AKA: You’re Joking, You Can’t Be Serious
Description: You pretend to be surprised and dumbstruck by their proposal. You are shocked – SHOCKED – at their outrageous nerve! Try not to ham it up too much. (It doesn’t seem like it would be effective – but it works.)
Sample Usage (Alvin and Bob): Alvin had barely gotten the words out of his mouth when Bob’s face twisted in horror and he grabbed his chest.
“40%? Did I hear that right? Are you serious? Is that what you really said? That can’t be right! Are we talking about the same thing?” Bob’s face was beet red, and Alvin was worried that the older man was having a heart attack.
“Well, I’m sure it’s something we can work out. Let’s just come back to that point?”
Intent: Undermine a proposal by acting as though it is insane, irrational, and personally offensive.
Style: Any (except Collaborative). Works for Accommodators.
Category: Emotional Trigger
Counter: Breathe, Silence. Smile. Wait. Pretend not to see. Why? Appeal to Reason.
Combination/Related: Flinch opens the door to a range of counters, such as Silence and Why?. Often used with a re-Anchor. Flinch is particularly powerful with Appeal to Reason.
Note: Flinch is a bit theatrical, but highly effective. That’s makes it unfortunate that relatively few sophisticated negotiators are willing to do this (on purpose). Some businessmen feel that a cardinal rule of negotiation is to never display any emotion.
When confronted with a Flinch, your first hard-wired impulse may be to make a concession. Don’t do it. Breathe. Silence. Why?
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