The Role of Positioning in Successful Negotiation

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Our reputation follows us everywhere, and is a reflection of us at all times. The fact that you are unknown is significant enough that even the lack of a reputation is telling. It is therefore important to define who you want to be perceived as in order to ensure that image is projected. This is something that can be accomplished in your very first exchanges with the other negotiator. Donald Trump, for instance, allegedly instructed intermediaries to tell people meeting with him that he did not shake hands. If Donald told this to a new acquaintance, they might be taken aback when he extended his hand to shake it the moment they met. Many were moved to amazement by such a show of kindness. And it only helped Donald’s reputation more. This put him in a strong negotiating position.

To what extent are you able to position yourself to succeed in negotiations? When negotiating with an adversary, positioning involves framing your arguments in a way that you hope will be taken by them as you intended. If you put yourself in the best possible position before entering a negotiation, the negotiation will go more smoothly and you will improve its outcome.

Put yourself where you want to be by picking your friends and family members carefully.

Preparing for a negotiation with the right people by your side is a surefire way to improve your position. Having a sizable support group can serve as a status symbol in certain situations. If the negotiation takes place in a familiar setting, you may have an advantage. In order to maintain an air of superiority, it may be necessary to install barriers between you and potential contacts. The gatekeepers can be dismissed at the appropriate time to allow the person you will be negotiating with greater access to you. There ought to be some sort of internal chit for this action that can be used later in the negotiation.

The positioning…

Take into account the end goal of your positioning.
Think about how the other negotiating party might interpret your stance. Approach it from his knowledge of you and his understanding of your position’s justification.

Evaluate how convincing your argument actually is. Doing so could cause more harm than good, even if it were true.

There’s a saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s not the case. Since it is inevitable that you will undergo change as you progress through life, you will have numerous opportunities to reinvent yourself. Therefore, none of us can adequately assess our own greatness, or lack thereof. If you present yourself in a negotiation in the way you want to be seen, the other party will likely follow your lead, be more willing to make some concessions, and trust you to follow through on your promises. If that’s the case, everyone involved in the negotiation will have an easier time of it… and the world will be a better place for it.

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