We all negotiate every day, from the small mundane things in our lives to once in a decade decisions. Two simple tools can greatly influence the outcome:
1. Controlling the environment in which the negotiation takes place, and
2. Constructing the conversation such that the other party nominates their expected outcome first.
A successful negotiation is one that has all parties leave the table happy and prepared to execute on the agreement, but consider the impact at something like location can have on the behavior.
Imagine you are negotiating a major deal, and the other party nominates a 5 star location as the venue, compared to going to their plant and conducting the negotiation in the factory lunch-room. It is likely that the differing locations will impact on your expectations?.
Anchoring is the psychological process underlying the point from which a negotiation starts, and generally dictates the region in which it finishes.
Research by Daniel Kahneman, the psychologist with a Nobel laureate in economics, displays this anchoring behavior in experiments using a roulette wheel. He asked subjects to guess the percentage of African nations in the UN after spinning the wheel. Was the number greater or less than the number on the wheel?. Subjects who saw a low number on the wheel consistently guessed the percentage of African membership lower than those who saw a high number.
Clearly the roulette wheel has no impact on the number of African UN members, but the number at which the wheel stopped played a significant role in anchoring responses to the question.