We negotiate more than we think. The best tactic depends a lot on the number of people you strike a deal with. What makes the difference?
When negotiating, you might think about the flea market, your new contract, or a gameCatan with your friends. But you actually spend all day negotiating with the people around you. Social psychologist Ilga van Best (Tilburg University) explains how to get the most out of these negotiations.
Who is washing dishes today? How much discount would you get in store if this button was out of the pants? Will you be responsible for that new job at work? Or can you clean the dirty cups after the meeting when the rest is done? “We always make agreements with each other about distributing food, time or money, for example,” Van Pest says. “There is often competition and you have to be able to negotiate.”
We usually don’t appreciate what to do in a negotiation because we don’t pay much attention to the situation in which we find ourselves, says Van Pest. According to the social psychologist, it is very important that you sit at the table with two people, or with three or more people.
First of all, those situations that consist of two people. “When you are in pairs, you have an advantage if you are the strongest or the strongest in the negotiation,” says the psychologist. Think about your boss dividing tasks; Then you have to stick to it. The division of power between you and your boss is simply there and you can’t change much about him.
When negotiating with someone new, it helps that that person perceives you as strong or intimidating. Van Best: “Research on negotiating between two people shows that you can often get a better deal if you get angry. After all, in this case, you have to work together, because there is no one else.”
If more than two people are involved, the situation is different, says Van Pest: “If three or more people have to split something, people often prefer to work with someone less intimidating.”
In this case, people can still choose who they want to work with. “People expect a strong or powerful person to control the cooperation a lot and prefer to exclude that person,” Van Best says. An angry reaction in negotiations with more than two people is counterproductive. “They don’t necessarily need to achieve their goal.”
Do you really want that upgrade, or do you never want to wash dishes at home again? Then think carefully about the situation you are in. How many people should you negotiate with? What is the balance of power there? With the help of science, you might be able to let someone else open this tub.