Saturday, December 3, 2016

Influence: The Power of Suspense

I write this blog for those who want to win at life, for those who are already winners and want to improve, as well as for those who are building themselves up.

Unpredictability has long been singled out of a source of power: look at both Eastern and Western traditions.

It is worthwhile to notice how Donald Trump has used suspense, surprise and dissimulation to win, I found it uncommon in recent history.

Many will recall the third Debate: ("Will you accept the results on Election Day ?" -"I'll let you know then." -he answered.) Or, more recently, on a day he was scheduled for a press conference at the NYT, he cancelled (gave no reason, to my knowledge). Then same day abruptly, rescheduled and happily showed up. Was it a bluff, the cancellation ? Yes, and it also signaled what I call one of the rules of thumb in [any] negotiation: You need me more than I need you. So, let me restate the two powerful things seen here:

I'll let you know then.

This statement carries more power than if you said, Yes! wholeheartedly. When you use it and how you use makes a big difference, too. It is a great power shifter.

You need me more than I need you.

Negotiations rarely if ever are between equals. If you hear about a merger of equals it isn't: even if the companies in question appear to be the same market-size or otherwise.  Someone is patching up a soft spot, the market dynamics have changed, there are headwinds that a business is facing. In the personal life -marriage, same thing happens. Women look for a higher utility value [than themselves] in men. Men don't know what they are looking for. [They're really looking for company. ]

Does this thing work both ways ?

Suppose you had the dinner with your [insert here] boss or prospect. You feel you had a frank, warm conversation. BTW a conversation is always warm if you wet your throat.  You think you sold him. Your spirits are high.  What do you do [before you leave] ? Or better, what do you say ? 

Boss: I'm impressed. I think you're the man [or woman]. You've got it covered.
You: I got you. I'll let you know [then].

The suspense suddenly shifts the balance of power.

1 comment:

  1. Dump your pal when you find out he's got AIDS. #Bepositive


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