeling extremely cold and my bladder was bursting. Can you imagine my psychological state in this meeting? My negotiation meeting started with me asking the direction for the washroom.

Smart negotiators play with psychology in a fantastic manner. They may make you feel intimidated, they may make you feel feeble, they may make you feel small or at times, they may even make you feel like a loser.

If someone uses such tactics on you and you feel that you are beaten, the best thing to do is to adjourn the meeting, may be under some pretext, and ask for postponement. You may decide to re-assemble within some minutes, some days or even some months, depending on the urgency of the deal, but it is important to break the psychological wall that has been created.

For an individual, there are some ways to get cured from such psychological barriers, such as meditation or yoga. However, the major problem is, most of you would will not even admit that you have such a psychological barrier, to which, I would like to make a simple submission – all human beings have certain psychological constraints; the merit lies in identifying it them and curing them.

About the author:

Samish_Dalal A Graduate in Commerce and an MBA holder, Professor Samish Dalal has over 17 years of        experience, including a teaching experience of over 8 years. Currently, Professor Samish Dalal is a  faculty with SP Jain School of Global Management who deals with teaching Negotiation, General  Management, and Innovation.

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