Concessions and Reciprocity; Secret Weapons of the Super Negotiator

Reciprocity makes the adage “It’s better to give than to receive” literally true.

To maximize the power of reciprocity at home or at work, take the following three steps.

Express appreciation for any proposal seeking agreement even if you’re going to reject it.

People want to be understood and appreciated as much as they want whatever it is they’re trying to get from you.

In fact, people tend to use things and money to get what they really want – love and affection.

Don’t ever minimize the power of fellow feeling, even if you’re locked in a battle of wits in the workplace or in the home.

Explain why making  the requested concession is difficult for you.

Your bargaining partners are far more likely to understand and appreciate your negotiation position if you explain what’s underneath it. I’d love to mow the backyard but my hay fever’s been acting up, can we split the household chores in some other way?

Just as importantly, people reflexively respond to one another “in kind.” If you’re willing to make a concession that’s easy for you, it’s not likely to elicit one that’s hard for your bargaining partner to make.

When you do make a reciprocal concession, stress that it’s even more difficult for you to make than it was for you bargaining partner to make theirs.

You know how important it is for me to read the Sunday Times first thing in the morning but I’m willing to go to church with you instead because I know how important that is for you.

If you make this concession without asking for a reciprocal favor, it will hang heavily on your partner’s conscience until he or she is able to respond in kind.

The best example of this “hanging” reciprocal obligation is the dinner party. If the Jones invited you to a meal at their house catered by a five-star restaurant, you wouldn’t dream of reciprocating by asking them out to McDonalds.

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