Imagine yourself in a situation where you have to negotiate and defend your own point of view. Both your job and your employer are at stake. On the other side of the table there are nine men sitting in suits with no expressions on their faces.
Representing the men in suits and defending their cause is a person equipped with a strong will and opinions, and a body language that shows no sign of hesitation. He appears completely confident and starts the conversation with a long and declamatory statement. The purpose of that statement is to crush each and every one of your arguments and to get you to bend to their terms.
How are you feeling?
If this imaginary – perhaps even a bit absurd – situation causes you mostly anxiety, you can relate to Susan Cain. She’s the author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
In her book Cain scrutinises the birth of our culture that praises extroversion. She illuminates when and why the features of the extroverts began to be appreciated over others. Within this context it’s no wonder why we rather place the extroverted and talkative persons into the negotiations to compete until the victory of the stronger opponent.
Does an introvert have what it takes to be a negotiator
Quiet reminds us, that we underestimate the benefits of introversion that can be used in the situation of negotiation:
- Introverts are typically excellent listeners
- They rarely speak without consideration, and they don’t easily lose their temper
- They do a lot of groundwork and try to understand things profoundly.
- It is characteristic to an introvert to ask a lot of questions and to actually listen to the given answers.
When in a negotiation the other tries to achieve his aim with confidence and strength, the introvert is able to turn the negotiation into a conversation. By using the tactic of asking, listening, and asking more, we get deeper into the subject. New perspectives, possible paths, and alternative outcomes for the negotiation start to open up.
There is a term dedicated to this tactic and that’s Negotiation jujitsu.
If two opposing sides push against each other, it amplifies the confrontation and easily causes a standoff. That’s why it is rarely a good idea to react by attacking or getting provoked when the opponent gives a statement. Instead, like they do in martial arts, it is wise to steer the strength of the opponent. You can do that by asking questions and discussing towards the points of view that are beneficial to both.
I tricked you a little on the heading
The art of negotiation is not, you see, a thing that has something to do with introvert-extrovert opposition. Even if I seem to promise something like that on the heading. Negotiation jujitsu is a skill that anyone can, and would be recommended to, learn. But it’s true that the introverts have several intrinsic features that are an asset in negotiations.
Main thing is to become aware of your own style of negotiating and to improve it on areas where you lack in skill. Be proud of your own special features and take advantage of them shamelessly. And, of course, be present.
TL;DR: What’s the benefit of being an introvert in a negotiation?
- Introverts are typically calm, good listeners, hardworking when it comes to groundwork and brilliant in asking questions.
- In a negotiation where two strong opponents try to win by force, we often end up in conflicts and standoffs.
- By trying to reply to the opponent’s strong argument with a calm question we are more likely to proceed in the negotiation.
- This is called Negotiation jujitsu.
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