Assess Commitment Levels & Risk Tolerance.
A classic image is the game of chicken. Imagine teenagers racing at each other in hot rods in some LA viaduct. Who will swerve out of the way? If I were driving, I know the answer. I tend to be highly risk averse. It is fascinating to watch commitment levels at play in negotiations. There is great strength in posing a credible threat. To the extent one is able to gage the counterparty’s commitment to a certain course of action or deal element, one will understand whether a concession need be made. The capacity to understand the nature of one’s own and the other’s level of commitment, and also tendency to avoid risk in general and on the particular point at issue comes not only from understanding the person, but also from understanding their context. What happens to them if they give on a particular point? What interest is affected? What in the larger picture do they win or lose? This analysis should be applied for understanding of both self and others.