The Negotiator Magazine

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X is for Xchanging Concessions

Exchanging concessions is not a strategy you should use lightly in negotiations, particularly if the other side starts by offering you a concession and then expects one in return. This is because making concessions is a sign of weakness and betrays a need to please the other side. Almost certainly, an experienced negotiator will interpret any concession you make as weakness and push you into making more. If you do decide to make a concession, do so reluctantly and optimize the value of what you give away. In the same vein, if the other side gives you a concession in the expectation that you will do the same, take it reluctantly and let them know that its worth is not that great to you.

Y is for Yikes, You’ve Got To Be Kidding

Yikes, You’ve Got To Be Kidding is a shock tactic used in the opening exchanges of a power negotiation to make your opponents sit up and think and maybe re-assess their offer or demand. As one seasoned diplomat put it: "Be unreasonable; appear reasonable."
You owe it to both your side and your opponents to reject a first offer - even if it is within your acceptable settlement range.
Why? Because if you accept their first demand, they'll be left thinking they could have done better and if they accept your first offer, you’ll be left wondering if you couldn’t have done better.
In power negotiations, both sides need to experience at least the ritual of winning something from the other side.

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July 2006