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The Weekly Walkaway highlights negotiation in its ‘good’, ‘bad’ and sometimes ‘downright ugly’ forms. Newsletter Issue No. 30 (28th April 2023)
What to expect?
Quote of the Week - “behaviour in the human being is sometimes a defence…”
Tactic of the Week - The Angry Gorilla
Thought of the Week - Episode 1 - There's language in her eye, her cheek, her lip
Remember: You are a negotiator!
You are always managing some form of conflict, a difference of opinion or interest.
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QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“But behaviour in the human being is sometimes a defence, a way of concealing motives and thoughts, as language can be a way of hiding your thoughts and preventing communication."
"..There's language in her eye, her cheek, her lip,
Nay, her foot speaks; her wanton spirits lookout
At every joint and motive of her body."
TACTIC OF THE WEEK
The Angry Gorilla
Using emotion against you is to be expected, and you should be aware of The Angry Gorilla at all times.
Humans like to be liked and safe from inter-species conflict.
Your counterpart may bang the table, shout and rage like an angry gorilla, triggering your fight-flight-freeze response.
Plan for this. Manage your discomfort. Stick to your plan and, above all else, remain calm and in control. Don’t reward the Gorilla by conceding to their inappropriate behaviour. Once they’ve got away with it, they will continue to use it! Tell them to stop. It will not work.
If the angry gorilla continues, leave, telling them you know it is a tactic, that it is inappropriate, warn them of the consequences and that their behaviour will not change your plan. Then re-schedule.
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
There's language in her eye, her cheek, her lip
Ever wondered, “Why do I freeze in certain situations, even just for a moment?”
Ever thought, “Why do I jump back and scream when a friend surprises me?”
Ever considered, “Why do I lash out and get angry?”
It's OK. You are not alone. You were not in charge of ‘you’! Something else was.
When you become stressed, anxious or uncomfortable, you will find you may do things and say things you would never have done in a calm state.
And Negotiation is stressful. It is uncomfortable, and it will make you anxious.
These actions and reactions can shut down the thinking parts of your brain and kick you into survival mode. You act instinctively. Unconsciously.
This is a big problem for negotiators.
Professor Steve Peters writes about the Chimp Paradox and how by understanding our inner chimp, we will better manage these situations when they arise. I call my inner chimp ‘Lucy’.
I am in constant conflict in my mind, and I am not alone. We all have two voices to contend with and a third component waiting to be controlled, and we have the;
Chimp, ‘Lucy’, she controls our fear, and emotion and is only interested in ensuring we survive;
Human, that's you and me. We deal in fact, in truth, in logic and rational thinking;
Computer, which is a machine. Just waiting to be given instructions from the other two.
The conflict arises when Lucy takes control of the computer, and that is often. The reason for this is that she is very powerful. She is stronger than you are. She has ensured your survival up until now, and she will continue to do so.
Freeze, Flight or Fight.
So What Happens When Lucy Takes Over?
Freya, an account manager, is negotiating an annual price increase. Freya is sat opposite her counterpart, David, and delivers a well-thought-out, rational price increase;
“This year, the annual price increase will be 7%, effective immediately”.
“WHAT! You have got to be kidding,” says David, loudly and angrily, while banging the table with the palm of his hand. “Your quality is off. We’ve had more problems with your team than with anyone else’s, and you have two competitors knocking on our door with better pricing!”
Lucy takes over. She is the most powerful part of Freya’s mind. She has no choice in that. Why? Because Lucy keeps Freya safe, and she perceives, because of the verbal, tone and non-verbal reaction from David, that Freya is in danger, in peril!
This is fear memory, a memory stored as an emotion that has helped Lucy survive interspecies conflict.
Lucy reaches for The Computer… She has three options;
Stop moving (Freeze)
Throat constricts, Freya gulps with a sudden dry mouth, her jaw drops, her eyes open wide, her brain goes blank, and all those clever responses go out the window she is now staring out of as she plans her escape. Or;
Run away (Flight)
Eyes wide (prey taking in all the danger and looking for escape). Freya begins uncontrolled speaking, and her body movement becomes more pronounced. She starts to over-explain, justify and sell her way out of the room. Her words are fluffy and soft, and even seems to ask for forgiveness. Or;
Punch, shout and kick (Fight)
Eyes narrow (hunter focusing on prey). She replies with equal tone and volume. She argues she accuses, and she retaliates.
Which course of action do you think Freya will allow her Lucy to take, 1, 2 or 3?
Well, luckily, Freya is an effective Negotiator. She has learnt to control her Lucy.
Freya tells her Lucy, “It’s OK, I’ve got this; get off the computer, let me have control. I planned for this. Go on, I’ve got it.”
Freya remains calm, her eyes remain neutral and fixed on David, she sits back and says in a controlled voice;
“You can get angry with me. You can shout at me, and I will hear your arguments, but it will not change the fact that I am just the messenger. Our CFO has ordered the annual price increase. It is 7%, and it is effective immediately.”
Next Weeks Weekly Walkaway - Episode 2
A deeper look at what happens to you when Lucy perceives conflict and gets control of your computer.
We’d love to read your comments or thoughts. What do you think?
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