We all try to “get stuff” when we negotiate at work: a job, a project done well and on time, more sales, less cost, etc. But in addition to this “stuff,” our brains always track something else—our standing among the people with whom we are negotiating. Address this ever-present human concern and win bigger.
TranscriptWhy Every Workplace Negotiation Asks The Question: “Do You Love Me?”
I’ve talked a lot in these videos about the value of collaboration at work.
But it goes way beyond the office. Collaboration is fundamental to who we are: Our ancestors bet that working together in small groups would increase their ability to survive.
And, of course, it’s paid off. Human beings are, for better and sometimes for worse, one of the most successful species on the planet.
One consequence of our evolutionary commitment to small groups is that most of us continually track our standing among the people that surround us.
And I’m not talking figuratively here. Neuroscientists like Matthew Lieberman have demonstrated that our so-called “default brain” is social. Whenever we aren’t solving other problems, we automatically turn on the part of our brain that’s dedicated to understanding people and our relationship to them, asking questions like:
Am I connected?
Am I valued?
Do they respect me?
Do they think I’m competent?
So regardless of whether we are discussing strategy or budgets, negotiating policy or price, even talking about sports or the weather, these questions are always up.
To get the most from our negotiations, it’s in our interest to help our counterpart answer them: Either explicitly by what we say, or implicitly by how we treat them and their concerns.
It’s not everything, but it increases the likelihood that they can devote their full attention to the challenges at hand, most importantly: working with us to meet our needs.