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Negotiation Jujitsu: Five playful ways to master mental agility

ByDave Stopher

Nov 29, 2023

This article has been authored by Mallory Gazette, a Manager at The Gap Partnership, a leading negotiation training provider.

From those unforeseen eureka moments to mastering each twist and turn, Mallory Gazette will guide you through negotiations with a touch of creativity.

Negotiating like a pro requires a dash of creativity and a sprinkle of mental agility. In this blog, we delve into five creative hacks that will supercharge your negotiation skills. Get ready to unleash your inner prowess and navigate through negotiations with flair and finesse.

The power of “What if?”

Negotiations are the perfect playground for imaginative thinking. Instead of being bound by convention, let your mind wander into the realm of “what if.” What if we offered a lifetime supply of tacos instead of a discount? Okay, maybe not that extreme, but you get the idea. By exploring unconventional possibilities, you’ll uncover fresh perspectives that lead to innovative solutions and surprising win-win outcomes. So, unleash your inner dreamer, but keep your ideas tethered to reality, no matter how tempting the idea of a taco-filled negotiation may be!

Metaphors: The spice of negotiation

Who said negotiations must be dull and lifeless? Inject some flavour and spice by seasoning your conversations with clever metaphors. Instead of saying, “Our product is cost-effective,” why not try, “Our product is a money-saving magician that’ll make your budget disappear…in a good way!” Metaphors add a touch of humour, create memorable images, and connect with your counterparts on a deeper level. So, sprinkle some metaphors and let the negotiation dance begin!

Take a walk on the creatives side

When negotiation roadblocks appear, don’t sit idly at the table. Take a literal walk! Research shows that physical movement stimulates cognitive function, helping you think outside the box. So, step out, strut your stuff, and let the fresh air invigorate your mind. Who knows, maybe the answers you’re seeking will come to you while striding like a negotiation ninja. Just don’t forget to bring your walking shoes and a pocket full of creative ideas!

The “Yes, and…” collaboration dance

Negotiations aren’t solo performances, they’re lively duets. Embrace the spirit of improv comedy and apply the golden rule of “Yes, and…”. This means building upon your counterpart’s ideas rather than shutting them down. So, when they suggest something, respond with curiosity and enthusiasm. Add your own twist to their proposal, and watch the creative sparks fly! This collaborative dance opens doors to innovative solutions, unexpected synergies, and maybe even a few negotiation chuckles along the way.

Unleash your inner curiosity

Negotiations often involve complex challenges and unknown territory. So, why not approach them with the spirit of a curious explorer? Embrace your inner Sherlock Holmes or Indiana Jones and let your inquisitive nature guide you. Ask questions, probe deeper, and uncover hidden gems of information. Curiosity fuels creativity and mental agility, helping you discover innovative solutions and unique angles that others might overlook. Remember, the negotiation table is your adventure playground. Grab your metaphorical magnifying glass and embark on a journey of discovery!

Negotiations don’t have to be dry and rigid affairs. By incorporating these creative hacks into your negotiation repertoire, you’ll unleash your mental agility and add a touch of humour (when appropriate) to your professional interactions.

Embrace the power of “what if,” sprinkle metaphors like confetti, take a walk on the creative side, collaborate with a “yes, and” mindset, and above all, unleash your inner curiosity. Approach negotiations like a curious explorer, armed with a metaphorical magnifying glass, and dive deep into the unknown. By embracing your inquisitive nature, you’ll uncover hidden opportunities, discover innovative solutions, and navigate negotiations with the finesse of a true negotiation detective.

So, grab your negotiation toolkit, spice it up with these new hacks, and venture forth into the negotiation jungle. Remember to adapt these hacks to your unique negotiation style and context. Negotiation isn’t just a professional dance, it’s a thrilling adventure filled with twists, turns, and unexpected discoveries. Enjoy the thrill of the negotiation ride, and let your creativity, mental agility, and curiosity lead you to success. Happy negotiating!