Negotiation AnxietyNegotiation ConfidenceSalary NegotiationStrategic Conversations

Steal This Negotiation Role-Play Exercise for Your Own Benefit

Lining up for negotiation role play at Bullish Conference in Miami
Lining up for negotiation role play at Bullish Conference in Miami

Nothing speaks louder than action. So take some time during this season of frenzied feasting and shopping to plan and practice your big scary ask. Take action on building your negotiation prowess. Your future self will thank you.

The role-play is designed to be applicable to a wide range of situations, so you can use it regardless of whether you’re asking for a raise at work or negotiating a saner holiday plan with your loved ones.

Maybe you’re wondering, should you even bother practicing through role-play?

Totally up to you.

But does it work?

Yes, it works to calm pre-negotiation jitters, build confidence, and prepare for pushback.

Role Play Exercise for Getting Past NO

A: Make a specific and quantified ASK to Person B. i.e. “Hi, roommate. I’d like to ask you to please take out the garbage three times a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights.” Or “Hello, supervisor. I’d like to ask for a 15% increase in my salary to bring me closer to market value.”

B: Say no to A’s ask. i.e. “Sorry, I can’t commit to taking out the garbage on those nights.” Or “There’s no room in the budget for a salary increase.”

A: DO NOT SAY “OKAY”, or just accept the initial pushback and walk away. Instead, ask an open-ended, diagnostic question that starts with Who, What, How, When, Where, and Why. (Form your mouth into a ‘W’, when in doubt.) You want to diagnose and understand the root cause of NO, so you can reframe or rephrase as needed. In other words, don’t react to NO, but stay open-minded and curious. Stay focused on finding a mutually agreeable solution. So you can reply by asking, “When can you take out the garbage?” Or “What about if I showed you my plan for increasing revenues / cutting costs by 17% in the coming year?”

B: Respond to diagnostic question. “Um, well, I guess I can take out the garbage on Tuesday and Thursday mornings… ” Or “Sure, that would be great. If you bring in additional revenues for the coming year, we can certainly have a conversation about paying you a bonus on commission basis.”

A: In light of the new information, reframe your ask or offer a concession.

How the rest of the role-play unfolds is up to your imagination. 😉

Rinse, repeat, and let me know how it went.

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