Leveraging Framing in Internal Negotiations

By RED BEAR December 7, 2023 | 6 min read

No matter the industry, no matter the location, and no matter the role, internal negotiations shape organizational direction and overall outcomes.

This puts into focus the need for effective negotiation skills, and within this skillset, framing is a key technique for mastering the often complex and tense environment of internal negotiations. The right approach to framing can transform the dynamics of internal discussions and turn common challenges into collaborative opportunities.

Here at RED BEAR, we focus on a tried and tested methodology that leverages the tools, knowledge, and skills negotiators need to tackle negotiations both in and outside the office. Our workshops get results. That’s exactly why around 45% of the Fortune 500 utilize our training.

Let’s explore the role of framing in internal negotiations, outline some benefits of the right approach to framing, and uncover why RED BEAR’s Negotiation Principles drive successful outcomes regardless of where they take place.

The Role of Positive Framing in Influencing Outcomes

At its core, framing is a technique negotiators use to structure the presentation of information or choices in negotiations. It’s the ‘how’ you say something. As one might imagine, a firm grasp of framing can prove invaluable for internal negotiations.

The way the other party perceives an offer or ask is almost as important as the request itself. Framing has an impact on perception, and it can lead to favorable outcomes if handled correctly. As an example, let’s unpack a common psychological concept driven by framing. 

“The way the other party perceives an offer or ask is almost as important as the request itself.”

The endowment effect. It unpacks the tendency for people to attribute higher value to things merely because they own them. 

This can be a powerful tool in negotiations as it can help frame proposals in a way that aligns with what the internal stakeholders perceive as valuable. What does this look like in practice? 

The Endowment Effect in Action

Imagine a team member is presenting a new project for approval. By presenting the project as something the team will own rather than their own personal initiative, they can create a strong sense of value and attachment, which can increase the team’s commitment and overall project success.

Here is another example. A sales team is gearing up for the peak season. While they’re adept and knowledgeable, they could use extra training to really lock down their strategies. 

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Now, the sales team leader is sent to upper management to propose the training program. Instead of framing the discussion of training around their own personal benefit, they decide to frame the discussion as an enhancement to the team's existing skills and tools, making it a natural extension of what they already 'own' and value.

The chances that management will approve the training program are higher, and they feel this is a high-value investment because they have a stronger sense of ownership over what the team does over the individual.

Applying RED BEAR’s Principles to Enhance Internal Negotiation Strategies

Let’s dig a little deeper into internal negotiations and framing by bringing in some of RED BEAR’s Negotiation Principles. For example, the “Know the Full Range and Strength of Your Power” principle. While there are many different types of power in negotiation, one type that is important to understand in the context of internal negotiations is organizational power.

A negotiator with an understanding of this principle might fully understand their influence within an organization and leverage this to their advantage during negotiations with other team members. It’s not just about the individual, though; it’s also about whole departments.

Let’s say a particular department needs more resources.

A skilled negotiator might recognize that power might lie in the department's critical contribution to the company’s recent successes. They frame their request by highlighting these successes and the potential for more. That’s if they get the resources, of course.

Another Negotiation Principle is “Satisfying Needs Over Wants.”

For example, a team member might be advocating for a particular policy change. While they could outline the benefits their team will receive, that strategy might fall flat. Instead, they focus on how this change aligns with the overall goals and values of the organization.

This simple shift is powerful and can be the key to optimized results.

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Positioning Your Case Advantageously

In the context of an internal negotiation, how you position your case going into the situation will define how your internal stakeholders frame that case and - more importantly - how they respond to it. 

Furthermore, by weaving together a consistent theme across every point of communication, you’ll have a strong foundation for your point of view with your internal stakeholders. Describe your case in a succinct, compelling way that clearly conveys value, rather than including too many data points, features, benefits, and more.

An advanced form of positioning is framing.

Advanced Techniques: Framing Complex Internal Discussions

Those are just a few ways RED BEAR’s Negotiation Principles can help you leverage the power of framing for internal success. To help you better understand how framing plays into the internal dynamics of business and everyday negotiations, here are a few more examples that further outline the power of framing:

  • High-Stakes Negotiations: Internal budget allocations are always fraught with tension. Framing budget requests as not just a need for a single department but an investment in an area critical to the organization’s goals is powerful.
  • Building Consensus: Conflicting interests are a common element of internal negotiations. A frame change in negotiations around company direction might shift perspective from a fundamental move away from tradition to an evolution toward achieving long-term objectives.
  • Conflict Resolution: In a scenario where there is internal resistance to a new operational process, use framing to shift the focus from the discomfort of change to the benefits of the process in enhancing efficiency and reducing workload. This can transform resistance into a collaborative effort to refine and implement the new process.

Mastering Framing for Successful Internal Negotiations

Internal negotiations run the gamut from simple requests to proposals that change the fundamental direction of an organization. Regardless, framing plays an important role in internal negotiations and communication.

When negotiators master the RED BEAR negotiation methodology, including the Principles of effective negotiation, they learn to leverage the power of framing not just for their own benefit, but for their team and the broader organization. It’s all about maximizing the value of every discussion and crafting win-win outcomes. 

That’s what we teach here at RED BEAR. You won’t find manipulative tactics or one-time-use strategies. Rather, your team will learn the fundamentals of successful negotiations. 

But it’s more than giving your team the best training available; it’s about value.

For every dollar invested into our training workshops, our clients receive, on average, $54 back. That’s the value of RED BEAR training.

Get in touch with the team today to explore your workshop options.

Fill out our contact form and we will be back to you in no later than one business day.

 

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