And so, we come to the end of our No F.E.A.R Negotiations series. So far, we’ve explored how to approach bargaining without Fear, Ego, or Attachment.
In our final part, we tackle the importance of No Reactivity in your negotiations so you can maintain control, clarity, credibility, perspective and persuasion. This final element of the No F.E.A.R. approach will enhance your power and effectiveness as a master negotiator.
What do I mean by No Reactivity? If you have been following me or my blogs, you know I advocate digging for your deeper why in negotiations to draw on the power that comes from the emotion behind it. Bringing a deep emotional why, however, is not the same thing as being emotional in your bargaining. In fact, being emotional is often the kiss of death in negotiation. Have you ever been really angry when you tried to bargain for something? While you were in that mode, were you able to look at things objectively? Weigh your options? Make rational, informed decisions? Keep your equilibrium? If you’re like most people, the answer to all those questions will be a resounding ‘no’.
Whether you’re a reactive personality generally, or subject to specific triggers, I invite you to be willing to do the inner work necessary to manage sensitivities that inhibit your effectiveness as a negotiator. Because, let’s face it, all of life is a negotiation. Whether with your intimate partner, kids, boss, employees, co-workers, local contractor, strategic partners, investors, clients or yourself. Being a skilled negotiator allows you to negotiate your best life. Your success as a negotiator depends, in part, on your ability to remain centered, calm, collected and compelling. If it’s easy to push your buttons, you’ll lose control and be easy to manipulate. By contrast, if you’re able to maintain your equilibrium, you’ll be more persuasive and powerful.
Some people will try to poke and provoke in bargaining. Imagine the power shift when you’re able to remain unaffected by these tactics, when you remain grounded and focused even in the face of antagonism by the other party. When you don’t ‘blow’, you deprive the other party of the wind in their sails they need to get any traction. Without your ‘steam’ to fuel them, they’ll sputter and stall.
You may also face unintended provocations, where someone happens to inadvertently hit upon one of your triggers. Even in those cases, think of the advantage of not reacting from a place of hurt, anger, or frustration, but instead getting curious from a place of detachment and objectivity. Ask questions. Gain greater clarity. Then, you can make decisions from a place of certainty, with a view to achieving your desired outcome. Remember, walking away will be an option available to you if the other party’s behavior is not worth the potential objective. But you want to make that decision from a place of clarity, not clouded reactivity.
As you can imagine, there are a few bullies in the legal profession. I found that bullying men were more apt to magnify these tendencies when dealing with a woman (with the obvious expectation that it would intimidate and throw me off my game in reactive mode). Before I tapped into the power of the Art of Feminine Negotiation, when I brought my own masculine energy to the table, I’d dish it right back and it became a contest of wills with little room for creative outside-the-box solutions. Now, I recognize the invaluable power of not getting reactive, but instead, looking at them with genuine surprise and curiosity, seeming perplexed at their approach, and looking for the angle that will best secure my desired outcome (or better). I’ve left many a bully sputtering and stuttering and spewing spittle, undermining their credibility in the eyes of the adjudicator and their own client, and more importantly, undercutting their ability to evaluate and/or effectively negotiate. Taking away their power by not taking the bait is invigorating and empowering. I invite you to try it on.
Just think of the increased influence and persuasive powers you’ll have when you let go of fear (of failure, success, losing, looking bad, missing out, unknown); ego; attachment; and reactivity. Perception is important. It affects how others see you, react to you, and interact with you. It also affects your own sense of self. When you approach negotiations from a centered place of confidence, control, clarity, and certainty you build rapport and trust, which increases your credibility and with it your bargaining power. From that place, you are infinitely more likely to get what you want and beyond. Go forth and bargain from a position of No F.E.A.R.