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How You Can Avoid Being Exploited In Negotiations

By Marty Latz

3. Their counterparts adopt an aggressive adversarial approach to the negotiation and view it through a win-lose/competitive mindset.

In these situations, what should cooperative negotiators do?

Initially evaluate the situation and determine if your more naturally cooperative approach -- if reciprocated by your counterpart -- would more effectively lead to your satisfying your goals.

Factors to consider include:

1. The value of your future relationship. The stronger the future relationship between the parties, the more a cooperative approach will be effective.

2. The number of issues. The more issues on the table, the more a cooperative approach will be effective.

3. The zero-sum nature of the issues. The more zero-sum the issues, the less effective a cooperative approach.

Reach into your toolkit

Based on these factors, if you determine a more cooperative approach works better but your counterpart appears competitive, reach into your negotiation toolkit and consider how you might get your counterpart to be more cooperative.

Tactics to consider, as discussed in William Ury's book "Getting Past No: Negotiating Your Way from Confrontation to Cooperation," include:

1. Stepping into their shoes, finding out why they are so competitive, and then taking action to defuse it.

2. Pointing out why it makes sense for them to be cooperative.

3. Educating them to the long-term negative consequences of their approach.

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August 2005