The Negotiator Magazine

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Information Leakage.

The other side may well speak to people you'd rather they didn't: gossiping office juniors, indiscreet bosses, technical managers who reveal that you really need that supplier. Visitors have the chance to observe idle factory machines, who's seeing whom from the visitors' book, and new product development plans on flipcharts. One client, who leases the most sumptuous premises in central London, finds it very difficult to plead poverty when he wants prices reduced.

Information availability.

It is often to your advantage to claim ignorance of a certain document or other piece of information. This is easier if you've just got your briefcase with you. Much harder if the filing cabinet is behind you.

The Ego Element

If they think that making you come to them is a victory, then let them win a cheap victory. You're there to win what's on the table, not win ego points.

In conclusion, when the question arises as to where a negotiation should take place, don't automatically say "let them come to us." Ask yourself if you're making a business decision or an ego decision.

Jonathan Sims, Principal of the Human Development Centre (HDC), has been tutoring the Workshop in Negotiation Skills since 1989. You may visit the Human Development Centre at its website: Jonathan Sims can be reached by e-mail at

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October 2005