CBR: So, you think most people do not really know themselves, which will result in their negotiations failing? How should we understand this?
Schranner: You need to know exactly who you are whatever the circumstances. The reason is simple: you cannot control yourself if you do not know yourself.
Most people only know their normal selves. They do not know who they are under pressure or extreme circumstances. For example, many people think they are calm. However, in negotiations, the same people would start to go against their negotiating partners when they cannot get what they want. They cross the red line and no longer act rationally, and it then leads into a deadlock. From my experience, calm people no longer care about harmony when they come under pressure.
CBR: Do they realize that?
Schranner: No, they do not because they have not observed themselves under pressure. If I ask you who you are, you would tell me something nice about you when you are not under pressure. So even though people say they are harmony driven, I believe they would choose fight over flight when under pressure.
CBR: Do you believe everyone is like that?
Schranner: Not everyone, of course. Look, you are a “fight” type. Imagine we are negotiating — you would go against me (laughs), yelling, “Matthias, I mean….”
CBR: I mean, is everyone a fighting type under pressure?
Schranner: No, I am not. I am a “flight” type. I have spent a very long time learning how to “fight”. When I am under pressure, I always step back, always. And you are a fighter.
CBR: Oh, all right. And I thought I was the “flight” type.
Schranner: No, no, you are a fighter, definitely! (laughs)
Tips for “fight” or “flight” types
|·Stop talking and count to 3·Find a word to control your emotions（e.g., difficult, interesting, I see! ）·Keep eye contacts with your counterpart||·Do not compromise·Do not delay the negotiation·Do not allow others to make the decision|
CBR: How do we get to know ourselves better?
Schranner: Firstly, if you have children, they know every single one of your weaknesses — what do you think they have been using every day? I have 4 children who, in my eyes, are all great negotiators. For them, it is just a game and they are good at it. They are not afraid of losing as they can always start over even if they lose.
Secondly, if you have a partner, he/she knows better than anyone else and how to trigger your emotions. Furthermore, reflection is necessary after a tough negotiation. It helps you get to know yourself better. You can only win trust by not avoiding conflicts.
CBR: You are known to reject “win-win”, is that true?
Schranner: I need to clarify that, that is not correct. If both partners show a strong willingness and trust each other, it is possible to achieve win-win. According to my experience, 95% of the negotiations will result in win-win agreements. For the remaining 5%, i.e. when your negotiating partner is emotional or tries to play games, win-win will no longer work.
Trump is a typical example. He does not play by the book. I don’t mean to judge if he is right or wrong; what I mean is that when you meet a partner like this, forget about “win-win”, this is impossible. What you need to do is to switch to conflict mode and tell him “ok let’s play the game now”.
CBR: You do not think conflict is negative?
Schranner: Conflict is great. If there is no conflict, there is no solution. Only if both parties have demands can a negotiation go deeper. The relationship between business partners who have been through it, and resolved the conflict can show a solid relationship. You can take conflicts as the starting point of a relationship.
CBR: How do we calm someone down within one minute?
Schranner: If the person on the other side of the table is very emotional, do not focus on the conflict, talk about common interests instead. “Thank you for being so frank. We are facing the same issue so let us resolve these together.” It works all the time, no matter who they are.
CBR: You once reminded private bankers that their clients, i.e. very rich people, love fighting. Do you think wealthy people’s success has anything to do with them loving to fight?
Schranner: If you analyze the reasons why self-made billionaires succeed, it is among other things because they never avoid conflict. They do not like being flattered at the negotiating table. On the contrary, they want a real fight. You will not gain their trust if you only play nice.
CBR: What about wealthy Chinese people?
Schranner: A lot of Europeans are “afraid” of negotiating with Chinese partners simply because you are naturally so good at it. Chinese people have mastered the essential principles of negotiations. For example, because of the “saving face” culture, Chinese partners never say “no”. Do you remember how Samuel Jackson taught other police officers? — “Don’t you ever say no to me!”.