COULD YES MEAN NO?

In our everyday interactions, discussions, conversations, we are all after getting that YES! That positive answer that means we are in accordance, on the same wavelength, that we see the situation through the same lens, and that there is a mutual understanding on how to proceed forward. But, is this really the case? Is there scenarios or instances where the YES doesn’t necessarily mean either of the above? Is there a possibility that the YES is not something positive?

Working with people, and closing deals, I have come to realise that this couldn’t be further from the truth. I found that getting a YES was easy, but what did that YES actually mean? That was a different story. There are multiple types of YES, and the best description I could find was in the writings of Chris Voss in his book “Never Split The Difference” (2016), referring to the 3 types of YES:

  1. Counterfeit
  2. Confirmation
  3. Commitment

In the first instance, the YES is nothing more but a distraction, a smoke screen so you cannot see that this person is not serious in dealing with yourself. This easy YES is merely a way to escape. Think of when you and your Mrs are having an argument, and you simply say “YES honey”, so you can move along. That’s precisely what it is. You don’t mean it, and you are just using it as an escape route.

The second type of YES, is the confirmation. This is the YES you are going after during a discussion, a conversation, an exchange of ideas, where you want the other person to confirm what it is your saying, in that you are in the same wavelength of thought and you agree on certain issues.

The third one, is the one that you need to really be going for if you are in any type of business, or during a sales transaction. It refers to getting the other person to not just confirm, but commit to what it is you are both agreeing to. This can be in the form of placing an order, making a payment, giving some from of deposit, or taking that next step after confirmation that ties the deal down.

Unless you reach the third step which is “commitment” then any other YES can easily mean, or turn into a NO. Only through some form of commitment does a YES mean YES !

Thank you for taking the time to read through. I hope you have found this topic useful. All feedback is welcomed, so leave your thoughts below.


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