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Changing the Standard

 

Disciplines > Negotiation > Negotiation tactics > Changing the Standard

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Find the standard

A trick with negotiation is to understand the comparisons that are being made in people's heads. What are the benchmarks against which people are deciding? What are their actual or constructed standards?

To find the standard, ask them about their ideals. Get them to describe their best experiences or perfect ideals. Be enthusiastic and they will tell you more. Another way is to ask for company policies in the areas of interest.

Change the standard

If you can change the comparison standard by which they judge all others, you can make what you are offering look wonderful or what they are offering look bad.

You can change the entire standard or just one part of it.

Example

Could you describe your perfect house?
...
Imagine a beautiful little house in the country with roses around the door...
(change the standard)
You know, wooden windows are considered rather old fashioned now. (change an element)

Tell me about the best holiday you have had.
...
You've not seen the Maldives, have you? Let me show you a picture of paradise...

Discussion

We make many decisions by using contrasting comparisons between two items. To decide whether something is good or bad, we fix one of these as a standard (which can be a standard for bad things as well as good).

Comparisons may be against fixed standards or ideals. For example, if I am buying a house, I may have an actual house in mind I have seen against which I compare all others. Alternatively, I may have built one mentally, perhaps as a composite of desirable elements I have seen.

See also

Fair Criteria

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