Clicky

How to Use Disbelief and Strategic 'Flinches' in Negotiations - Ideas for Leaders
Idea #421

How to Use Disbelief and Strategic ‘Flinches’ in Negotiations

This is one of our free-to-access content pieces. To gain access to all Ideas for Leaders content please Log In Here or if you are not already a Subscriber then Subscribe Here.

KEY CONCEPT

Making the first offer is usually considered to be an advantage in negotiations, but responding to a first offer with a measured ‘flinch’ can be just as effective in leading to an eventual win — but it must be measured “I am disappointed in this offer” as opposed to “This is an outrageous offer from people who are trying to rob us”.


IDEA SUMMARY

A flinch is defined as any show of shock, disgust or disbelief in response to a first offer. Do flinches work for negotiators, or are they counterproductive, and end up damaging the negotiation? Past research has shown that making a first offer can put you at an advantage over your counterpart. Which is more effective: making the opening offer or deciding to receive the opening offer and flinching in response?

New research shows that flinching can lead to more value for the flincher, which means that making the opening offer is not always an advantage. It also means that an aggressive counteroffer — to combat the supposed advantage of a first offer — is not necessary. A measured flinch effectively disarms the other negotiator.

A flinch can be subtle or blatant, and both are equally effective… in the short term. However, an overly demonstrative flinch can have negative long-term relationship consequences. Other parties will become less willing to negotiate with someone who consistently overreacts to first offers. In negotiations that involve ongoing partners, a flinch can be used but with some restraint.

When restraint is manifested, however — when, for example, negotiators are able to flinch without anger — targets of the flinch will not leave with negative feelings about the negotiation, or feel that they did not do well. 


BUSINESS APPLICATION

The best negotiating tactics will achieve two objectives: 1) getting the most value for the negotiator, and 2) leaving the counterpart in the negotiations feeling that he or she did well.

As a negotiating tactic, flinching can achieve those two goals, as long as the characteristics of the flinch are not too aggressive. When negotiating, keep the flinch in your repertoire, and use it but with civility and in a contextually appropriate way. You will thus avoid the collateral damage that this tactic, when wielded unskilfully, can cause.


  • SHARE

Ideas for Leaders is a free-to-access site. If you enjoy our content and find it valuable, please consider subscribing to our Developing Leaders Quarterly publication, this presents academic, business and consultant perspectives on leadership issues in a beautifully produced, small volume delivered to your desk four times a year.

FIND OUT MORE HERE

Idea conceived

July 1, 2013

Idea posted

Jul 2014
Can't find the Idea you are after?
Then 'Challenge Us' to source it.

SUBSCRIBE TO IDEAS FOR LEADERS AND ACCESS ALL OUR IDEAS, PODCASTS, WEBINARS AND RECEIVE EXCLUSIVE EVENT INVITATIONS.

For the less than the price of a coffee a week you can read over 650 summaries of research that cost universities over $1 billion to produce.

Use our Ideas to:

  • Catalyse conversations with mentors, mentees, peers and colleagues.
  • Keep program participants engaged with leadership thinking when they return to their workplace.
  • Create a common language amongst your colleagues on leadership and management practice
  • Keep up-to-date with the latest thought-leadership from the world’s leading business schools.
  • Drill-down on the original research or even contact the researchers directly

Speak to us on how else you can leverage this content to benefit your organization. info@ideasforleaders.com