The Negotiator Magazine

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The fourth idea is a fresh approach to the subject of negotiation tactics. In recent times, since the advent of Getting to Yes, collaborative bargaining and principled negotiation, tactics have been viewed as dirty tricks or deceptions that legitimate negotiators should avoid. Win Squared views tactics differently. A tactic is simply any statement or action that people commonly use to affect each other's perception of value.

Envision a negotiation in which you are selling a piece of property. At the beginning of a negotiation the other person may have a very limited, even incorrect, perception of your property's value. Should you tell them about it? Should you show it to them? Should you provide them expert reports? Each of these actions is a tactic for affecting the other person's perception of your property's value. Inspections, demonstrations, endorsements, samples, testimonials, guarantees, and contingencies are just a few of the legitimate tactics used to improve the other person's perception of value. Altogether Win Squared catalogues more than 600 tactics.

The final idea is to classify tactics by activity. Traditionally, negotiations have been described as occurring in discreet stages, starting with preparation and ending with concession. Very few negotiations, however, proceed in such a neat, orderly fashion. Some begin with a proposal and proceed directly to a concession with no exchange of information or debate. Others vacillate repeatedly between information gathering and debate before any proposal is ever extended.

To avoid any imprecision arising from the sequence of events, Win Squared classifies tactics by activity rather than phase or stage. Win Squared defines an "activity" as any of the six actions in which parties engage during a typical negotiation. The six activities consist of:


Make changes to the actual value of objects or resources.

Exchange Information

Obtain or withhold information from the other party.

Make Proposal

Communicate demand or offer to the other party.

Debate Proposal

Dispute or defend a proposal.

Sell Proposal

Persuade the other party to accept your proposal.

Make Concession

Accept the other party's proposal.

Activities may occur separately, simultaneously, or repeatedly - depending on the negotiation. Not all activities will occur in every negotiation, but all successful negotiations will include Make Proposal and Make Concession.

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