Social Status in Negotiations

Often times in a Negotiation you can spend hours and hours in preparation for the meet up with the other side. You can learn all there is to know about your position and the needs of you client along with the possible points of agreement and/or disagreement with the other side. But, do you take into account the Social Status of the parties in your negotiation? It might be trickier than it seems.

First, it's unlikely that anyone is going to come out and say that they want to be treated with special deference and respect. Play it safe! Don't assume that if you are laid back and casual with respect to your own social status that others will feel the same way. Being overly informal and familiar may be off-putting to your those you are working for or with. Take time to get to know all the players - watch for clues in the interactions between all the players.

Second, acknowledge the particular status of each person! This seems like a "no duh" moment, but think about how often people feel under-appreciated. Taking a few moments to acknowledge a person's status and to defer to them in their various areas of expertise will help you win allies and goodwill. '

Finally, be aware that you can take things too far. Often times the social status of a person may blind us to their lack of substantive knowledge in a particular area. Don't let yourself be blinded by status when working with a diverse group. Acknowledge the subject matter experts and solicit their opinions when they will help you make better decisions.