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Thinking in Absolutes

 

Disciplines > Negotiation > Negotiation Mistakes > Thinking in Absolutes

Description | Avoiding it | Taking advantage | See also

 

Description

The world is many-hued, yet people often see it as black and white. The same happens in negotiations where people see only very few options and hence focus on absolutes. This is a form of polarization, where we naturally seek to differentiate ourselves from others.

An example of 'absolute thinking' might be where you are negotiating for a car and assume that the person selling is seeking only to get the maximum price, and hence missing that they might reduce the price to someone they like or that they need to sell it today to spend the money on something they want tomorrow.

Absolute thinking also is found in your wants and offers. You might decide that you absolutely must have the car, and hence end up paying too much for it. You might also decide that you absolutely must have a blue model and turn down a great deal on a green one. Or perhaps think that you must pay today without thinking about a staged payment plan.

Avoiding it

Avoid thinking in absolutes by finding variables and other things that allow you to see the finer spaces between absolutes. Often it is the person who can find the best variables who gains most from the negotiation.

Taking advantage

You can encourage the other person to thinking in absolutes, for example by using an alternative close, offering just a few possibilities. When they have fewer choices, they are more likely to choose than when they can explore many possibilities. This may be to your benefit.

See also

Polarization, Finding variables, Developing your walk-away, Finding fair criteria

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