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The Six Elements of Power in Negotiations
One of the key elements in any negotiation is power, real or perceived. The more power you have the easier it is to achieve your objective. In this article I will discuss six elements that contribute to negotiation power.
You will notice that throughout this article the word "perceived" is often used. That is because negotiation is a mental and emotional activity. What the other party perceives to be the facts is more important than what the facts actually are.
You could have real power but if the other party does not realise this then your power will not be influential on their thinking and behaviour.
You could have no real power but be skilful at creating the perception that you have power and that perception can give you strong negotiation leverage.
Of course the best position is to have both real and perceived power.
Power Element 1: Low need
The strongest form of this element is knowing that you don't have to do the deal. If the other party has a stronger need to make the deal than you do, then you are in the position to move them toward their maximum point of flexibility.
The best way to convey this low need is to demonstrate that you are willing to walk away from the negotiation.
Power Element 2: Credibility
There are three main elements that create credibility in a negotiation. They are perceived knowledge, having the facts on your side, and being a perceived authority.
When your credibility is high the other person is less likely to question what you say and more likely to doubt himself or herself if you are disagreeing with them.
Power Element 3: Inspiration
The element is made up of three primary attributes; charisma, confidence, and your ability to use verbal and interpersonal skills.
If you have and use these three attributes then what you say will carry a strong emotional impact and is far more likely to influence the other person.
Power Element 4: Time
Time can produce power in a number of ways.
If you have more time than your opponent then the closer you move to their deadline the greater your negotiating power becomes.
If you have patience and the other party is impatient then this can also produce power for you, whether there is a real time constraint or not. By stretching out the negotiation you can produce emotional tension in the other person so that this tension becomes a distraction and weakens their tactical skills.
Another aspect of time is art of timing. By knowing when in a negotiation to apply a particular tactic you can maximise the power of that tactic.
Power Element 5: Asset
There are numerous assets that could increase negotiation power. One of the best assets is to have something that the other party really needs. This can be even stronger if you have a virtual monopoly.
The term "virtual monopoly" simply means that the other party does not know anyone else who can fulfil their need.
Just because you are aware of your competition it does not mean that the person you are negotiating with is aware that you have competition. Always be on the lookout for signs of a virtual monopoly and be careful never to mention that your competition exists unless the other person has raised the issue.
Power Element 6: Negotiation Skills
Of course a lot of power comes from having better negotiation skills and experience that the other party has.
If you are better at using negotiation techniques and at camouflaging your true position then you can create the perception that you have a lot more power than you really do. As I said in the beginning of this article it is the perception of power that gives you leverage.
About the Author: James Delrojo would like to help you by giving you his
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