How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
'Everyday negotiation' is a simple description of the negotiations in which we engage every day. And we do negotiate, almost every time that we meet another person.
We even negotiate silently with strangers as we dance past them on the street. We look at them, they look at us. One of us leans the body slightly one way, the other lean the other way. The leans turn into swerves. Or maybe one person just goes straight and the other has to dodge around.
In conversation, we want others to listen to us, which is a negotiation in itself as we seek to interrupt their flow. We wait for our turn or dive quickly into the pause. A slightly raised voice at the start of our speech is often used to firmly grab the talking stick.
Then we get even more serious as we try to change their minds.
At a crass level, we just assert our ideas and work on the principle that because they are obvious truths to us, they must be obvious truths to others. More subtly, we try to see things from their viewpoint and genuinely try to persuade.
Yet we are still amateurs.
Where things get particularly tense for us is when we have to buy something from a professional sales person. All at once, we are up against someone who knows that they are doing and knows what we are thinking. Sometimes we know this and sometimes we are lambs to the slaughter. Either way, if we are not careful we can end up with a much worse deal than we realize.
Joe buys a car
A classic scenario is where Joe (or Jane or you) buys a car.
Joe drives up to the sales lot in his old Ford. The sales person smiles broadly at Joe and shakes his hand.
'Hello sir, what are you looking for today?'
Joe smiles back and frowns. 'I need a new car.'
'Indeed sir.' The sales person also contemplates the Ford and shakes his head. 'Well, you've come at just the right time, sir. We've some new stock in, including some very popular Toyotas. I never keep those cars long. They're so comfortable and reliable that people in the know go for them every time.'
Joe raises his eyebrows. 'Toyota? I wasn't thinking about them. Can you show me one?'
'Certainly sir. Just sit in this lovely blue one over here...There, how does that feel?...Now watch this...'
Joe seems impressed and asks how much.
'Before we get to that, sir, I'd just like to show you another car. We've only one and it's just in the back at the moment, but I can see that you appreciate good motoring so I thought I'd let you have a go. In fact my manager's not in yet, so why don't we go for a drive in it...'
Guess which car Joe drives off the lot, with a smile on his face and a hole in his finances that will horrify his wife. Never mind. Bill next door will be green with envy.