Proper Positioning Will Lead to Successful Negotiation Outcomes

This lesson explores the use of posturing as such a strategy and the implications of its use.

Before you begin to negotiate, you can acquire additional advantages. How, you might ask? The answer is, through posturing. Posturing is the manner in which you project the image you wish to be perceived and your negotiation position, prior to and during the negotiation. Posturing before and during a negotiation will determine, to a great degree, the outcome of the negotiation.

Sometimes, it’s not what you ask, but how you do so that determines the response you get. Sometimes, it’s not what you say but how you say it that determines how you’re perceived.

Through posturing, you can project the persona of a negotiator that’s difficult, easy, or one that doesn’t really care about the outcome of the negotiation; you may wonder why you might project the image of someone that doesn’t care about the outcome of the negotiation. You would do so as a ploy to cast doubt in the mind of your negotiation partner as to what your ‘real’ intent is for the outcome of the negotiation. In so doing, you create a quiet subliminal force to be reckoned with throughout the negotiation. In essence, you keep your negotiation partner mentally off balance.

How do you use posturing to negotiate?

Prior to sitting down to negotiate, posturing occurs in the way you communicate. Thus, the style of communications you adopt will set the tone for the negotiation that follows.

In a face-to-face negotiation, posturing occurs in the manner by which you respond to request for concessions, additional information, and/or insight into the goal you have for the negotiation. In essence, you can use your body language to transmit an image you have in your mind. In addition, you can detect the direction your negotiation partner has for the negotiation by accurately interpreting her body language.

During the negotiation, if you respond in an ‘off handed’ way, you can convey, through your actions, that a particular covenant of the negotiation has little or great importance to you. By doing so, you’ll give the impression of the perceived value that point has. If you wish to send mixed signals (signals that have the potential for multiple meanings, for the purpose of disrupting the mental equilibrium of your negotiation partner) you can verbally agree, while through your body language indicate uneasiness with the point of discussion.

When using posturing as a strategy, be sure to project a consistent image, that’s to say an image that’s aligned with the goals you seek from the negotiation and the way in which you wish to be perceived. If you alter your persona during the negotiation process in a moderate manner, as long as it’s in line with the plans you’ve established for the negotiation, you should still be able to maintain your façade. Be cautious not to alter your persona too drastically. If you alter it too drastically, you run the risk of losing credibility as to what your position may truly be and to what degree you’re ‘faking’ it.

Some people will view the strategy of posturing as an unfair practice that should not be invoked when negotiating. If you possess such a mindset, ask yourself what you are willing to stand for? If you have an aversion to using posturing to enhance your position in the negotiation, you need to question what is of more importance, that which you’re negotiating or the facade you’re attempting to project. In the end, only you can determine what’s best for you. Once you do, you’ll feel comfortable with that which you seek … and everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Lessons are …

· When you negotiate, consider unusual tactics such as posturing to gain addition leverage before and throughout the negotiation.

· Become skillful at using body language to convey nonverbal thoughts, in order to shape and move a negotiation in a defined direction.

· As you negotiate, in the planning stages, give thought to how posturing can enhance the outcome of the negotiation. By doing so, you’ll create yet another path by which you can influence the behavior of the person with whom you’re negotiating.