Do you Frame Your Communication for Negotiation Success?

It’s funny how the beauty of art has so much more to do with the frame than the artwork itself.
— Chuck Palahniuk

All of us have been in a negotiation that has ended with a much better outcome and greater satisfaction than predicted with the result based on how well we communicated with the other person. I have the great privilege of working on ‘live deals’ all over the world and get to observe many great negotiators.

My research observations in these live scenarios would suggest quite strongly that the way a negotiator ‘frames’ their communication has a direct and substantial impact on the outcome of the deal.

As I have done in the past, when an excellent piece of research crosses my desk, I will share the key learning points, but also put the full research paper up on the web site for you. So let me make some comments on the article Communicating Frames in a Negotiation.

This Harvard paper asks: How and why does framing and negotiation talk sometimes make bargaining more cooperative and other times make bargaining more competitive? The answer may depend on examining what is being communicated about the underlying purpose of the communication interaction. Kathleen L. McGinn and Markus Noth argue that the content of communication frames the bargaining situation and thus can help predict bargaining behaviour and final agreements.

Key concepts include:

· Notions about the nature of the interaction form the basis for bargaining behaviour and the final terms of agreement or disagreement.

· Communication sets certain behaviour in motion by signalling the fundamental nature of the interaction, so what are you asking them to do and what risks are you asking them to take?

· Communication shapes the shared understanding of the negotiation and this shapes the admissible arguments and strategies.

As we are at the beginning of spring, this paper is best read in the sun with a nice cup of coffee or chilled wine. If you’re looking for more negotiation success join us at UTS on the 7th October.