My 'What I Got vs What you Got' blog raised a lot of comment and engagement, and I have to say over the past few weeks I have had some more lessons in this area of business operations. In future, when heading into negotiations, I will be looking much more closely at -
Who has the stronger position and why?
Are they really in a stronger position or is this someone's perception (either mine or their's)?
Why am I not feeling so confident?
Is the opposition really as confident as they are making out?
The most powerful tool in your arsenal during any negotiations is information and knowledge. Do I have enough? Should I have spent more time gathering it?
All of the information we gather before we head into a negotiation helps us to make an informed decision, but it is a foolish person who doesn't also listen to their gut instinct (yes this is a Gibbs moment). You know when the opposing team won't give you anything in writing, or tells you 'Just trust me'. Percentages are vague, reference to figures and sales even vaguer still. Bold statements like 'There is nothing that can go wrong'. And I keep an eye out for where stories don't align from one meeting to the next, or one member of the opposition has a totally different recollection of the 'truth' to another.
My mum taught me when I was young that it is better to sit in silence and look silly, than to open your mouth and prove it. I must admit - this is something I have got better with as I got older. But I have been finding this very handy in recent dealings where I knew I was out of my depth and acknowledged it from the start of the meetings.