I’ve often been fond of saying the only thing worse than a sore loser…is a sore winner. It can be very tempting to make a sarcastic remark, boast or remind people how great we think we are. This is especially true in the prideful moments after an interrogation or negotiation is over when we believe our remarks can’t affect the results.
Our remarks can always affect the results.
Deflategate provides us with a perfect example. Multiple reports have suggested this whole controversy started because the Raven’s were upset with the Patriots for using trick formations in the AFC divisional playoff game and tipped off the Colts to the fact that the Patriots were using improperly deflated footballs during the week before the AFC championship game. The Colts, in turn, notified the NFL and the rest is history.
There are plenty of conspiracy theories floating around as to why the Ravens would tip off the Colts and why the NFL would investigate the Patriots as they have. However, as with most conspiracy theories, there appears to be a factual catalyst for this entire episode. Immediately following the AFC divisional playoff game John Harbaugh, the Ravens coach, was very upset and made several critical comments about the formations the Patriots used. Shortly after coach Harbaugh made his comments Tom Brady gave a press conference, during which he was asked how he felt about the Ravens being so upset about the formations the Patriots used. Tom responded by saying, “Maybe those guys should study the rule book and figure it out.”
Emotions run hot in competitive situations and we all have been tempted to get the last laugh…which can often come back to haunt us. It is reasonable to conclude that the formation controversy would have faded away in less than one week had Tom not made that comment. Unfortunately for Tom, his comment most likely went one step too far. He told the Ravens to “study the rule book,” when they were apparently aware that he was allegedly playing outside of the rule book himself. The Ravens may have been willing to live with the loss and they probably didn’t care that Tom was playing with slightly under inflated footballs, until he twisted the knife and publicly challenged them to a public rule book understanding competition.
As interviewers, sales professionals and negotiators our professions position us to potentially upset our counterparts. Like professional athletes we will always have our supporters and our detractors. Perception is reality and our reputations follow us everywhere we go. One seemingly humorous comment can get a confession thrown out of court, can cause a deal to collapse in the final hour and can significantly damage to our chances of obtaining future agreements and confessions.
One moment of braggadocio is not worth a career’s worth of additional scrutiny. Stay away from cheap closing shots. Remember when we are feeling our best is when our counterparts’ wounds are fresh and when their reactions can be more volatile. When you have achieved your goal in any interaction be humble, be gracious, and be aware that how you handle this achievement will have a direct impact on your ability to achieve future successes.
Guess who’s back with Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates? That’s right!
Welcome back Michael Reddington, CFI to the team by commenting about his newest blog below. Check out what’s new at WZ by clicking here or follow @WZ_Training.