HUMAN REACTIONS TO CONFRONTATIONAL BEHAVIOUR 1) Striking back 2) Giving in 3) Breaking off • Striking Back - fight fire with fire - They may be better at it than you, so you may lose - Even if you make short term gains, you will probably endanger the long-term relationship - win the battle but lose the war • Giving In - Giving in under pressure, because other side makes you feel that failure to reach agreement is your fault - Giving in usually results in unsatisfactory outcome – you feel you’ve been “had” - It rewards the other side’s bad behaviour, gives you a reputation for caving in easily and sets both of you up for repetition of the behaviour • Breaking off - It may sometimes be appropriate - avoids you being repeatedly taken advantage of - May remind the other side of the importance of the relationship - But costs may be high and you may regret it later - It may mean you never develop the full potential of the relationship REACTING STOPS YOU FROM THINKING CLEARLY - Which is something you really need in negotiations - The reaction may become part of the problem - You also tend to lose sight of your interests • F&U suggest you can choose not to react! “Go to the Balcony!” You mentally remove yourself from the conflict, try to view it objectively as if you were a third party and look for a mutually satisfactory solution • Simply recognising the tactic is very helpful. Ury suggests these tactics come under the headings of stone walls, attacks and tricks • But don’t jump to conclusions – one “tricky” incident creates suspicion, not a conclusion YOU ALSO NEED TO RECOGNISE YOUR OWN SUSCEPTIBILITIES • Some people react to criticism or to being made fun of • Others hate the rejection of their ideas • Others react to being made feel guilty or to fear that people won’t like them or that they are making a scene • If you recognise your own triggers (“hot buttons” Ury), you can start to control them • Maybe by thinking of your opponent as someone who doesn’t know any better or • Think of the other party’s need to let off steam as having nothing to so with you – his/her need NOW YOU CAN BUY YOURSELF THINKING TIME • Simply pausing and saying nothing may calm both sides, or may shift the pressure onto them • It doesn’t mean you don’t feel the reaction; you simply don’t act on it • Try reviewing the discussion to that point e.g. “where have we got to?” or “I’m not sure I’m following you”. This slows the process down. Don’t be afraid of appearing stupid. SUGGEST A TIME-OUT • A range of possible valid reasons available - need time to think about it, to check it out, to consider your suggestion • You can take a time-out without leaving the room, if necessary - introduce a digression! • A helpful rule of thumb is never to let yourself make decisions on the spot: go to the balcony and make the decision there; then return and communicate your decision – again, a number of possible reasons (excuses) are available • Key learning point – you cannot control them but you can control yourself!
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