Why Every Workplace Negotiation Asks The Question: “Do You Love Me?”

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    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.


    Why 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.

18 responses to Why Every Workplace Negotiation Asks The Question: “Do You Love Me?”

  1. Anna Maria says:

    Boy, I think that many business and organizations could benefit from your expertise…Bravo…keep sharing.

    1. Richard Cohen says:

      Thanks Anna Maria!

  2. Michael Katz says:

    Great stuff as always, Richard. And I admit that now, half the reason I watch these, is to see what funny thing you do at the end. Loved it!

    1. Richard Cohen says:

      Don’t put that kind of pressure on me, Michael. ;o)

  3. John says:

    Hard core awesome…I got the bald joke…But pizza? Are you saying that at the end of the day food matters more than our standing in society?! Great stuff.

    1. Richard Cohen says:

      I don’t know…Pizza is pretty darn important!

  4. Cathy E says:

    Thanks again for the words of wisdom. We humans are so simple and so complex at the same time! Such important info for everyone in the workplace.

    1. Richard Cohen says:

      Thanks, Cathy. I like that: “so simple and so complex.”

  5. Court Dorsey says:

    Great work, Richard. I love to see that you do this important work with humor. I advise everyone to stay to the end of this video. The true secret of Richard’s brain is revealed!

    1. Richard Cohen says:

      Thanks Court. You are on to me…

  6. Marty Cohen says:

    Richard. Yes, you are bald, but lucky for you, few people have the vantage point to see it. You can disregard it and focus on the negotiation. Besides, it looks good on you. I enjoy these.

    1. Richard Cohen says:

      Thanks Dad. ;o)

  7. Kiesha says:

    Thank you for the videos! They are very useful in my field of work.

    1. Richard Cohen says:

      I appreciate you letting me know that you are finding these useful, Keisha. Sending them out into the ether, it can be hard to tell. Thanks so much for writing.

  8. JJ says:

    I am enjoying these videos/demonstrations of wisdom and competence. The other side of the equation is also true: those questions and need for connection exist for all parties concerned. Nice work.

    1. Richard Cohen says:

      Yes, agreed. Everyone, to a greeter or lesser degree, has the same needs. Thanks for writing

  9. Annette B. says:

    Such good advice for so many of us…it means the world to hear someone say, “I really value your input…” and to practice that active listening. In the education world teachers can get so “ego-driven” and often feel insecure under the massive list of expectations. These communication skills are top notch. (plus, I like your attempts to swat away those intrusive thoughts! ha ha!)

    1. Richard Cohen says:

      Thanks Annette. And my experience is that in this regard, it’s not all that different in schools than in other workplaces. “People are people” as they say…

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