Information, Time & Power – Leverages of Negotiation
In negotiations, Leverage is power. Whoever has the most… wins
Here are some primary questions you must ask yourself when you are negotiating: “Who has the superior bargaining position? Why is it superior?” The next question you must ask is, “How and when can you use your leverage to your foremost advantage?” Timing and technique matter. Now, as you analyze your situation, realize that everything the opposing person wants or needs for agreement is to your advantage (as long as you understand their reasons). On the other hand, everything you need or desire for an agreement adds to the other side’s leverage (also only if they comprehend your reasons).
Hopefully your preparation has given you as much information as you need to be a strong negotiator. As you negotiate, new information will come up that will help you understand where the other person is coming from. As much as possible, make sure you don’t give too much information to the other side. Try not to contribute any knowledge that would grant them superior power. This is not easy, but the better you do it, the better your leverage during a negotiation.
You have to evaluate your leverage over and over again as well as the leverage the other person is showing you. Why? Because as talks move forward, events, positions, and attitudes change. More than likely, your adversary is also performing the same calculations. It’s very much like a chess match. Each advance changes the posture of the game. The correct moves at the proper time can threaten your contestant’s king. So you should deliberate many times on how and when to use your leverage during a negotiation to achieve dominance.
If you fail to stay updated and informed as the process unfolds, you may not maintain any advantage. If you require an emergency appendectomy the doctor and the hospital obviously have the advantage and the most leverage. You are not in the position to negotiate the cost of the operation while you’re rolling in pain on a gurney to the operating room. However should the sickness be one which is not an emergency and in which you can take a second or third opinion, your leverage increases as you may have options to obtain medical opinions with other hospitals and doctors.
Here’s another factor: It’s not entirely the scrutiny of powerful positions that creates leverage. It’s also how that force is handled. You can use it subtly or with a hammer. You can apply it when circumstances are proper and when you are at your best, or use it at the improper time and destroy your superiority.
Finally, there are two important questions to ask yourself continually: Who needs it more? Who has the greater motivation? If you determine the other side’s needs are greater than its wants, you have the advantage.