Like the rest of the world, I was glued to the TV the past couple of weeks watching the Olympics into the wee hours of the morning. While the Olympic games have ended for now, I know they’ve left lingering impressions on many of us in a variety of ways.
While the displays of athleticism were astounding, to me it was equally interesting to watch the reactions of both parents and competitors alike as the events unfolded. One theme of human nature was clearly evident throughout the games: Extreme disappointment and overwhelming joy are difficult for us to hide.
One the younger competitors, the amazing Russian gymnast, 17-year old Aliya Mustafina, particularly stood out for me. Mustafina’s non-verbal cues were quite easy to read. We never had to guess what she was feeling. Whether it was joy, anger or sadness, it was there for all the world to see.
It’s especially difficult for young competitors to try to mask emotions or to be gracious to fellow athletes when tensions are high. But, is it really that much easier for us as adults, managers, IT professionals? Do we feel less when we are faced with disappointment or even when we get our way?
How often does this hurt us in negotiations, in meetings, or performance reviews? Sometimes it is a huge disadvantage for others to “see” what’s on our minds. Even a subtle glance across the table to a colleague can speak volumes if someone is paying attention.
As adults and business people, we are expected to control our emotions and represent our companies appropriately. We have to stick to facts, rather than feelings, while executing strategies that will help us win a deal, achieve improved contract terms, get better pricing or (from a personal perspective) maybe get a promotion.
Sometimes our faces tell a very different story than our words, causing us to not be taken seriously, or worse, to completely lose credibility. Mastering control of our own non-verbal cues, while observing them in others, can give us an advantage in negotiating, building relationships, management and career advancement.
While face-to-face negotiations may have declined in recent years, in favor of conference calls, they still occur. Some organizations also employ team-based negotiations, introducing even more dynamics to manage in a face-to-face environment. It can be difficult enough to negotiate one-on-one. Face-to-face team negotiations can present issues where inexperienced negotiators are present.
However, with a little planning, team negotiations can be effectively managed. Here are ten tips to keep in mind for successful “team” negotiations:
- Document standard operating procedures, including non-verbal communication guidelines, and share them with all team members in advance of negotiations.
- Meet with the team prior to the negotiation to cover the procedures. Establish who will lead discussions and how members can appropriately add input on specific topics.
- Keep attendees to a minimum.
- Know who you are meeting with from the other side. Understand their roles, experience, history and personalities.
- Establish clear goals upfront and stay on track during the session.
- Understand and impart the value of silence to team members.
- Create a verbal phrase to let team members know when a break is needed to regroup.
- Don’t threaten, don’t bluff.
- Don’t be afraid of an impasse. This may not be the right partnership for your enterprise.
- Disagree, argue, and negotiate, but demonstrate verbal and non-verbal respect for the people involved (on both sides).
If you’d like to deepen your negotiating skills, and better understand non-verbal communications, join us at Gartner’s IT Financial, Procurement and Asset Management Summit in Orlando, Florida next month and attend our session with guest speaker, Joe Navarro. As a former FBI special agent, Joe has 25 years of experience in the area of counterintelligence and behavioral assessment. Today he is one of the world’s leading experts on nonverbal communications and lectures and consults with major corporations worldwide. Learn techniques directly from the master as well as from Gartner analysts with our many negotiating clinics and tutorial sessions.
Register now at http://gtnr.it/KQT7IC