Think David and Goliath. As little scientific evidence as there is to prove that this episode really took place, one thing is true: small can be powerful. That’s because power is not about size – it’s about positioning.
Now think tennis. The amount of power that a player exerts on a shot is not dependent on their size. It all hinges on how they stand to take the shot. A short, well positioned player has much more power than a tall and lanky one or a bulky and clumsy one.
Think about that next time you enter a negotiation.
Resist the temptation to be intimidated by the size of the party across the table. Focus on positioning yourself solidly on the ground.
Here are some tips to help you keep your cool in the heat of the deal:
- Be clear on what you want to achieve. As you set out to determine this, think about what is the best case scenario. In other words, if you had a magic wand, what would the outcome of the negotiation be? Part from a winning position. Then aim for a win-win outcome.
- Play your moves forward. Ask yourself: “ if I do this, then the other party will respond this way. And then what?”
- Apply facts. Knowing the facts is not enough. Using those facts to advance your position is what matters most.
- Walk away. I’ve mentioned this before – and I continue to bring it up because I keep living with my own skin the power of turning down an offer. Voting with your feet is one of the most powerful ways to get the other party to wake up (and respond) to your demands.
- Look for options. Desperate is not a good look. At the negotiation table, it’s the weakest place to play from. To stop yourself from being desperate, look for other options before you sit at the negotiation table. If need be, play those offers against each other. That will make you powerful.
Forget the other party’s size. Don’t come anywhere near a negotation without first making sure that you’re standing in the seat of power. Otherwise you risk being dragged – by your own lack of positioning.