The successful TV series on HBO, Game of Thrones, hides valuable tips about negotiation and conflict management which we want to share with you. We can learn how to become a negotiator with Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister or Arya Stark. Take note of these seven lessons from Game of Thrones to have a head start:
1. Look for good mentors… as Daenerys Targaryen
Even if they are not like the wise Mentor who advises Carlo Vecchio in Merchants (course-videogame for negotiatiors), surrounding ourselves with people who know even more than us and can guide us is essential to learn and become a successful negotiator. For Carlo in Merchants and Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones, they have their mentors to thank for getting them to be taken seriously by others and achieve their goals.
2. Minimize your weaknesses, exploit your strenghts… as Tyrion Lannister
The weakest character in Game of Thrones, it would seem, is Tyrion Lannister. He is often called a “halfman” for being a dwarf and yet, Tyrion slowly conquers his opponents and achieves everything he sets his mind to, by highlighting his strengths above his weaknesses. If anything can be learned from a Lannister, it is precisely this lesson Tyrion teaches us: exploit your strengths to minimize your weaknesses.
Also, you can learn how to become a negotiator with some characters as hard as Machiavelli here: the Course-Videogame Merchants, developed by Gamelearn.
3. Learn to adapt… as Arya Stark
One of the greatest challenges on our path to success is to know how to adapt to changes. Change is a constant in our lives, even during a negotiation. The ability to adapt to our environment (or the other party in a negotiation) is vital to survive and to succeed. If any character in Game of Thrones has done this, it has been Arya Stark. Ned Stark’s daughter saw her father being beheaded and she then began a runaway that forced her to fake she was a boy and subdue to their captors with the hope of surviving. Arya takes every moment of change to make the best of it and learn.
4. Information is power… as Varys
Information is the most valuable possession you can have before sitting at a negotiating table. Even what you may think of as the most insignificant piece of information can be important. The character managing the most information in Game of Thrones is probably the eunuch Varys, who tends to enlarge his “network” of gossip that he uses for his own benefit. But, unlike Varys, it is not about “knowing more than the other” or “withholding information”, but allowing communication to flow between both parties to identify the interests of each.
5. Seize every opportunity… as Lord Bronn
A logical piece of advice every negotiator must consider is to seize opportunities as they arise. Sometimes you need to take some risks to turn chances into success, the key is to identify these opportunities and not let them pass. The mercenary Lord Bronn is the best example of how to be in the right place at the right time, and take advantage of it.
6. Trust your instincts… unlike Ned Stark!
Intuition often plays a key role during negotiations. Beyond information, knowledge and experience, instincts can make a difference. Ned Stark‘s head rolled because he ignored his hunch and did not listen to the warnings from his wife not to accept the offer to become “Hand of the King”, an influential position of great power which would eventually sentence him to death.
7. Outdo yourself… unlike Robert Baratheon!
Always trying to improve is a maximum not only to become a good negotiator but, in general, to grow personally and professionally. Being a conformist is not like a leader and the result is always mediocrity or worse; decadence. If Robert Baratheon had not stopped trying to get better every day instead of slacking off on his throne after being named King, and had continued to train his skills, his kingdom may not have sunk in chaos, conspiracy and war.