Society seems to reward those who have the confidence to be brave and take risks. In business, the line between risk and reward is a fine one, however, it’s also a line that is well trodden and when navigated correctly brings success.  So how do you manage the variables that are associated with risk-taking when you must negotiate with or influence your clients face to face? 

 At Applied Influence Group we firmly believe that one of the best ways to gain a level of clarity and confidence in the world of influence and negotiation is to plan your interactions.  I’m sure many of you reading this right now will be thinking, 'great, thanks for pointing out the obvious!' I would acknowledge your sentiment and agree that you probably do plan.  In most cases you will probably plan to succeed, plan on how to ensure that the key message about your product, idea, position are front and centre during the interaction, but have you thought about what could go wrong ?

If you haven’t I would argue that you haven’t planned at all.

Whilst it may not sit comfortably with us, planning for abject failure or thinking about what the worst case scenario could be, is as useful as getting the flow of the message nailed. Thinking about what could go wrong, where your weaknesses are, what they (your target audience) may know about you, what you know about them and then asking yourself the crucial question, "so what?" are just a few questions that can assist us in building up a tolerance towards potential failure. Planning at this level will provide you with one of the most valuable elements when it comes to face to face interactions; flexibility.  

If you have thought about what could go wrong, you would have started the process of finding ways of avoiding your interactions heading towards failure.  In addition, the foundations will be in place for you to exercise flexibility in front of the target audience when it doesn’t go the way you expected.  Preparing for the worst will increase your confidence and credibility to deal with the uncertainty that’s generated when things don’t go to plan. 

Flexibility in face to face interactions allows us to respond effectively and in essence keep our interactions on track.

The article below offers some additional insights on planning for failure.