The Negotiator Magazine

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The ABC of Negotiation Ploys and Tactics

Eric Garner

If you want to win at the game of negotiations, then you need to know the ploys, tactics and gambits that will give you an advantage over your opponents. Here is an A to Z that will show you how to do exactly that.

A is for Aristotle’s Appeals

If you want to boost your powers of persuasion, you can’t do better than to use the 3 appeals which Aristotle defined as the secret of Ancient Greece’s greatest minds. He called them ethos, logos and pathos.

  1. Ethos appeals are based on ethics and reputation. Quite simply, this is anything that makes your arguments sound more credible, such as an endorsement from a key person or citing expert testimony.
  2. Logos appeals are based on logic and include statistics, facts and evidence.
  3. Pathos appeals are based on emotion and means any argument which either creates a fear of not doing the deal on the one hand or a desire to enjoy the benefits of the offer on the other.

Work these three types of arguments into your negotiating presentations, and you’ll be practically unstoppable.

B is for BATNA

A BATNA is your Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement and is the only certain way to be successful in negotiations. By preparing for negotiations with one party by sounding out an alternative deal with someone else gives you walkaway power. It means that, even if the alternative isn't quite what you want, you are still prepared to go there, if need be. One of the best examples of a BATNA took place during negotiations between the Malta government and the British over the use of Maltese harbors for British naval ships. During the negotiations, the Malta government courted the Soviet Union who was more than interested in a deal. This alternative gave Malta both leverage and walkaway power.

C is for the Coquette Principle

You can increase the power you have over others by raising the value of what you have in their eyes but then making them wait before they can enjoy it. This whets their appetite more and is salaciously known as "the coquette principle". Other coquette techniques include...

· emphasizing the scarcity and rarity of what you have
· underplaying the value of what you have to make them want it even more
· being reluctant to part with what you have as unworthy of their interest.

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July 2006