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BIG-otiation negotiation could have helped prevent the dramatic removal of a United Airlines passenger that’s gained world-wide attention and outrage. You can read a fuller account of the incident in a link below.
This post is how BIG-otiation negotiation could have reduced the conflict and distress to passengers and damage to the reputation of United Airlines.
Now, I am from a British-Australian ‘don’t make a fuss’ family background – so I’m very ‘accepting’ and ‘soft’ in my personal negotiation – however I do seem to have a talent for creative negotiation when I help clients deal with all sorts of problems. When I see incidents like the United Airlines forced removal I think of better and BIG-ger ways that could have eased the problem.
BIG-otiation is basically a softer yet very effective form of negotiation – that was actually inspired by an episode of one my favourite shows Homeland.
In that episode, the CIA is trying to ‘persuade’ a diplomat (believed to work with the terrorists) to help stop a terrorist attack. The wise Saul Berenson advises his colleague to work on the element that makes these ‘terrorists’ human. The CIA tries to blackmail the diplomat by threatening to expose his homosexuality. The diplomat refuses to co-operate because his loyalty to his country is BIGGER than his care for his own well-being and career.
The CIA then ‘tries another angle’ – his daughter – and the diplomat co-operates because his love of his daughter is BIGGER than his love of his country. The fear of damage to his daughter’s future was BIGger than any fears he had for himself or his country.
I encourage clients to BIG-otiate on the BIGger ‘triggers’ – BIGGER love or BIGGER fear.
Now in the United Airlines case, the airline offered money ($400 US) for volunteers to give up their seat – but that wasn ‘t enough. They then offered $800 – but that wasn’t BIG enough either.
I would have encouraged the airline staff to use BIG-otiation. I imagine many passengers just wanted to get home to their families. That desire was BIGGER than $400 or even $800. What’s BIGger than that desire to be on that flight?
What if the airline staff said something like:
“I know many of you just want to get to X (destination) to see your families or loved ones. What if you can be on another flight home and get a night in nice hotel…AND go home with nice presents for your loved ones!”
To the listeners you are trying to persuade, turn intangible money into something more appealing and appeal to something BIGGER – to get to see loved ones – with presents for them.
In Part 2, I’ll share another part of BIG-otiation – how to make the range of options BIGGER.
Here’s a link to a story about the United Airlines incident: