Negotiation triggers put you in a state of mind whereby you can be civil or non-civil. Here are a couple of examples of triggers you can use in a negotiation with an attorney.
Interruption as a negotiation trigger
I hold the phone to my ear and listen to the attorney rant. One of my triggers is that I get angry when I’m interrupted. Attorneys have called me to talk about an invoice (always that it’s too large and never that it’s too small). They are blowing off steam and they are angry.
The angry attorney starts steamrolling over me, interrupting me and not allowing me to make any kind of statement or response after I’ve given that attorney ample chance to blow off the steam. I have listened to why he’s upset and not interrupted. Then it’s my turn to talk and he starts interrupting. I can guarantee you that will cause my blood pressure to rise.
That’s my personal trigger and I know that I have to watch for it because I can become incensed. I don’t get angry easily. It takes a lot to get me upset. But when somebody is constantly interrupting me that’s enough to really get me going. That would affect a negotiation because at that point I don’t want to listen anymore. I don’t want to interact with somebody who’s interrupting me. I want to just put the whole thing on hold and say to him, “Let’s calm down. Let’s revisit this when we can converse about this in a non-agitated upset way.”
Urgency as a negotiation trigger
The attorney leaves a voice mail message that says, “Pat, hey how are you doing today? Look I only have a few minutes, but I need to find out if you can quickly help me with this. Please get back to me right away.”
The trigger is urgency. How do you react to a request that is time sensitive? If you knows that you don’t not respond well and the attorney uses that as a trigger, she may be hurting herself by leaving a message in the matter she did.
On the other hand, you may realize that the attorney’s urgency will lead to a request for a rush job, which means you will charge a higher fee for doing the work faster. Your curiosity is raised – what does she need and how fast does she need it?
Intimidation as a negotiation trigger
Do you get intimidated when someone gets too close to your space? Suppose you are my height (5’1”) and a 6’3” opposing counsel towers over you. You know you get very intimidated in a face to face encounter if he stands too close to you. Knowing that you react that way, you back away. The attorney is using his height in an attempt to make you more submissive.
Being nice as a negotiation trigger
Triggers can come in the form of verbal and nonverbal manners, but even more so from a positive aspect. Suppose I am an attorney who knows I need you to help me finish a case. I know your skills are excellent. I’m going to use the trigger of being very nice to you. I’m going to understand what that source of motivation is for you to help me. I’m going to use it by observing how you react.
If you bungle the triggers, there will be troubles in the negotiation. You might convey to the attorney, “I’ll tell you what Mr. Attorney, I’m just as important as you are and therefore you will respect me.” That’s confrontational, but the trigger that sets off in the attorney is, “Oh yeah, really.” He clicks off or thinks, “I’ll call somebody else.”
Negotiation triggers can make or break a deal. The way you utilize them in a negotiation will also determine to what degree the negotiation will flow effortlessly.
Discover more negotiation secrets by listening to Greg Williams’ podcast for LegalNursePodcasts.com. Go to this link to listen to or read his episode: Negotiation Secrets for Coming Out on Top. Pat was the ghostwriter for Greg’s new book, Body Language Secrets to Win More Negotiations, released in September 2016.