As a consultant and teacher for over 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many major companies, and I’ve seen a shocking lack of skill at dealing effectively with people, especially those who are different. This has resulted in lost clients, lost revenues and the failure of mergers, one of the most famous of which was AOL-Time Warner.
The failures stem from the wrong-headed notion, fostered through socialization, that one can actually get a right answer to major issues with enough effort, that the facts are paramount and that logic is key in persuasion. In fact, studies show that the facts account for less than 10 percent of the reason why people reach agreements. Who the people are—whether they like or trust each other—accounts for more than 50 percent. And the process—how people organize themselves to talk to each other—accounts for almost 40 percent.
They say that perceptions and emotions are much more important than power and logic in persuasion. In fact, finding and valuing the pictures in the head of the other party is more persuasive than any collection of facts or resources once can muster. It gives you a place to start the persuasion, and it tells you what kinds of things to focus on first. It is a process that can be used with every kind of situation, not just in business: shopping, travel, diplomacy, jobs … and getting four-year olds to willingly brush their teeth and go to bed.
And, overall, it produces four times as much value as doing it the conventional way. That’s because power, including walking out and threats, tends to produce resentment and retaliation. Focusing on their needs, meanwhile, produces more collaboration to solve problems together.
On March 24, I will be hosting a webinar, Getting More: How To Negotiate To Achieve Your Goals In The Real World, through Wharton Alumni Affairs.
My presentation will include these insights:
• Power (leverage) is overrated as a negotiation device.
• Irrationality and emotion must be addressed in important negotiations.
• The pictures in their heads are more important than the facts.
• To overcome hard bargainers, use their standards.
• Goals are paramount, but most people get distracted from them.
The webinar is sold out, but will be available for viewing starting at noon on March 26 at the Alumni Affairs website.