Dealing With Difficult Negotiators

Tips For Dealing With a Difficult Negotiator

What if They're More Powerful Than You?

BATNA

Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement

  • This is your minimally acceptable agreement (the very least you are willing to accept in a negotiation)
  • Create a "trip wire" - something before BATNA that you can use as an early warning system (you don't won't to accept anything lower than this)
  • Vigorously explore what your BATNA should be
  • Consider what the other side's BATNA may be
  • MAY INCREASE what you could get out of the negotiation vs. not knowing your BATNA

What does BATNA stand for?

  • Best Alternative Targeting an Agreement
  • Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement

What if They Won't Play?

You're using principled negotiation, but the other side is using positional negotiation...

What YOU can do:

  • Concentrate on merits, not positions
  • Don't attack their position, look at the interests behind their positions
  • Don't defend your ideas - invite criticism and advice
  • Recast an attack on you as an attach on the problem
  • Ask questions & pause
  • Call on a third party if required

You should always defend yourself against attacks or criticism during a negotiation

  • You should try to reframe attacks on you as attacks on the problem
  • Always defend yourself against attacks.

Dealing With a Hard Bargainer

Negotiate About the Rules of the Game

How to:

  • Separate the people from the problem
  • Focus on interests, not positions
  • Invent options for mutual gain
  • Insist on using objective criteria

Negotiation Pitfalls

Watch Out For:

  • Deliberate deception - fake facts (you may need to proceed independently of trust), ambiguous authority (find out about authority PRIOR to the negotiation), less than full disclosure is not the same as deception
  • Psychological warfare - stressful situations, personal attacks, good guy/bad guy routine, threats
  • Potential pressure tactics - refusal to negotiate, extreme demands, escalating demands, lock-in tactics, hard-hearted partners, a calculated delay, "take it or leave it" talk