How to Make Your Negotiations Sticky

Posted By on May 10th

Made to Stick is a book about what makes a message “sticky”…

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

meaning the message is memorable. The book is primarily aimed towards people whose responsibilities include presentations, marketing, and sales; however, it is not limited to those groups of people. Made to Stick also provides valuable insight for those people involved in negotiations. The book can help you understand how to make your negotiations sticky.

Made to Stick is written by two brothers, Chip Heath and Dan Heath, who were working on the same subject from two different perspectives – business and academia. The book provides a simple and practical blueprint for creating effective communications. The principles are backed up with interesting anecdotes and facts.

It looks at business communications from a psychological perspective, meaning which communications get people to buy products, spend money, and simplify their buying decisions. It explains how to influence people – a core component of negotiation strategy – by showing there is more to persuasion than logic and facts.

The book provides six principles using the acronym SUCCESs – Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotional, and Stories. Here are the principles, and how you can use them in your negotiations:

  • Simplicity: Your main idea (argument) must be stripped to its core, and the most important points should be evident. Don’t try every argument, hoping one of them is successful. The Heaths write, “To strip an idea down to its core, we must be masters of exclusion. We must relentlessly prioritize.”
  • Unexpectedness: Your negotiation partner has expectations about your motivation, your argument, and how you will present it. You have to put yourself in your partner’s place to understand what it is they expect. Then find a way to break the expectations and destroy their preconceived notions. Make them want to know more about how your solution benefits them.
  • Concreteness: Use real-world analogies and explain concrete actions and benefits. They have to understand exactly what you’re proposing, and how it will benefit them. Your concreteness must be focused on what’s in it for them.
  • Credibility: In a negotiation, you already start off with the disadvantage of mistrust. You must put your negotiation partner in a position to believe you. If your partner doesn’t trust you, they’ll actively try to dispute your argument.
  • Emotional: Information makes people think, but emotion makes them care. Your argument must be meaningful enough to make your negotiation partner act. You have to appeal to their emotional needs by forming an association between what they care about and what you are seeking agreement on.
  • Stories: People pay closer attention to stories and feel more connected. In your negotiation, find a way to put your partner in a story that ends with them receiving the benefit they are looking to obtain.

You can buy the book here.

About the author

Keith Grossman helps individuals and businesses negotiate and manage conflict more comfortably. Keith is a Collaborative Attorney, a Family and Circuit Civil mediator certified by the Supreme Court of Florida, an Arbitrator qualified by the Florida Supreme Court, and an educator. Keith frequently lectures and facilitates training programs, works with individuals one-on-one, and writes articles on conflict management and negotiation topics. His e-workbooks, “What Is A Peace Chest?” and “How Do You Build A Peace Chest?“ are now available on Kindle.


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