The Negotiator Magazine

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The extreme situation that I have encountered was when I was on a sales call for my negotiation training seminars with a buyer who, midway through our conversation, stopped talking and simply wouldn't say anything, no matter what I said.

Since I wasn't getting anywhere, I decided to call his bluff. So I put my stuff away, politely thanked him for his time and walked out the door. He caught up with me in the hall and said that he really did want to talk to me. We went back into his office and continued in a much more reasonable manner.

The second way to use silence, which I use all the time, is to go slowly and leave lots of gaps for the other side to rush into.

Put in an extra long pause........make sure........that you don't.......answer........your own question........ Wait and hold your breath.........while the other person........ is thinking about making a concession.........and just starting to talk about it. Have that little hesitation........before answering their question........so that maybe they will rush in..........and answer it themselves.

Just leave bits and pieces of silence lying around throughout the negotiation and watch to see whether people will jump into them.

So train yourself to recognize silence tactics when others use them and to avoid the traps. And develop the skill to use silence effectively as part of your negotiating style. You will be amazed at how often it will work dramatically in your favor.


Michael Schatzki is a master negotiator whose programs have a 20 year track record of producing bottom line results for his clients. His Negotiation Dynamics® keynotes, breakout sessions and seminars educate and entertain. More than 75% of Mike's programs are for satisfied, repeat customers. To learn more about Mike Schatzki and The Negotiation Dynamics® system you may visit his web site at www.NegotiationDynamics.com

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July 2005