3 Techniques to Succeed at Influencing Others
Getting others to agree to your idea...It's a challenge we all face whether as professionals or parents. It's an important skill and especially powerful and meaningful when applied with integrity.
Here are 3 techniques from the Harvard Program on Negotiation to help improve your influencing skills.
1) Focus on Meeting Needs
rather than Asserting your Views
Consider this story taken from Getting to Yes, By Roger Fisher and William Ury: Two Men are quarreling in a library. One wants the window open and the other wants it closed. They bicker back and forth about how much to leave it open: a crack, halfway, three quarters of the way. No solution satisfies them.
Enter the librarian. She
asks one why he wants the window open: "To get some fresh air." She
asks the other why he wants it closed. "To avoid the draft." After
thinking a minute, she opens wide a window
in the next room, bringing in fresh air without a draft.
2) Invent Options for
The case over negotiating a property price. A common issue and a key opportunity. Often we find ourselves negotiating along a single dimension. Ie: Price. A creative option can often make the difference between deadlock and agreement.
A true skill is to invent solutions advantageous to both parties. Expand the pie before dividing it. Skill at inventing options is one of the most useful assets a negotiator can have. What other elements of a sale negotiation would be useful to the parties and add value to the deal beyond price?
3) Separate the People
from the Problem
Negotiators are people first. We tend to forget that we are not dealing with "opponents" but with human beings. They have emotions, deeply held values and different backgrounds and viewpoints; and they are unpredictable. So are you. The human aspect of negotiation can either be helpful or disastrous. Understanding and respect can foster a good deal or hostile, frustrated and offence can poison one. Egos can break a deal. Failing to deal with the other parties in the negotiation sensitively as human beings prone to human reactions can devastate a deal. Whatever else you are doing during a negotiation, it's worth asking yourself, "Am I paying enough attention to the people problem?".
Most people are not natural born negotiators. But negotiation excellence can be yours. It is both an art and a science. Research consistently shows that through negotiation training and practice, skills can increase substantially. We have over 20 years of negotiation successes (and failures!). The techniques that we teach have consistently proven to give the leading edge and optimal outcomes.
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