Discover more from The Weekly Walkaway
How to Influence without Authority.
How Negotiators Use the Psychology of Influence to Reach an Agreement.
The Weekly Walkaway highlights negotiation in its ‘good’, ‘bad’ and sometimes ‘downright ugly’ forms. Issue No. 52 (10th November 2023)
What to expect?
Quotes of the Week -
“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority” - Ken Blanchard.
“Your ability to negotiate, communicate, influence, and persuade others to do things is absolutely indispensable to everything you accomplish in life.” - Brian Tracy.
Thought of the Week - Influencing without Authority.
Remember: You are a negotiator!
You are always managing some form of conflict, a difference of opinion or interest.
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THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
Influencing without Authority.
This week on the Weekly Walkaway, we’re talking about ‘influence’ and how your understanding of psychology will help you navigate better-negotiated outcomes.
I had a call with a client this week, discussing an upcoming workshop for emerging leaders in their organisation. We discussed how junior staff members often need to influence and ultimately negotiate with senior leaders, sometimes even board members.
In a top-down organisation, where power through authority and hierarchy are still present, it is even more important to hone your influencing skills.
We have talked a lot about the importance of Power in a negotiation;
But as you know, who holds the power in a negotiation has the advantage, and understanding who has the power and how you may plan to reclaim it is crucial in how you negotiate.
So, sometimes, good old-fashioned influencing skills can come into good effect to help you swing the case in your favour. This is as true when negotiating with internal stakeholders as it is with your commercial counterparts.
The classic book by Robert B. Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is a handy guide to the six persuasion principles influencing people to say "yes" to requests.
Cialdini delves into the psychology behind these principles, providing real-life examples and studies to illustrate their effectiveness. He also warns us about the potential for misuse of these principles and emphasises the importance of being aware of them to resist unwarranted influence.
This is also a reminder that in a negotiation, your counterpart could very well use these principles to manipulate you. So, as always;
‘BE AWARE’ of self and others.
The 6 principles are:
Commitment and consistency
Here are some examples of how these principles can be used in negotiation:
Reciprocity is a powerful social norm that operates in various cultures and contexts and is based on the idea that people feel obligated to return favours or acts of kindness. When someone does something for us, we often feel a sense of indebtedness and are more likely to comply with their requests in return.
Before discussing salary and benefits, provide the hiring manager with valuable industry insights, market trends, or talent acquisition strategies. Sharing information positions you as a resource and creates a sense of reciprocity, making the hiring manager more open to considering favourable terms for your candidate.
Your counterpart might agree to lower their price if you consent to extending the payment terms.
You might offer free career counselling to a client to get them to agree to an interview.
Commitment and consistency:
People naturally want to be consistent with their past actions, beliefs, and statements. Once someone commits to a particular idea or course of action, they are more likely to follow through to align with their established self-image. Cialdini explores how small initial commitments can often lead to more significant long-term commitments.
A negotiator may try to get the other party to commit to something early in the negotiation. For example,
Throughout the recruitment process, encouraging the hiring team to articulate their commitment to finding the best candidate for a role. Once they publicly express their dedication to securing top talent, they are more likely to remain consistent in their pursuit, potentially leading to better terms for your candidate.
Ask the other party to agree to a non-disclosure agreement before sharing confidential information.
You might be asked to commit to a specific salary range before negotiating. This often helps ensure that the negotiation stays within the boundaries that the client is comfortable with.
Social proof is a well-trodden path in direct marketing, such as testimonials and reviews. It is based on the simple idea that people tend to look to others for guidance on their behaviour, especially in uncertain or ambiguous situations.
People are more likely to do something if they see others doing it. And when individuals see others engaging in a particular behaviour, they are more likely to follow suit. For example;
Using success stories of candidates you've previously placed in similar roles within the company or industry. Sharing their testimonials demonstrates that others have benefited from your expertise, establishing social proof and strengthening the hiring manager's confidence in your ability to deliver quality candidates.
Show the other party a letter of recommendation from a well-respected industry expert.
People are more inclined to say "yes" to those they know, like, and find similar to themselves. Cialdini explores the factors contributing to liking, including physical attractiveness, similarity, compliments, and cooperation. This is why the ever-important notion of building rapport and connecting with others enhances the likelihood of persuasion.
A negotiator might build rapport with the other party by being friendly and engaging. For example,
Build a positive relationship with the hiring manager and team by expressing genuine interest in the company culture and values. Find common ground and establish rapport, making the negotiation process more collaborative. Likability can play a crucial role in swaying decisions in favour of your candidate.
You might start the negotiation by sharing a personal anecdote or complimenting the other party on their appearance.
Power and influence through authority is sadly standard. But what happens if you don’t have authority ?
The same principle applies if the perception of authority exists. Cialdini discusses how symbols of authority, titles, and expertise influence people's perceptions and decisions. The principle of authority is deeply ingrained in social structures and plays a significant role in shaping behaviour. The infamous Milgram experiment only too well demonstrates this.
The Milgram experiment(s) on obedience to authority figures were a series of social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram. They measured the willingness of study participants, 40 men in the age range of 20 to 50 from a diverse range of occupations with varying levels of education, to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts conflicting with their personal conscience. Participants were led to believe they were assisting in an unrelated experiment in which they had to administer electric shocks to a "learner". These fake electric shocks gradually increased to levels that would have been fatal had they been real.
Shocking but true. If you want to learn more about it, check it out here:
We are certainly not recommending using electric shock treatment for your counterparts! But using the symbols of authority in negotiation is a powerful tool. For example;
Showcase your industry knowledge, including current hiring trends, salary benchmarks, and insights into the competitive landscape. By positioning yourself as an authority in the field, the hiring manager is more likely to trust your recommendations and be open to negotiations that align with your expertise.
They may try to establish themselves as an authority figure by dressing and acting professionally by simply wearing a suit and tie or speaking confidently.
The classic negotiation tactic of the ‘higher authority.’
The scarcity principle is based on the idea that people desire what is perceived as rare or in limited supply. When individuals believe an opportunity is scarce or time-limited, they are more motivated to act quickly to secure it. Cialdini discusses how creating a sense of urgency can be a powerful motivator in influencing behaviour.
A negotiator might create a sense of urgency by making the other party feel like they are missing out on something. For example,
"This offer is only available for a limited time."
A recruiter telling a candidate that there are other qualified candidates for the job, or an estate agent telling you there are other buyers for your dream home.
Equally, recruiters create a sense of scarcity by conveying that the candidate is in high demand. This can motivate the hiring team to move forward with an offer before other opportunities arise.
By using these principles, negotiators can increase their chances of success. However, it is important to note that these principles should be used ethically and responsibly.
We recommend that you not try to manipulate or deceive the other party. Instead, use these principles to build trust. Equally, develop your self-awareness around how others might, in turn, manipulate you.
Either way, by understanding these principles, you can use them to your advantage.
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