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Below: David J Norris, MD, MBA teaches that everyone has blindspots. Knowing yours will help keep you from making mistake at the negotiation table.

Understand Your Blind Spots

 

The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself. — Thales

When you’re in a negotiation, it’s crucial that you know who you are and understand your personality. By understanding yourself, you’ll appreciate the source of your emotions, especially your fear.

A quick way to determine your personality type is to ask two questions. The first is about your pace or motor. Fast or slow? Do you like to move quickly and want everyone else to do so as well? Or more slowly and think others need to slow down? Take a minute to write down your pace.

The next question is about what you typically focus on—people or tasks? When you’re dealing with a problem, do you concentrate on the people involved in accomplishing the task, or the task? Write down where your focus lies.

You should now have two words in front of you, one about your pace, the other about your and focus. Let’s look at their possible combinations and the blind spots commonly associated with each.

 

When you’re in a negotiation, it’s crucial that you know who you are and understand your personality. By understanding yourself, you’ll appreciate the source of your emotions, especially your fear. Click To Tweet

 

Fast-Paced and Task-Based

If you wrote down fast and task, you’re a doer. You like getting things done. Your motivation is the accomplishment itself. You enjoy being able to point to something and say, “I did that.” You’re not a big fan of plaques and awards; you only want to solve problems. It’s natural for you to see the big picture, and it’s likely all you care about. You don’t like messing with the details and tend to get frustrated when someone asks you to discuss subtler points.

In a negotiation, this can be problem. You’re most likely to focus on one or two big issues that are important to you and probably yield a lot on other matters. Your source of fear is not getting the deal done. You might allow your drive to get a deal done on one or two issues at the cost of your negotiating posture. Be mindful of what you give away to get those one or two items.

 

Fast-Paced and People-Based

If you wrote down fast and people, you’re probably the life of the party, one everyone wants to be around. You have lots of friends, and others enjoy your company. You love to talk and will talk with just about anyone. Your motivation is likely the recognition you receive for being you and doing what you do. You probably start many projects, but seeing them through to completion is a struggle.

When you’re negotiating, being fast is good, but worrying if people will like you isn’t. You’re better served if you focus on what you can do than on what others will think of you. You may think others will offer you a good deal if you’re friends, but this doesn’t always happen.

Fast-paced, people-oriented individuals also tend to talk more than they should. Be careful about what you say, and think about the words you use. Don’t give away information that might damage or weaken your negotiating posture.

 

When you’re negotiating, being fast is good, but worrying if people will like you isn’t. You’re better served if you focus on what you can do than on what others will think of you. Click To Tweet

 

Slow-Paced and People-Based

You love people and like to take things slow. It gives you joy to help others. You’re motivated by knowing how much you can help others. Sometimes your desire to help others is so strong, you can’t say no. You also love routines and the status quo. You love to support others in their projects, and you’re probably one of the sweetest folks in the world. Your compassion and caring know no limits.

Slow-paced, people-oriented individuals are great in support roles, but can be poor negotiators. Their desire to please others often overrides their own interests. If the other side hints that denying their request will affect the business relationship, these folks are apt to grant it, even when it’s not in their best interest. They’re frequently labeled “easy marks” or “doormats” by aggressive negotiators.

 

Slow-paced, people-oriented individuals are great in support roles, but can be poor negotiators. Their desire to please others often overrides their own interests. Click To Tweet

 

It’s okay to say no in a negotiation and, more importantly, never to try to save the other side. You can help them, but don’t sacrifice interests to save them. Like the lifeguard saving a drowning victim, the person on the other side of the negotiation table may need help, but you must protect yourself so you can provide that help.

 

Slow-Paced and Task-Based

Slow-paced, task-oriented individuals love data as much as they love being correct. If this is your style, you likely enjoy processes and hard facts. Ambiguity frustrates you. You also want everything to be perfect. Do it right, you say, or don’t do it at all. You’ll check and re-check things to ensure that whatever you’re doing is correct. You’re willing and able to defend your position and prove the other side are in error. You’re ready to debate just about anything.

In a negotiation, attention to detail is a great trait. Be careful, however, not to take too much time or ask for too much when crafting the perfect deal. Good has degrees. Recognize you might have to settle for something less than perfect. The search for perfection is the enemy of the achievable good. Check your desire to show you’re right. Sometimes it’s better to have a signed contract than bragging rights.

Understanding your blind spots and your fears is a good way of improving the outcomes of your negotiations. There are a number of tools to help you learn more about yourself. Find one, use it, apply what you learn.

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