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September 22, 2009


Mr. Pink: A Negotiation Guru?

by Katie

There is a reason he got away, you know.  And it wasn’t just dumb luck.

Being able to assess the reliability of those you’re working with, their trust of you, their power, and yours is a skill hard earned and worth cultivating.

Let’s face it: if you’re an artist and you are reading this blog, chances are you feel like you don’t have a lot of power in most of your negotiations.  You have also likely been burned by trusting someone too much in a deal that was “guaranteed” to be a “jumping off point” for your career.

Well, my friends, I have news: Academia cares about you!

The fine folks at the Harvard Negotiation Law Review have published an article about how power and trust influence negotiation and decision making.  In fact, they have helpfully titled the article “Power and Trust in Negotiation and Decision Making: A Critical Evaluation.”

Go read itNow. Please.

When you feel powerless, you behave as if you are powerless.  When you are unable to trust, it’s hard for someone to trust you in return.  And when you behave as if you have no power and no trust, you cannot succeed in negotiating.

Knowing how power and trust work, where they come from, how people typically respond to and use them, is the next best thing to genuinely having them.

Remember being awesome?  This is the same idea: learn to recognize power and trust and how they’re used.  Slowly but surely, you’ll start to gain more confidence and assertiveness when you negotiate.

You’ll be able to recognize and use your power; you’ll have more information about whether to trust someone than just a gut instinct.

Instead of being intimidated by your counterpart because he’s threatening to pull the contract and give the project to Mr. Orange, you can calmly remove yourself from the emotional context and realize:

“Man, this dude is a total structuralist.  He’s trying to intimidate me by puffing.  I know that I can worsen the perception of his BATNA because Mr. Orange might not be available for that project; we were just talking about it last night.  And because Orange might not be available, this guy can’t follow through on his threat.  I know what to do.”

You can learn these lessons through trial and error.

I personally think it’s easier to augment my practical education with a healthy dose of book learning. But if you like bloody noses, by all means….

Check out the article.  It’s not too long and chock full of good info.  You’ll thank me (and Ms. Cheng!) later.

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1 Comment
  1. Jenni
    Sep 23 2009

    Rad post! I’m going to have to read the rest of the article later, since it’s written in language I can’t comprehend at an-hour-past-my-bedtime.

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