Those days may soon be over as according to a top negotiator, anyone can influence their children, husband or boss, by using the powerful skills used in hostage situations.
Simon Horton, author of The Leader’s Guide to Negotiation has trained both hostage negotiators and business leaders alike and says the same skills are transferable into the home and beyond.
After that pay rise? Want that discount? Need that favour? Or simply want your partner or children to do their bit? Here are the failsafe tactics that will get anyone eating out of your hand.
Studies have shown that people negotiate in better faith if they can see a reflection of themselves.
‘There is a whole new field of science called cognitive biases, which are loop holes in the brain that show we are not as rational as we think we are,’ Simon tells FEMAIL.
The way our behaviour changes when we are in front of a mirror is just one of those little quirks.
‘Experiments have found that people are more collaborative and trustworthy if there is a mirror on the wall.’
In one experiment people were left alone in a room with a jar of cookies, which were for sale – but no one was checking on payments.
The study found that people were more likely to make a payment if there was a mirror in the room and he adds that, ‘in negotiation situations people are more collaborative and trustworthy if there’s a mirror,’ says Simon
Perfect tactic for: A divorce mediation or business negotiation.
Plant subliminal messages
Even though hypnosis takes place on the stage or in the therapy room, we all have the power to talk to each other’s subconscious.
‘There are different structures to our language patterns – on one level we hear things consciously and on another level we are processing subconsciously,’ says Simon.
Learn to speak to people’s subconscious and you unlock a world of power and influence.
The trick is to plant the command within a sentence. Even though the literal meaning may be different, the underlying message will subliminally sink in.
‘You could say: “I wonder who’s going to tidy the room. You can decide.”‘ says Simon.
‘Or you could say, “The lounge is very tidy and your room is also looking nice today.”‘
Simon explains that by planting the words ‘tidy your room’ within the sentence you are giving indirect commands.
‘When your children end up tidying their room, they may think they’ve made a rational decision. But in actual fact it’s you who has planted that subliminal message,’ says Simon.
He adds: ‘The conscious brain hears packaging and wrapping. The subconscious brain hears the underlying message.’
Perfect tactic for: Getting your children to do their chores.
Focus on a mutual enemy
‘If you are not coming to an agreement in a negotiation or you are worrying someone won’t keep to their side of the agreement, shift the focus to something that neither of you want to happen,’ advises Simon.
In a divorce negotiation situation, for example, this could be the idea of the children suffering.
‘The thought your kids will grow up bad, as a bank-robber or a porn star, should keep your partner’s focus on being reasonable,’ advises Simon.
With a hostage taker, Simon says, negotiators use a similar technique.
‘Often a hostage taker will feel the world has done them wrong in some way. When you know what that is you can say, “We definitely don’t want them to get something out of this” and use that common enemy as a motivator.’
Perfect tactic for: Divorce mediation.
Harness the power of touch
‘The underlying mechanism that makes touch such a powerful negotiation tool is that it in increases oxytocin levels in the blood stream,’ explains Simon.
‘Oxytocin is our bonding chemical, which is naturally produced when women have a baby or boy meets girl.’
In any situation, Simon explains, trust is greater if the level of oxytocin increases.
If giving your boss an enormous hug before asking for a pay rise seems inappropriate Simon suggests touching the elbow.
‘Any touch increases oxytocin levels and the elbow is probably the safest place to do it!’ he says.
In one experiment, a wad of cash was left in a public place and the experimenters waited for people to spot it and then approached the them to ask if they had seen their missing money.
People were more likely to own up to seeing the cash when the experimenter gave them a gentle touch on the elbow.
Perfect tactic for: Asking your boss for a pay rise or a getting a discount on the high street.