Overcoming negativity, resistance and objections

(This is a repost from Filip’s original blog)

So you are trying to influence someone. You are pretty certain that you have come up with an option or a solution that is in the other party’s interest (and of course, also in your interest!). Maybe this is to get her to enrol in a course, sell his motorbike, take a vacation or accept your business proposal. But for some reason he or she is on a repetitive loop of insisting on problems with your solution.

Whether you just want to help, or you want to influence out of self interest, this pattern of negativity can be frustrating to deal with.

Building on my previous blog entry, where I said negotiation and motivation rely on the same insights, we can recognise that we are either motivated to move towards a goal, or away from some undesirable outcome. How did we try to influence our friend above? That’s right, we sought to create an attractive goal for him or her to move towards.

So how about we change tact and instead help the other party understand why he or she at least wants to move away from the status quo. This can be achieved by merely letting the other party think through and verbalise to us how the future might pan out if he or she doesn’t take our desired action.

“I understand that you have hesitation with aspects of the option that I suggested. Can I just ask, how would you weigh the risks and responsibilities of taking action against the risks and responsibilities of not taking action…?”

Here the other party can realise for him/herself that he/she can’t get his/her desired career without attending that course, or might get seriously injured on their motorbike, might get more depressed or stressed from not taking a break from work, or will miss out on the tremendous value that your business proposal would enable.

Once we get the other party to accept that the present path they are on is undesirable, then they will realize that they have to change. This is p o w e r f u l. At this point their thinking changes from looking at problems with our suggestions, to actually looking for solutions themselves. And as I mention in my bookif the other party is looking for solutions – let them!

Negotiating motivation

(This is a repost from Filip’s original blog)

A couple of times per year I run a motivational seminar at university. “But you’re a negotiator – what can you possibly know about motivation!?”

Let me answer your question with another question: what is negotiation? Well, there are multiple definitions, and neither is clearly the best one.

I propose that a useful definition is to say that I negotiate when I try to influence you to work towards outcomes that will benefit me; e.g. give me more money.

So what is motivation then? Perhaps we consider motivation to be when I try to influence you to get excited about working towards a particular outcome that benefits you; e.g. quit smoking.

If these two processes look similar it’s because they are. And we can we continue our thinking – is it possible for me to convince you to pursue outcomes that would benefit both of us? E.g. making our shared business more profitable?

And taken even further, could I get you to pursue outcomes that will benefit you, me, and others? E.g. peace, security and a clean environment?

So, perhaps a useful definition of negotiation is then that I negotiate when I try to motivate you to work towards outcomes that benefit me, or you, or both of us, or everyone.

And which of these outcomes would make you most motivated..?