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Nuances Of Negotiations Should Include Reciprocity, Concessions

By Marty Latz

Third, be prepared when your counterpart invokes this rule with you. One response -- pay for it now. Do not accept favors from individuals to whom you do not want to feel a reciprocal obligation. 
Labor union negotiators must be sensitive to the perceptions involved in accepting favors from management. They don’t want to appear to their fellow members to be unfairly influenced by management. As a result, they will often either refuse “favors” or insist on paying for any benefit received.  
Finally, don’t feel obligated if you feel the gift or favor is being offered to manipulate you. Everyone receives “free offers” in the mail or from telephone solicitations. These almost always come from strangers. Don’t feel any obligation to return them. They are offered purely to manipulate your purchasing behavior. Treat these favors differently from those that come into play when the parties have an ongoing relationship. 
What did I do when our seller offered us the tile for free? Graciously accepted it. And then later offered him a relatively equivalent discount on an item he already had agreed to pay for. Fair is fair. 

Marty Latz, a negotiation columnist for The Business Journal of Phoenix where this column originally appeared, is President of Latz Negotiation Institute, a national negotiation training and consulting firm based in Phoenix, Arizona. He has developed and taught negotiation training programs and seminars for corporations, cities, bar associations and law firms nationwide. Participants at his courses leave behind the intuitive and instinctive -- along with their inherent uncertainties -- and develop the strategic mindset that’s at the heart of successful negotiation.

A Harvard Law honors graduate, Marty is also an Adjunct Professor-Negotiation at Arizona State University College of Law. He also negotiated for the White House nationally and internationally on the White House Advance Teams. Marty is the author of Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want (St. Martin’s Press, 2004). For more and for previous columns, see or email Marty at

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August 2006