Ego-based negotiations are sometimes driven by insecurity. And that insecurity can wreck your chances of negotiating success.
In my last post, we defined ego. Ego is simply how you view your own self. Having a high sense of ego puts people off, comes across as inauthentic, and allows the other side to control and manipulate you.
The primary indicators of ego are pride, wanting to be liked, and talking too much. We already look at how pride can distort your perspective or cause you to be deceptive, killing your credibility and throwing off the negotiation.
Now, let’s observe how wanting to be liked and talking too much stem from that more insecure part of your ego and can damage your negotiation power.
Insecurity Causes Concessions
Sometimes ego can show up in a way that resembles weakness. Our ego wants us to be liked and approved of by other people. We may give too many concessions because we don’t want to look bad in front of others.
When wanting to be liked drives you, you may end up with deals that are not good or even harmful. If the other side senses that need to be liked or that you are insecure, they can use that against you.
My client is a perfect example. She was a graphic designer who had the opportunity to design something for a music star she was a huge fan of. My client wanted this celebrity to like her, so she did twice the amount of work while negotiating her fee down by half, all without a written contract. In the end, the celebrity did not pay any of the reduced fees, and my client did not receive the recognition she wanted.
Seeking the approval of others can cause you to not fully think through a negotiation. As opposed to being confident and strong enough in yourself to say, “I need more time to think about that. Why don’t we hold off on that point and let me get back to you?” or, “Let me step out of the room. I need to check this with somebody,” your ego says, “You’re going to look bad here, you don’t want them to think you’re stupid.”
This ego-induced insecurity triggers a feeling of needing to look good, be liked, or not seem stupid. But, a negotiation is not the place to work out your issues over being rejected or about anger or hurt from your past.
The Dangers of Talking too Much
Sometimes people who are ego-driven simply like to hear themselves talk. They may think they are smarter than everybody in the room. Sometimes they are talking too much due to nerves or insecurity.
Either way, there are several ways talking too much can destroy your negotiations. Talking can give away too much information, inhibit listening, and take away the power of silence.
The more you talk, the more information you are giving away. A good negotiator on the other side will take all of the information in.
Correspondingly, the more you talk, the more you are not able to listen. Have you ever formulated your next brilliant remark while the other person is talking, and end up barely listening? The problem is, if you do not to listen, watch, or pay attention to the other side, you can miss the opportunity to gather advantageous information.
Talking too much out of ego also takes away the power of silence. Silence can give you a huge advantage. Most people are uncomfortable in silence, but if you are willing and able to be silent, it is a great negotiating tool. Instead of giving things away because you can’t deal with the silence, you can hold the power, particularly if the person isn’t comfortable with it.
If you want to substantially increase your negotiating success, do the internal work to let go of your ego and the past issues that trigger it, or at least be able to put them aside for the purposes of the negotiation.