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Being Weak

 

Disciplines > Negotiation > Negotiation mistakes > Being Weak

Description | Avoiding it | Taking advantage | See also

 

Description

When we feel weak in a negotiation, we send weak signals, act weakly and invite the other side to take advantage of us.

Some of the weak things we do include:

  • Wanting to be liked.
  • Being too nice.
  • Thinking we have less power than we really do.
  • Thinking they can see our weaknesses.
  • Not knowing what we really want.
  • Negotiating on matters for which we are not properly prepared.
  • Thinking too much about our weaknesses and not about theirs.
  • Conceding without getting anything in return.
  • Giving in to bullying tactics.
  • Bluffing when we have no response if they call our bluff.
  • Believing everything they say (including what they say about you).
  • Allowing ourselves to be provoked, to get emotional and so be manipulated.
  • Being so bound up in our own feelings we miss those of the other side.
  • Asking for too little (or offering too much).

Avoiding it

Weakness is a mental state. If we can change our mental state then we can change our strength. We always have more power and strength than we realize, and we should know this before getting into a negotiation. It can also help to do some self-belief thinking just before the negotiation so we can go in feeling confident (and stay that way).

The most important part of weakness is self-focus, of being concerned for our own feelings and just acting to make ourselves feel good. This is made far worse when we are fearful and imagine failure. Just thinking 'what is the worst that could happen?' and 'so what?' can make a difference.

If the negotiation is important and we are feeling weak, it can be worth getting others to help or ensuring we have an escape strategy for moments when we are feeling a lack of confidence. Even going to the bathroom before deciding can be helpful.

Taking advantage

If the other side shows weakness, you can press on this. Do so carefully, as people who feel cornered can suddenly find courage and fight to the death. Just asking the right questions can nudge people into weak thinking as it exposes problems that perhaps they have not fully thought through. Overall, be just as strong as you need to nudge a weakness into a concession.

See also

Misunderstanding Power

 

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