Wants Weakness Willingness Winning Withdrawing Wounds


Man wants to kill a lion for the trophy. A lion hunts its prey to provide food for its young. And we consider ourselves to be the advanced species?

Wants are those things one hopes to achieve from a negotiation. They are not necessarily what he must achieve. It is important to appreciate the difference in your wants and needs as well as those of the other person.

Wants can seemingly transform into needs when they come to represent success or victory over the other person. The psychological aspect of wanting to win, no needing to win often obliterates the real reason behind a dispute. A good moderator will seek to uncover the forces driving each party, wants and needs, so a resolution can be developed for each by focusing the parties on their needs.

Mediators know that by satisfying strong wants voiced by one party the needs of another can be met. The psychological power of achievement may over shadow the more meaningful concession required to win.

Carefully separate your real, tangible needs from your want, psychological or other, to insure you are focused on what must be satisfied during the negotiations. If you are being pushed beyond your "need" threshold, it is time to walk away.

When you start a settlement conference, you will usually lead with a mixture of wants and needs. This way, you have the ability to make some concessions (of wants) to achieve your needs. The trick is to discern what the other person's wants without revealing yours.



Most predators can sense weakness. Once sensed, the natural instinct is to close in for the kill.

Manís intellectual capacity has enabled him to develop coping skills to mask weakness and fear, to some extent. Bluffing, bravado and intimidation ate tactics used to cover weaknesses. Instead of being distracted by such behavior, learn to uncover possible points of vulnerability.

Weakness in negotiations is not so much the absence of power as it is the lack of options. An immensely powerful developer with legions of staff and money is critically weakened bythat single landowner who happens to own the last remaining property in the way of a major development. Without a way to motivate the remaining owner to sell the developer, no matter how powerful. is powerless to move forward.

Negotiating from power is a lot easier than trying to leverage concessions through manipulation, trickery, or begging. Most disputes are created because of a balance of power to some degree.

Knowing that weakness is the lack of options, an seasoned negotiator is always looking for alternative solutions and interesting alliances to forge. Such alliances may prove helpful in removing obstacles at some future time.

Weakness can also be a perception. One would think that a baby would be relatively powerless against its mother. But after a chronic bout of crying, the baby is typically able to barter a little sleep for a diaper change or some simple coddling.



Creating a willingness to obey is the trick of breaking a stallion.

Typically a family mediator is challenged with generating a real desire on the part of at least half of the the couple to resolve their problems. By the time they have agreed to meet with a mediator one spouse has given up on the relationship. That person is eager to move on to ease the pain. In such situations it is a good idea to spend the time to share the key aspects of mediation.

They are:

-The primary goal is to identify and satisfy the needs of both parties; not just one.

-The outcome is dependent on both the husband and wife becoming satisfied with each decision.

-The mediator has no opinion as to what is the right or wrong answer to anything that comes up.

-That the process need not be confrontational.

-That guilt and blame are not necessarily aspects of the process.

-That either party can decide to end the mediation if they become too uncomfortable or dissatisfied with the process.

This serves to empower each spouse to the point where they are able to feel as though they are in control of some aspect of their destiny. The mediator will strive to make them come to feel partly responsible for the mediationís outcome.

Until the parties have some vested interest in the outcome of the mediation, it will lack effectiveness as it garners its curative power from the parties themselves. The same holds true in most negotiations. The parties involved need to be motivated to bind an accord and follow through after the agreement is signed.



Few other animals regale in a victory as does the male gorilla. Pounding its barrel chest and roaring for all to hear, he is making sure that other males don't challenge him in the near future. His dominance is based on fear and survives only as long as he remains at the top of his game.

Winning is enjoyable. But it can be costly. How you act when you win is important. In a personal relationship, abusive winning behavior can foster resentment and hostility. Try not to deride the loser. Prevent major schisms from emerging that eventually challenge a relationship by being gracious in your success.

Business interactions and negotiations should also generate relationships that survive the actual negotiation. As in a personal relationship, you should seek to preserve the relationship after winning to enable you to work with this person in the future no matter what his corporate affiliation. In time, ther eperson may join your company or become your partner. Bridges are not meant to be burnt.

Few of us enjoy absolute power. In victory we should savor the moment without needlessly hurting or humiliating the other person. It is probable that you will want to be able to have a civil, open conversation in the future and may even need to solve another dispute. If the way you acted when winning the last time is less than constructive, you can expect to have a hard time reestablishing a rapport with the person.



Unless you are absolutely cornered and prepared to fight to the death, it is best to cautiously back away from an enraged grizzly protecting her cubs.

Knowing when and how to withdraw is an important aspect of negotiating. There are battles to be fought and skirmishes to be conceded. Withdrawing from a doomed skirmish before you lose a battle may allow you to regroup and ultimately win the war .

There are ways to withdraw that preserve your power and prestige. When faced with a likely loss, the following tips might be helpful:

-Before entering the fray know all you can about the issues, the people involved, and your minimum acceptable settlement parameters.

-If in the settlement conference it becomes apparent that you will not be able to achieve your minimum terms, find a way to end the conference before its conclusion. This enables you to regroup and come up with additional issues at a subsequent session.

-After the interrupted session, review what went wrong and come up with ways to improve the outcome of the next conference, meeting or call.

-Get expert advise on how to revisit the key issues.

-Produce factual reports, data, expert testimony, or other supporting evidence to use in the next confrontation.

-Return to the settlement table as though you were the winner of the last round. Do not share your weakness but deliver hard-hitting, well planned arguments as though you had them all the time.

The key is to end the initial conference before it became obvious to everyone that you were not going to prevail.



A mortally wounded animal is likely to fight harder to survive than you might expect. Before approaching a wounded animal, make sure you are fully equipped to quickly subdue it.

Knowing that you have dealt a mortal blow is important. Once such a blow is delivered, you should move swiftly to call the question forcing the other person to acquiesce to your terms or to walk away from the discussion. Do not allow the other person to withdraw unless you need to find a way to reach a mutually acceptable accord. Allowing a withdrawing may cause you to lose by allowing the other person to regroup and prepare better.

Know when you have been dealt a mortal blow. Try to cover the fact and seek avenues of withdraw to gain time .

When facing a wounded person consider the following:

-Before delivering a final, definitive wound, make sure you want to back the person into a corner and force a decision at this time. The pleasure of winning a skirmish early may cost you the objective.

-Once wounded, complete the execution out of mercy. Do not permit a withdrawal unless it is in your interest to do so. Make sure the issue at hand is resolved once and for all.

-After delivering a near mortal wound anticipate the other person to react violently. Their response may be unexpected. Badly hurt with nothing to lose, the other person may strike out in revenge and foreclose any chance of further discussions.


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