0711-Negotiation Tactics

Background material for by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. Year 2 PPSD session on Wednesday 14th November 2007


1.1 Pressure tactics: The other party may employ pressure tactics against you such as stonewalling, direct and personal attacks, ticks, and intimidation. Do not strike back, give in, or break off negotiations. You should recognize the provoking action. Stop to think and if possible ask for the session to be adjourned. Do not get angry and do not make any hasty decisions on the spot. Exercise self-control and self-restraint. Often the other party just wants to provoke you so that you may make a fool of yourself. The following pressure tactics can be used against you: intimidation, kid-glove, good-guy/bad-guy combination, invisible authority, erosion of your confidence, stonewalling, deception, provocation and emotions, anger, and personal attacks


1.2 Intimidation: Intimidation is never a good negotiation tactic. If the other party intimidates you, do not react to them by appearing to be intimidated or replying in kind. Ignore the intimidation. It will lose its impact. In case of intimidation, stick to the issues being negotiated. Do not discuss the threat. Assess your vulnerability to the threat so that you may study the best response. Always stick to objective criteria and do not get emotional.



2.1 Kid-glove: The other party may use a kid-glove approach giving you an unfavorable deal that is sweetened. Consider your values and long-term interests before responding.


2.2 Good-guy/bad-guy combination: The other party may present the good guy/bad guy scenario. One of the party may be outwardly hostile while the other one pretends to be friendly and on your side. Recognize the tactic and tell them that you understand what they are about. Then go back to objective negotiations.



3.1 Invisible authority: Your negotiating partner may hide behind a higher authority. You reach a deal and he claims that he has to consult his superiors. This can be prevented by establishing at the start of the negotiations whether they have authority to negotiate. You can also use this tactic in reverse. Also hide behind an authority even an imaginary one.


3.2 Stone walling: Stone-walling occurs when the other party claims no flexibility and starts foot-dragging. Tell them you understand that they are using this tactic. Test the stickability of the stone-wall; if it is not firm just ignore it. If it is relatively firm, either try to get around the stone-wall or behave as if it did not occur and just continue negotiating. Try to reinterpret the stone-wall as an aspiration and not a firm irrevocable stand. Continue negotiating calmly.


3.3 Deception: When you think there is deception or false information, ask questions to clarify. Expose the trick. Try to turn tricks to your advantage. Avoid discussing new information that looks suspect.



4.1 Erosion of your confidence: When the other party tries to erode your confidence and credibility, to dot react. Just emphasize objectivity.


4.2 Provocations and emotions: You may be provoked into a negative reaction by an opponent. Guard against this. Always keep your calm and objectivity. Never lose sight of your objectives in a fit of temper. You may become emotional without any provocation. Admit the fact at least to yourself so that you may deal with it objectively. Try to return to objectivity. Focus on the future and positive results. Listen more and try to be objective. If you can express your emotional feelings factually do so; this acts as an emotional release. If the other party becomes emotional, ask them to justify their position rationally. Encourage them to communicate their emotional feelings. Empathize with them and do not react in like manner.


4.3 Anger: In case of anger aimed at intimidating you, listen to them. Acknowledge their feelings. Verbalize agreement with them without conceding your point of view. Do not reject their emotionally-expressed views; reframe them as a problem requiring solution. Treat them with respect even if they are making fools of themselves. Express your views while avoiding any further provocation.


4.4 Personal attacks: Ignore personal attacks and do not become defensive. Treat them as attacks on the problem and not on you. Reframe hostile personal attacks as friendly ones and make joke about them. Change pronouns from 'you' and 'me' to 'we'. Stick to discussing the merits of the issues. Criticize ideas and not the people who propound them. Reframe past wrongs as future remedies.



5.1 Risks in negotiation: There are risks in negotiations. You can never be sure that the other side is negotiating in good faith. You can not be sure that they will be honest in keeping the terms agreed on. You must guard against treachery and prepare for broken promises. In case of treachery be prompt in disowning the agreement that had been reached. Never be deceived twice by the same party. A believer is taken for only one ride and he learns from it.


5.2 Incremental approach: Do not throw play all your cards at once. Always keep some cards or negotiation chips in reserve for the last stages. They may salvage a deal beneficial to you. Avoid careless talk after the deal is reached but is not yet signed. You may introduce an idea or a dimension that can spoil everything. If possible never conclude a negotiation in one session. Give yourself time to think about the best compromise that has been reached by asking the other party to give you time to get approval from your superiors or colleagues.

5.3 Follow-up and implementation: Before entering into negotiations, you should take time to think about the follow-up steps after conclusion of negotiations. This will guide your negotiating strategy.

ŠProfessor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. November, 2007