Negotiating Tip #62:
Stay on Your Front Foot
(Our next group of negotiating tips comes from our book Creative Conflict: A Practical Guide for Business Negotiators from Harvard Business Review Press).
Successful professional soccer teams are always looking to advance, whether they are on offense or defense. Star players stand out for their body language as much as their ball skills. They radiate a forward-leaning confidence. We call it staying on your front foot. Negotiating on your front foot means raising your aspirations for the outcome.
As Stephen M. R. Covey wrote in The Speed of Trust (2008): “Having a mind-set of expecting to win increases our odds of winning. It helps us get better results. And better results help us increase our credibility and self-confidence, which leads to more positive self-expectancy, and then more winning— and the upward cycle continues.”
Front-foot negotiators are constructively on their front foot. Since they’re well prepared going in, they rarely get caught flat-footed or rocked back on their heels. Rather than conceding too quickly, they keep asserting their interests. Thinking like a negotiator begins as soon as you walk through the door. It’s an air of confidence and control that’s apparent in your face, your voice, your posture.
We at Mobus Creative Negotiating show you many techniques to stay on your front foot. One important point is to always remember that you are not the only one facing the heat: both sides are under pressure in every deal. There is a reason the other person is listening to you rather than going with your competitor: they suspect you may have something to offer. It is up to you to prove them correct.