Learnings from "Never Split the Difference"  #Books

01 Aug 2018

Here are the learnings from the most exciting book on Negotiations. One thing is clear: I will need to return to this book again, and again, and again to extract the full insurmountable value from it.

In Chapter 2, the author lists 4 steps to cracking the counterpart: 1. Use the Late Night FM DJ voice: calm, slow, confident, downward inflecting 2. Start with "I'm sorry, ..." 3. Be a mirror: continuously repeat the last 3 or most crucial 1-to-3 words back to the counterpart 4. Silence: pause for at least 4 seconds to let the magic of mirroring take place. Great negotiators do not get trapped in their assumptions and mindsets. Negotiation is an act of discovery. Great negotiators recognize that and test their hypotheses rigorously in the act of negotiation. In Chapter 3, the author brings up the importance of understanding the counterpart's feelings. Not agreeing with them, not "giving out hugs" - but understanding why their feelings and logic makes sense to them. To do that, a great negotiator engages in what is called "labeling" - calling out the emotions. Labeling usually starts with "it seems like", "it looks like", "it sounds like", etc. It is powerful because labeling negative emotions decreases or diffuses them. Labeling positive emotions reinforces them. That is because emotions originate in amygdala, but labeling emotions brings them to rational part of the brain. In Chapter 4, the author criticizes the “getting to yes approach”. He says, the word yes so sought for by salesmen builds up distrust and tension, as the counterpart actually wants to scream “no!” There are 3 types of “yes”: counterfeit - lying to get rid of you, affirmative - confirm the fact but not the commitment, and commitment - which is what you want in the negotiation. Very rarely people are able to get to the commitment yes. “No”, on the other hand, is good for negotiation, as great negotiators know that it is only after “no” the true conversation begins. People tend to relax after being able to exercise that “no”, and they become more open-minded for possibilities. Thus, we need to learn to take “no” as not the end of conversation, but as something else, e.g. “I don’t understand”, “I am scared”, “I am not ready to agree yet”, “I need more information” or “I need to consult with somebody”. The two most thought-after words in the negotiation are "That's right". After these two magical words, the dynamics of the negotiation tend to reverse. To achieve these two magical words, the aforementioned techniques should be used: mirroring, paraphrasing, summarizing, meaningful pauses. The "F" word is "fair. People drop "F" bombs to intentionally or unintentionally infuse negative emotions in conversation. Saying that something is "unfair" is an implicit accusation that brings in negative emotional dynamic. Do not use the "F" word. If it is used against you, say "I'm sorry. Let us stop here and try to go back to where I started treating you unfairly". Calibrated questions are extremely powerful in helping people to either solve your problem or see the situation through your prism. Always use open-ended questions starting with "how" and "what" only! For example: "How am I supposed to do that?", "What information, if it was true, would make you change your mind?", "How does it make you feel?" Great example: instead of telling the hostage-taker to provide such and such information about the hostage in order to ensure that she is still alive, ask her "How am I supposed to know that she is still alive?" - and let your counterpart to solve this problem for you. This engages collaborative problem solving, which helps to establish a better rapport with the counterpart. Controlling your own emotions is not sufficient but necessary component to be able to navigate the negotiations dynamic effectively. If you cannot control your own emotions, pause and think what strategy to use next, how do you hope to control the emotions and decisions of your counterpart? Yes without How is useless. Even if you get a commitment from your counterpart, failing on the implementation piece might avert the negotiation success. Make sure to work out with the counterpart the How part. In order to ensure that the counterpart is not dishonest with you, get commitment from the counterpart 3 times by wording and rephrasing the agreement in different ways. It is hard to continuously keep a dishonest position. Only 7% of your perception comes from what you say; 38% comes from how you say it - your voice, your tone; 55% comes from body language. Remember that to ensure that you make the most of your voice and body language. There are 3 extremes of negotiators: analysts, accommodators, and assertives. They have different approach to negotiations: different priorities, different vulnerabilities, etc. If you understand what you are and who you are negotiating with, you will be able to exploit your strengths, and artfully use the psychic of your counterpart. Ackerman's algorithm to negotiation: 1. Identify your target purchase or sale price. It needs to be a precise non-round number. 2. Calculate the 65%, 85%, and 95% of your target price. Start with 65% - it is your anchor. 3. Say "no" in different ways to your counterpart, each time moving to the next step in the ladder. There are 3 types of arguments for persuasion: positive (I can reward you), negative (I can make you suffer) and normative (everyone does it). To effectively use the normative persuasion, you need to know your counterpart's "religion" - what is the set of values, frames of reference, and view of the world they are holding. Remember that people tend to like what is similar and known - exploit it to create normative persuasion arguments.