What You'll Learn
  • The exchange stage provides the best opportunity to get to know the other side
  • Don't overlook the importance of small-talk
  • Build a new relationship on trust

The Exchange Stage provides the best opportunity to get to know the other side. Why is this an ideal time? Because the period of initial engagement, or the "warm-up," comes at a time when you are well armed with relevant information from Preparation, and before the high-pressure tactics so common in Bargaining.

Some people consider this "warm-up" period trivial. Don't make that mistake. Don't miss the prime opportunity to engage at a time when defenses are down and emotions are usually on an even keel. How much effort and time you put into the "warm-up" is relative to the situation.

Of course there is not always time to build rapport the way you would like. The real world is full of unexpected events – the price of oil just went up and stockpiles need to be unloaded quickly; the boss issued a new imperative, etc. The amount of effort and time you spend on rapport building is relative to the conditions under which you are operating.

Exchange is your courtship. Here you:

  • Don't overlook the importance of "small talk" (casual conversation), a natural feature in some countries; overlooked or devalued in others
  • Introduce teams
  • Complete your preparation with "social homework"

AND

  • Build a new relationship on trust; or
  • Acknowledge an existing relationship and all the good that has come out of it; or
  • Re-establish and renew an old relationship with the promise of a new era; or
  • Repair a damaged relationship or a past violation of trust (the most challenging and time).

AND

  • Access likeability, competency and trustworthiness
  • Begin assessing authority, BATNA(s), and willingness to execute their BATNA
  • Test assumptions
  • Ensure alignment of interests

  • Don't forget: They are making the same assessments of you.