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The reason why Nick Kolenda recommends avoiding negotiation terminology

What feeling does this connection request give you?

We just e-met, and it already feels like he's going to try and make me an offer I can't refuse :).

What if instead, he would have said:

M: "Hi Ali, I love the work you're doing as a small business owner! I do my best to have that same impact as an entrepreneur myself, so I'd be grateful to join your network and connect when we both have a few minutes."

This removes the business-world terms like "high performing", "network expansion", and "win-win".

And, it follows one of Kolenda's tactics for negotiations:

Tactic 7Avoid Negotiation Terminology

“To prevent aggressive behavior from your counterpart, avoid negotiation terminology. Always use words that depict cooperative behavior (e.g., ‘collaborate,’ ‘work together,’ ‘brainstorm’).

You should also incorporate 1st person plural pronouns (e.g., ‘us,’ ‘we,’ ‘our’). Those pronouns emphasize a shared goal with your counterpart, so you’ll usually gain a more favorable deal.” (See trigger social pressure.)

Did anyone else get that feeling? Any feedback is always welcome.

Hello Ali,

Personally, I'm not seeing major red flags here.

The line "we are both high-performing" feels salesy and a bit of a power move since:

  • It's generic: how is this going to be a win-win? Often, generic reach-outs are the opening salvo of a pitch coming soon (asking for value more often than giving)
  • It's a covert self-frame: while he's complimenting you, he's also saying that he is a "high-performer". But as we know, words are especially cheap when used for self-praises 🙂
  • Compliments and labels frame you as either an equal -or below him-: with the label of "high-performing small business owner" he is judging you. Positively, yes, but still, it's either equals, or superiors who assess others.
    Plus, who says you're a small business owner? Maybe you're on the way to build a billion-dollar business. Or maybe you don't even want to own a business. Labels should be up to you, not to others

Still, as per our upcoming "power dynamics traffic lights", it's important not to overestimate things.
These are in the green region to me.

I'd think to myself "hmmm, maybe there's a pitch coming soon, not sure I wanna invest any time in that. But we'll worry about the bridges when we get there".

So I'd suspend judgment and see what comes next.
In the absence of any other information, I'd still be open to the possibility that he's someone worth knowing.

Ali Scarlett has reacted to this post.
Ali Scarlett
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thanks for the feedback, Lucio!

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on August 16, 2021, 3:58 pm

Personally, I'm not seeing major red flags here.

I don't see any major red flags either. In this case, I'm speaking more about how his word choice could unintentionally elicit a competitive frame from his receivers.

Some of his choices of words caused me to look at him as less of "another regular person in my inbox" and more of a businessman. And, that made me feel like I need to be on the lookout for ending up with the short end of the stick in our interactions.

If you disagree on that point, feel free to let me know. All that aside, I agree with everything you said on the power moves, especially on that judgment bit.

Got it, got it.

I had missed the point of your initial message, and now I think I get it. It's a was a very nuanced and advanced observation, and I totally agree with you.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I think another red flag is the generic message coupled with his profile:

Business Guide who specializes in Strategy, Execution and Communication.
Podcaster and Developer of Leaders.

This comes across as one of the gurus who preach about sales and leadership.

Generally, I have found that unclear introductions probably lead to a waste of time.
As Lucio & yourself have mentioned, he will probably give some vague pitch of his product/service without taking into account your situation.

Though I think if you want to see what he's up to with minimal investment, you can just accept and wait for him to send a second message.

Edit: From Lucio's latest message, I get now that the focus of this thread is on how his message comes across.
I do think he comes across as guru-like even when you ignore his profile from the word "high-performing" in his message.
That's because a lot of self-development gurus use this word.

Based on Lucio's analysis of power dynamics, I do think gurus use the compliment "high-performing" to frame themselves as an authority position of what's "high-performing".

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Lucio BuffalmanoAli Scarlett