Negotiating Tips and Tactics

Negotiating has been in the news a lot these days. Personally I hope John Kerry reads this article! Whether you are negotiating a nuclear deal or the next load of wholesale merchandise, you need to have some skills.


Negotiating with anyone that's tough can be bedeviling. If you're bedeviled when negotiating against tough negotiators (hard nose), inconsistent negotiators (say one thing and do another), and/or with those with whom you're very close to (friends, associates), you can have a devil of a time negotiating with such people and still win.


The following are tips, tactics, and techniques you can use when negotiating in situations that can be devilish.



When negotiating with friends, the negotiation can be deviling because you may not want to risk the friendship due to a hard negotiation. This in turn can cause you to acquiesce to requests that you otherwise wouldn't commit to.


Negotiation Tip: When negotiating with friends, close associates, or those that you place more value on the relationship versus the outcome of the negotiation, set the groundwork for the negotiation ahead of time. This is something that you'd normally do when framing the negotiation (setting the agenda as to what will be discussed). With people that fall into the categories mentioned, take extra care in framing the negotiation by informing your friend or associate that you really don't want to get into a give and take, because you place more value in the relationship. Thus, you don't want harm to befall it. You can also jokingly say, "... and I don't want you to take advantage of me, either". With the negotiation stage set from that perspective, both of you should be able to negotiate amicably and do so while preserving the relationship. By framing the negotiation from this perspective, you will have taken the potential devil out of the negotiation.



I'll discuss two tactics that you can employ when negotiating with someone that bedevils you. One is mirroring, the other is appearing to be led while leading, or leading from behind. These two tactics are closely tied to one another.


You employ the mirroring, or leading from behind tactic by mimicking the requests, actions, and tactics of the other negotiator. If he's being devilish in the negotiation, he'll quickly recognize that you're replicating his actions. This will have one of two effects on him. One, he'll realize that he's in for a very long negotiation that might be a waste of his time, as long as he maintains his negotiation tactic. Two, he'll recognize the devil in you and change his tactics. In either case, you will have altered his perspective, which will be to your advantage.



When negotiating with someone that employs tough (I win, you lose) techniques, play hard ball (don't give anything unless you get something of value). With this type of personality, if you display weakness, more than likely you'll be treated like a lamb and be led to slaughter.


While the negotiation may be daunting, if the purpose of the negotiation is worth the effort, stay engaged. Watch the time you invest in the negotiation. The more time you invest, the more you're likely to stay engaged for the conclusion of the negotiation. Doing so could cause you to make concessions that are not beneficial to your position.


You may not be able to turn all of your bedeviling negotiations into angels, but by adopting the suggestions above, you can make your negotiations more heavenly... and everything will be right with the world.


Remember, you're always negotiating!