Negotiation skills are crucial in the workplace. You’ll have to negotiate for the rest of your life, so it’s best to learn now how to do it right. According to Kevin Dutton in his book Split-Second Persuasion: The Ancient Art and New Science of Changing Minds
(via Psychology Today), there are five simple tactics that can help you conquer your opponent, which he calls S.P.I.C.E:
Simplicity: In order to convince someone what you’re saying is a fact, communicate it in a very simple manner. For example, “The way you set up that meeting yesterday was ineffective.” Whatever you do, don’t draw out your argument or your opponent will start losing track of what you’re saying.
Perceived self-interest: Dutton says the trick to convincing others that your argument is better is to “focus on the benefits of the person whose mind you want to change, rather than emphasising your own wants and wishes.” For example, don’t say “I would like you to do this…” but rather say, “You’ll be glad if you do this…”
Incongruity: Throw your opponent off track by using information in a way that isn’t consistent with how they are used to hearing it. For example, tell them something costs 400 cents instead of four dollars.
Confidence: The most obvious strategy, but a very crucial one if you want to win. Confidence goes hand-in-hand with being aggressive but you need both if you want other people to think you’re right.
Empathy: The trick is to look people right in the eye, nod when they nod and conduct other characteristics that make them trust you. People feel connected to people who are similar to them, so use those similarities to your advantage.
Beyond these simple strategic rules to abide by, there are still a couple of things you should consider when trying to convince someone that what you’re saying actually makes more sense than their argument, writes Farouk Radwan in his blog Pick the Brain.
When you’re negotiating your position, make sure you listen carefully to what your opponent is saying and keep a mental list of everything they say in its exact order. You will need to confront what they’re saying one-by-one and in the order that they bring it up during the conversation. This tactic will make the negotiation more effective for you.
Also, keep in mind that you shouldn’t try to attack everything they’re saying all at once. In other words, “don’t try and bring the castle down all in one; chip away, soldier by soldier, until you start to make a big dent.”
You will know that you’re winning if your opponent starts making new arguments instead of sticking to their original ones. At this point, continue to repeat your reasoning and arguments and as soon as they say, “I don’t know,” end the conversation: You’ve successfully won your negotiation.
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