“Square your shoulders.”
“Stop slumping…check your posture.”
You’ve heard it at some point in your life from a mother, grandmother, ballet instructor, or classroom teacher.
The word “posture” means “a position of a person’s body when standing or sitting.” It can also mean a particular way of dealing with or considering something; an approach or attitude.
Posturing in negotiation can make or break the process.
Many times, we take a position, dig our heels in, and refuse to move from that place. That type of posturing prevents us from seeing other possibilities or, as we discussed in negotiation tip #5, seeing other alternatives that will get us to the same desired place, perhaps using a slightly different path.
The person who digs their heels in fails to realize they have weakened their position because there is nowhere to go from the “my way or the highway “posture.
What should your posturing be in negotiation?
Look for the win-win.
When you look for the win-win, you see possibilities and probabilities that you don’t see otherwise. If you take the posture that there is always more than one way to Rome, you recognize that the end result is Rome as a destination, but you may have to negotiate the method of how to get to Rome.
Most people get stuck in the “way they had in mind.”
I caution people to always see the forest from the trees; the forest being the big picture and the trees being the important details (or not so important). Incorrect posturing is usually the result of bringing something to the negotiation table that doesn’t belong at the table.
For example, there are times when a person brings a preconceived idea or attitude about a person to the negotiation table. Usually, it does not serve the negotiation process well. Decisions are made, and alternatives are missed; not due to what is in the best interest of the end game; but now based on dislike for a person or situation.
The win-win posture requires much planning and strategy prior to sitting at the negotiation table.
Experienced negotiators have considered all angles of how to get to the goal line, but inexperienced or “green” negotiators consider their posturing and positioning only. This may serve them but doesn’t serve the process.
Consider this short video from Adam Sandler’s movie, “Deal With It.”
Notice how fluid the characters are in the process of negotiating the issue before them. It is obvious that both came to the table having thought through what they want and what they could afford to give up.
He says, “I would have done it for $500.00,” (brag on how he felt he won); and she says, “I would have done it for the experience.”
Why aren’t they upset?
They both got what they wanted, they just negotiated the terms for getting there without the “dig my heels in” posturing.
Remember, the next time the thought comes to just “dig your heels in,” you may find yourself stuck in the mud.
If you ask yourself the question, “Why,” you may find that it is more about something else other than the issue on the table. Posture up, posture for the win-win.
For more Negotiation Tips – click here.
CALL TO ACTION:
This week, identify a situation where you will need to negotiate an issue and determine your posture prior to the meeting or conversation.
Consider the following questions:
(1) Will this posture move or stall the negotiation process?
(2) What do I really want, and how many ways are there to get it?,
(3) What is my BATNA (see tip #5)?