The Negotiator Magazine

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Turning Your Adversary into Your Advocate in Negotiations 

Give your opponent some tools

In facing off against a corporation, your negotiation opponent is probably a mid-level supervisor or director, or an independent representative of the company. These folks need tools to work with. In order to gain a greater understanding of the challenges unique to their assignment, consider their position. They have to present your offer to their supervisors, so help them convince upper-management that your proposal is a good idea for the company; for the shareholders; for the primary decision makers; for production; for future market positioning; etc. There’s a broad array of selfish incentives sought after by your corporate opponent – all of them tied to profit, power or both. Since you can anticipate this, ask your opponent what they hope to secure through negotiations.  

In the event your opponent cannot articulate the motive behind a broader demand – or is simply reluctant to do so, you should be ready to spell it out for them as it relates to your offer, verbalizing what you suspect they either want or can have through a cooperative arrangement with you. Casting about for a favorable response can not only demonstrate to your corporate opponent that you are sensitive to their unique needs, but can further, help you identify potential incentives which may be useful later in winning fuller compliance.  

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June 2006