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Floppy Requests

 

Disciplines > Negotiation > Negotiation articles > Floppy Requests

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Floppy requests are those that assume the request will fail and are couched in terms that suggest this.

Typically, they are spoken with a dejected air that lacks enthusiasm. Body language may be sagging, with a wan smile and pleading gestures.

The request often uses 'mind reading' that assumes the other person is unwilling to negotiate further, using phrases such as 'you won't'. This makes it easy for the other person to agree and for the negotiation to conclude at the current level.

Example

You won't pay more, will you?

I don't suppose you'd give more discount.

I guess that's your last offer, isn't it?

Discussion

Floppy requests are typically used by people who do not like negotiating, as the relationship is of paramount importance to them. They do not want the other person to think badly of them and fear the person will be insulted by the request. This happens more often when the other person is known, but may well also appear when negotiating with strangers.

Through the lens of Transactional Analysis, the requester is positioning themself as a child, petitioning their parent for help in a pathetic way that seeks a sympathetic response. The only question is whether the other side will respond as a controlling parent that is not taken in, or a supportive, nurturing parent.

Floppy requests can work, but only when the relationship is also important to the other person. If they see the request as a signal of the requester's discomfort, they may try to help by improving their offer. This gives a good pointer -- floppy requests can work only when the other person cares more about your happiness than getting the best deal for themselves.

Another use of floppy requests is as a signal, where you have reached a good price for you and are happy to conclude the agreement. By being floppy, you give control to the other person so they think they have won.

See also

Floppy Language, Questioning Techniques

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