Summary: Getting to know your counterpart to establish a mutual trust.
Although sharks would debate the value of this tactic, being nice and friendly helps build relationships. A counterpart is much more willing to work with you to create a win-win outcome when he likes and trusts you.
You know your negotiation counterpart is an Amiable, so you spend the first five minutes of the negotiation talking about each other’s families. Counterparts who are Drivers and Analyticals must make a conscious effort not to leave out this piece of the negotiation puzzle. Amiables respond better to counterparts who take the time to build some rapport. (Click here to learn more about behavioral styles in negotiation.)
Some counterparts will go on and on establishing rapport, never getting to the reason they are meeting in the first place. The best tactic to get things back on track is to ask a question to change the direction of the conversation. A counterpart might eventually tell the Amiable, “It sounds like you had a great vacation last week. Now, as far as this week goes, when were you thinking about implementing this new manufacturing accounting system?”
Have you used or encountered this tactic in your negotiations? If so, how’d it go?