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Who Has the Most Power in a Negotiation?

By Peter Stark

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In almost 30 years of working with clients to help them prepare for significant negotiations, I have frequently found that most negotiators buy into the false assumption that their counterpart has more power than they do.

I disagree. I have found that almost always, the power in a negotiation is equally balanced. However, there is one exception to this finding: if the other party truly has no need for you and would prefer to move forward without you, then you may be right, they hold all the power. When clients tell us they have no power in a negotiation, we always ask the same questions. Do they return your emails and phone calls? If you did want to meet with them, would they agree to a meeting? If the answer is yes, then your counterpart needs you, and you have more power than you think you do.

Whether you believe that your counterpart holds all the power or that you hold all the power, you are right. Ask yourself this: if you believe you hold no power, why does your counterpart agree to continue the relationship?

While there are many different types of power in a negotiation, here are just a few that will influence the outcome of a negotiation:

Who Has the Power in a Negotiation? By Peter Stark


Copyright © 2014 Peter B. Stark
Copyright ©   2014  The Negotiator Magazine
The Negotiator Magazine  May 2014