Forgot your password?

80% psychology, 20% technology: how to nail negotiations

Friday, January 15, 2021

Christina Petrukhnova, an expert in effective communications, talked about the formula of trust, typology of personalities and everything that can help us achieve effective communication on air on the “Maslow-ish” podcast of Node.PR agency. We have gathered the main theses in a text version.

Startup Jedi

We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.

What is negotiation?

We bargain in the market — this is a negotiation. We are concluding a billion dollar deal — this is also a negotiation. In our life, negotiations take place every day. If we have a specific goal in communication with another person, then this is negotiations.

Any negotiations must be entered with an understanding of “point B”: what goal I want to achieve. There is a result only when the goal is clear. The second key to success is confident work towards the goal. Our brain takes orders that we give it. Whenever there’s doubt the brain will find confirmation that nothing will work out.


how to nail negotiations

Successful negotiation script

There is an illusion that there are some stages in the negotiations — this approach is common in popular literature on the matter. 15 years of work experience convinced me that it is impossible to fully prepare for any negotiations and predict the result in advance.

Let’s say I have planned hour-long negotiations with David Smith, the goal is such and such. When I come he tells me he needs to leave and we only have five minutes for the conversation. But I still need to achieve my goal! And in these conditions, when the script needs to be changed urgently, the brain starts panicking and you can’t improvise quickly, although an excellent scenario was prepared. This is a dangerous situation. I believe that it is not necessary to teach negotiators any scripts and prepare them yourself, as doing so kills improvisation and flexibility.

If we train high-level negotiators (those working with the top management of states and corporations), then we teach them not scenarios, but sources of resources. Approximately a week before negotiations, such specialists begin to prepare for them, using a set of techniques:

  1. The easiest way to become more alert and more efficient is physical activity for mental endurance, body practice, exercise.

  2. Programming the mind: the attitudes we have in our heads is the result we get in the end. When inside you are the “wolf of Wall Street” who simply cannot help but agree, the result will be that.

  3. The third is the energy of the soul. If I’m a sociopath and it’s hard for me to talk to people, I shouldn’t engage in negotiations as they will only take my energy. And you should do what gives energy, because you need a lot of it to achieve success. Internal readiness — when it doesn’t matter to you with whom and in what conditions to communicate — takes a long time to develop.

It’s all about willingness to negotiate. Preparation is no less important — these are the very scenarios that can confuse us. It is important to know your product thoroughly and be ready to answer a difficult question about it. Confidence breeds credibility.


Dealing with failure

Any negotiation is 80% psychology and 20% technology. Speaking of how to react to failed negotiations, you can leave the meeting with a result that is not suitable for you but perceive the situation as a new experience and learn from your mistakes. This is a very resourceful position, it helps you grow professionally.

Or you can fixate on defeat, get upset, worry. This setting will do nothing but throw you back. Any event in life is initially neutral and we perceive it positively or negatively based on the stereotypes in our head. After reflashing yourself, you can learn to come out of any negotiations as a winner.


how to nail negotiations

Top qualities of a negotiator

The first thing to learn is that all people are different. Most people misunderstand the simple truth. You need to learn to quickly understand what kind of person is in front of you and, based on their psychotype, select the necessary arguments.

There are people who think strategically, they can be offered appropriate arguments. For example: “If you buy now, in six months you will sell at a higher price.” Other people are tacticians who think in the here and now. “We have discounts only today” is an argument for them.

The principle that helps you distinguish what kind of person is in front of you is rather complicated. It takes me a whole day of training to explain it. In short, you need to first look at the physique. It has long been scientifically proven that the appearance and character of a person are interrelated.

Speech patterns, facial expressions, pantomime, communication, body structure and behavior together show what is the basic dominant in the character of this person. By the way, understanding your psychotype also makes it possible to identify the key points of your own professional growth.

Next, you need to improve the ability to establish trust, the ability to be an influential person, to work on destructive programs of behavior — all this together works for the success of communication.

French psychologist Jean Becchio derived the formula: trust = (self-confidence + confidence in the result + connection with the conversation partner) / personal interest. Accordingly, the larger the denominator, the less trust there is in the end.

You need to learn to focus on creating a connection with the person you communicate with, as well as to maximize self-confidence and confidence in the result.


Universal manager

Don’t make a show of your self-confidence. Walking into a room and immediately grabbing all the attention is not confidence. Real confidence is the inner state of a person.

Many companies select an appropriate manager for the client. But top class negotiators can work with any client. This has to do with inner readiness: the ability to “read” a person and create a zone of emotional comfort around them.

Not everyone has access to this skill and therefore not everyone can be a negotiator. In this work, as in any other, it is important to understand whether it suits you, or if you will be better at something else. I am convinced that there are no people without talent. You need to find your strengths and learn how to apply them in life.


how to nail negotiations


How to understand that you are being manipulated? I am a principled opponent of any manipulation techniques and other dishonest ways to achieve goals. Sometimes you manipulate successfully, other times you will simply look ridiculous.

I have a client who specifically took a course in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). When they start to “mirror” him during a conversation, he deliberately takes the most uncomfortable and funny poses so that the would-be manipulator would suffer trying to copy them.

Mirroring, that is, repeating the poses and gestures of your conversation partner, is used very often. NLP adherents claim that this is credible. In fact, it is an illusion. Everything related to NLP needs to be studied for a long time: the creator of the technique himself has been engaged in it for more than 30 years and you cannot develop a skill in one seminar.

Pretending you are in a hurry is an equally popular technique. “Make your time to make up your mind, this product is in great demand” — a person supposedly should be afraid of losing profit and agree to the terms of the manipulator without really thinking about them.

Tough negotiations, where one side “pushes” the other, deliberately taking them out of their comfort zone, is gaining popularity. This is being actively taught now, but I consider the technique incorrect and unethical.

An experienced negotiator is unlikely to buy into manipulation. I know for myself: when I am focused on achieving success in negotiations, I do not need manipulation and it does not matter that they try to manipulate me. Regardless of the amount of manipulation, I will find a bunch of options for the next step.

Manipulation also blurs the focus on the result. We think about what we are doing now instead of the end goal. The strategic goal is lost behind the momentary ones and we get nothing in the end.


how to nail negotiations

Success formula

Determine what you need to achieve in negotiations and your brain will give you all the tools to reach your goal. Build self-confidence, work with self-esteem and, of course, learn different negotiation techniques to have a set of different options and ways to move on in your head. After all, negotiations are 20% technology. And you can learn about tactics and techniques from books and videos on Youtube, there is a lot of good content in the public domain.

Show a keen interest in the other person. In the United States, all negotiations begin with a small talk, which is an opportunity to show interest in your conversation partner. A person who knows how to organically show it gets an advantage. The client feels they are unique and approached individually. And most importantly, learn to “read” people and find the context of the conversation that works or them.

In general, the result of any process in our life is a matter of perception. If we see some task as complex and difficult, then it will turn out to be so. This does not negate the fact that the skill of negotiation cannot be learned once and for all.

We need to train constantly, because the society we live in is changing and the level of negotiations can be very different throughout our life. There are no bad and good people, you just need to be able to “cook”. When this skill comes to you, you will achieve amazing results in negotiations.


Stay tuned and don’t forget to follow us:





More From Startup Jedi

Read which startups pitched their projects during Demo Day and find out who got the main prize - investments!
Today Startup Jedi will tell you about the most successful results of 2019 for the venture industry in Ukraine.