No, I’m not about to talk about Donald Trump or some other businessman / politician and all the magical things and/or gross things that they do to manipulate people.
I’m talking about something practical and immediately useful.
First, you have to understand that negotiation doesn’t just apply to the political arena or the business world.
You negotiate with other people every day.
Whether it’s your partner or child, coworker or boss, negotiation is a necessary tool to have in your mental health toolbelt.
What should we have for dinner?
What time will you leave work?
Could you pick up some food on your way back?
Could you take the lead on this project?
I could go on and on, but long story short is this: if you’re not negotiating with other people, you’re letting them dictate their own will and outcomes on your life.
When that happens, you are most likely not going to get what you want.
That’s where this crucial skill comes in.
The Accusation Audit
Voss spent decades in the FBI, and his impressive resume includes being the top international hostage negotiator for the United States.
He now advises all kinds of individuals, businesses, and government entities on how they can get more of what they want.
Before you throw up your hands and exclaim, “How can this ever help me!?” I need you to know that the big epiphany this FBI guy had is that the FBI was doing it all wrong.
Negotiation is all about empathy, and the Accusation Audit is one of the most empathetic actions you can take.
Here’s how The Accusation Audit works:
The next time you are negotiating with someone, I want you to try this.
First things first, always have your goal in mind.
This is not part of an accusation audit, per se, but it’s a good rule of thumb any time you want something.
In other words, KNOW what you want. The more specific you can be the better.
If you don’t know what you want, how will you know when you get it?
Then, follow these steps!
1. Make a list of all of the assumptions you think the other person is making about you. These could be things like, “They probably think I’m cheating them” or “She probably thinks I lied about such and such.” Include as many as you can think of.
2. Name those assumptions / accusations in your conversation with the other person. Now, you might be wondering, “Why on earth would I do that? Why would I give someone else this ammunition to use against me? It comes down to empathy. You are putting yourself in their shoes. And what happens when you do that is that you build trust. You establish rapport. More importantly, you make it safe to talk about something that the other side is already thinking. If you’re serious about accomplishing your goals, you need to do this.
3. Give the other person a chance to respond. Watch what they do with their body. Take it step by step. What’s most likely to happen is that the other person will see how vulnerable you’ve made yourself and reassure you that you’re not as bad as you say you are. It follows a simple natural tendency for humans to give back what they just received. If you send out empathy and vulnerability, you almost always get it in return.
4. Move forward in the conversation. At this point, you will have established trust and demonstrated that you are someone who is self-aware and reasonable. Keep your goal in mind and continue to advocate for what you want.