The Negotiator Magazine

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P is for Power Ploys

Power ploys are attempts by the other side to wrong-foot you by exerting some kind of Svengali-like power over you. You can resist these attempts by seeing through their power ploys. If you are clever, you can even turn their power ploys to your advantage using these tactics:

  1. simply ignore them.
  2. name them. This is like the naming of mythological beasts of old in order to scare them away. "Oh, I see you've placed me facing the sun. I might not be able to see too well from there. I'll just move nearer."
  3. suggest you discuss them. "Ah, I see you're playing "Hard to get".  Shall we discuss tactics?"
  4. counter them and call their bluff. "I see you're playing "Higher authority". Well, as a matter of fact, I think we would be happy to hear from your boss."

Q is for Questions

The side that controls the questions in a negotiation is the side that is always in control. Questions do a number of things: they allow you to sit back and listen; they help you gather information; and they stop you from giving anything away. There are no-go questions and go questions in negotiations:
No-go questions are those that...

  1. reprimand and accuse (Why didn't you...?)
  2. entrap (Are you still peddling the Union line, then?)
  3. threaten and pre-judge.

Go questions are those that...

  1. open (What do you think...?)
  2. seek permission (Why don't we look at things differently?)
  3. are barometric (How would you feel if...?)

R is for Reluctant Player

Reluctant Player is a gambit that you can play at the start of negotiations. Whatever the other side’s opening offer or demand, you simply counter with a reluctance to come anywhere near it. Here are 5 timeless phrases that will make the other side think again:


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July 2006