Strategies to Being Masterful When Negotiating with People of Authority

The following is a negotiating tip from author Greg Williams.

Negotiating with someone of authority can be tenacious. The negotiation can become more volatile when you also have a position of authority. How then can you negotiate successfully when negotiating with a person that possesses authority? Below are three strategies you can employ when you find yourself in such situations.

  1. Know the source from which the person with whom you’re negotiating derives her authority. In so doing you’ll gain insight into how she uses her authority (i.e. If the person is a judge, she may be of the mindset that people follow her commands without question. If you’re negotiating with a person of that ilk, be prepared to take them out of their mental realm of thinking you’ll blindly follow their every command. It would also behoove you to set the boundaries, whereby she respects your authority before the negotiation commences.)
  2. Set the stage. Inform the other negotiator, through your body language or verbal communications, that you will not be following his lead, just because he holds a position of authority outside of the current negotiation setting. Be very diplomatic in the way you communicate your intentions. In setting the stage, you don’t want to create planks upon which problems may lie.
  3. Always be cognizant of the fact that authority is transparent. It only exists to the degree you wish to acknowledge it. Thus, you set the limits by the degree you give authority importance in the negotiation. Set the limits appropriately in order to balance the level of attribution required to give it validity, as viewed by the person with whom you’re negotiating. Be cautious not to allow your setting of their authority to eclipse your position.

When dealing with people, always remember authority is positional. Someone that has authority in one environment does not have to have that authority transferred into an environment in which he has no expertise. Authority is also perceptional. If you choose not to recognize someone’s authority, to you, his or her authority is knoll. Perception becomes reality and thus, people only have as much or as little authority as you give them.

When negotiating with people of authority, determine ahead of time how much of their authority you’ll allow to come into the negotiation. In essence, while being respectful of their authority, set boundaries by which you’ll control the level of influence you allow their authority to have. By doing so, you’ll be better equipped to control the interactions that occur in the negotiation. You’ll gain more respect for your position of authority. You’ll also be able to ‘flow’ the negotiation towards a more successful outcome, in a shorter period of time … and everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Tips Are …

  • When negotiating, remember authority is positional. It only has the ‘power’ you give it in your current negotiation situation.
  • As you negotiate, you don’t have to transfer someone’s authority from one realm of their life to the environment in which you’re negotiating. If it’s not appropriate to recognize the authority of the other negotiator, don’t recognize it.
  • One strategy you might employ when negotiating is to make the other negotiator work to have you recognize his authority. If done so strategically, you can gain a mental chit to negotiate with during the negotiation.

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