By Steven G. Mehta
Previously, I had discussed the movie Hancock and some negotiating points from it. Here is another point raised in the movie. See Will Smith Teaches Negotiation Lesson
Take the time to communicate information and reasons for why someone should do something rather than just simply demanding performance of an act.
In the movie, Hancock has explained that he doesn’t know how he developed his powers. He has thought that he was the only one on Earth with powers. He just learns that Charlize Theron also has powers like him. He wants to learn more. But Charlize Theron has told him that he should leave her immediately, without explanation. The following scene starts with this background.
Charlize Theron obviously wants Hancock to leave her alone. Yet she gives no reasons as to why he should do so. She gives the direction, with no explanation. As a result, Hancock does not listen and refuses to comply. Indeed, as a result of the dispute that they have, her cover is blown and her husband finds out about her secret powers.
The same is true in negotiations. If you want someone to do something for you, it is important to give a reason. Simply taking the time to explain the process and rationale can save enormous amount of time and effort in having to deal with the consequences of not having the other person do what you are asking of them.
This principle is also true in social sciences. One study found that simply by giving a reason at the end of the request dramatically increased the chances that someone would comply with the request.
As such, even though it might take a little longer now, that time investment will pay off ten times in compliance with your request.