When you’re beginning an intense negotiation, building trust early is important: it makes the work of aligning both interests easier (and makes the person across the table more likely to honor her commitments). You can establish trust by creating a sense of similarity between the two of you — feeling alike is one of the mind’s basic mechanisms for determining loyalty. So the next time you’re negotiating, find and emphasize something — anything — that will help your counterpart notice the link between you two.
Do you root for the same sports team? Did you have similar first jobs? Are you both juggling work and a family? That sense of affiliation makes her more willing to cooperate and find a solution that works for everyone.
Adapted from “The Simplest Way to Build Trust” by David DeSteno.