May 10, 2006Volume 5 Number 18 Issue 105     
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Feel, Felt, Found

The Great Ideazine is brought to you this week by Ezine Machine. Well if you've ever wanted to create eye-popping html newsletters in a snap, then you'll be interested in this hot new software package! Especially since it's at

I couldn't get a newsletter out last week as I took a contract for one day that turned into a week. Although it was not related to Internet marketing, I enjoyed coaching the HR types in mediation just the same. I'll make sure that I have a newsletter ready to go before I take any outside contract again.

I mentioned our tech association breakfast two weeks ago. While I was away last week, the rest of the board panicked and re-scheduled the event. Seems that they were not confident of filling the seats. *8>)

Well enough blathering for now, on to the main event -

Feel, Felt, Found

Today’s negotiating strategy could easily take up a whole chapter in a book. I've pared it down to the bare essentials in order to have it fit into one newsletter article.

Whenever I have been negotiating a tough deal with another party, there has inevitably come a time when I needed to change the other person’s mind on some item under negotiation. I have seen many a deal lost because one party refused to budge, and the other party couldn't let an item go. At this point, a skilled negotiator earns his keep, if he has a tool or strategy to break the impasse by getting one of the parties to change their position on the item. One of the best methods I have used, when I had strong information to support my position, is called Feel, Felt, Found.

Basically, I build empathy by acknowledging that I understand the other party’s point. I go on to reiterate their position and state that I have held that belief myself. Finally, I outline the information that caused me to change my mind and brought me to my current position.

The beauty of this approach, is that it builds empathy, not hostility. You are not forcing the other party to do something against their will, you are merely narrating a changed scenario in your life. If laid out correctly, the information can help the other party change their position drastically, without losing face or appearing to “give in.”

You tell them clearly that you do not think that they are dummies for holding their current opinion on the topic, just by telling them that you once held that opinion yourself. Not only that, but you go on to state that you would still hold that opinion except for receiving the important and position changing information you then share with them.

This puts a great deal of pressure on the other party to change their stance - because, after all, they are just as smart as you are. If you have done it correctly, the other party can relate positively to the information you have just brought to the table and allow their position to change.

This strategy will not work, if they don't believe you ever could have held the stated opinion, or if you don't have strong information to justify your changed stance. You can't just use this strategy whenever you want to change someone’s mind on a topic. For success, the information must be true and strongly supportive of your position, or at least very positive in regard to your argument.

It’s kind of like sincerity. Once you can fake it, you've got it made.

Please do not ever, do this. When you negotiate, all you have is your reputation. Once you blemish it with outright lies, or deceit, you can never recover it. It is not necessary to tell your “opponent” everything, but anything you do say must be true. And don't be blinded into thinking that it doesn't matter because you will never face them again. People change jobs. People have friends. People talk. The message of your dishonesty will travel - fast!


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Although I have had occasion to use a naked Feel, Felt, Found, e.g., I know exactly how you feel. I felt that way myself. I found this research paper ( medical opinion, whatever) that caused me to change my mind. I now firmly believe that we must address this issue. I would normally want to flesh it out with a lot more information.

Usually, it is more likely that I would use words that were more closely related to how the other party speaks, e.g., I know exactly where you are coming from on this. Been there myself. Read Dr. X (or whatever the expert opinion is) and now I'm really leaning toward (my new stance). Here, you read it and see if you don't think I am on the right track.

Once the other party has read the material, even if they haven't shifted their opinion, they are now disagreeing, not with you, but with a respected authority. Done correctly, the other party is forced to either find an expert to support their position, look very obstructive, or to agree with your position. A very powerful bargaining position to be in.

Until next time…


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