The Negotiator Magazine

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D is for Dumb Is Smart

The competitive nature of conflict that underlies power negotiations often results in both sides trying to prove they're more intelligent than each other. One side will use arguments that are clever in the belief that this will win them points. However, there are disadvantages in appearing too clever:
· you risk turning cleverness into a competition so that, even if you get a bad deal, you can still say you were cleverer
· being smart pre-supposes that you have to win the argument. Most successful negotiations are not won on the arguments alone but on a range of other factors.
· being clever prevents you asking "dumb" questions in case you appear stupid. This makes you vulnerable to deals which must be carefully checked out.
Remember, dumb is smart and smart is dumb.

E is for Emotional Ambush

There are five emotional ploys that your opponents may try to use on you to soften you up:
1. personal attacks: "You're not up to it!"
2. accusations, e.g. of amateurism, awkwardness, intransigence, unfairness  "Come off it...!  You can't really mean that...!"
3. flattery: appealing to your ego, e.g. "I’m sure you have the authority to sanction this deal..."
4. warnings, e.g. of what might happen if no deal is struck.  "Just think how disappointed you'll feel..."
5. emotional ambush: Emotional ambush is when an atmosphere is created in the negotiation room which makes you reluctant to displease or upset your opponent. You begin to feel that it would be rude to refuse them.

F is for Fait Accompli

Fait Accompli is a cheeky but powerful tactic if you can get away with it. You simply go ahead with what you want to do without the agreement of the other side. When they catch you out, you respond with a look of surprise and say something like, “Who me? Oh, I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to do that. I am sorry. I won’t do it again.

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July 2006