Successful negotiators have to master two complementary skills – analysis and planning. The trick, however, is that you have to analyze your counter-party, and then adjust your own plans, methods, and behaviors.
Not the Way We’re Wired
Although this sounds simple enough, it is actually counter-intuitive in practice –and quite difficult. When I started my career in finance, one of the first rules I learned was “buy low, sell high”. The next thing I learned was that the vast majority of investors ended up doing just the opposite – buying at the top and selling low out of fear. Negotiators are prone to making the same sort of emotional blunder. Negotiation is a messy, emotional process, and when there is conflict or stress we revert to our base instincts. We analyze our own agenda and try to adjust our counter-party’s behavior. This is how we humans are wired