Minor disagreements can turn into conflicts hotter than the Sahara Desert if the opposing parties don’t know how to keep a cool head.
During a session at the AICPA Not-For-Profit Industry Conference, Joan Pastor, president of JPA International, gave a talk entitled “So Who is Afraid of a Little Conflict.”
Pastor addressed different strategies for addressing conflict and successfully negotiating with different personality types:
* Determine objective criteria, as it is the basis upon which negotiations are held.
* Determine the your own power base, as well as the power base of person with whom you are negotiating. Do you use the power of association, rely on charisma, assert your position of power, or flaunt expertise in a negotiation? What does the other person lean towards? Being aware of the power dynamics you and the other person value will allow you a glimpse into the way they think.
* Welcome objections from the other person. They are a sign of interest. By acknowledging the objection and brainstorming a solution, the other person feels valuable in negotiation.
* Prepare your argument to best suit the person you are addressing. While managers in audit, finance, or risk might appreciate an argument that points out a series of less attractive options to make your offer more appealing, it will be harder to use this technique with managers of other departments. If you use a glass-is-half-empty approach with someone who views the glass as half full, it will be harder to get their buy-in.
* Be mindful of the other person’s body language to weed out deceptive subjects; they may drop eye contact, make repeated posture changes, and attempt to slide their chair away from you. However, all bets are off if the person is of higher than average intelligence.