Recognize Unfair Negotiation Tactics and be Prepared to Counter Them

Mediation Minute

If you enter negotiations or mediation and you believe the other party is using unfair tactics, question the tactic, but don’t attack their personal integrity.  Recognize the tactic for what it is – a tactic. Analyze the situation as follows:

  • Is it deliberate deception?
    • Phony facts
      • Unless you have a reason to trust someone, don’t
      • Verify factual assertions
    • Ambiguous authority
      • Find the authority on both sides
    • Dubious intentions
      • If you suspect misrepresentation of their intention to perform, build compliance features into the agreement itself.
  • Psychological warfare, designed to make you feel uncomfortable
    • Stressful situations
    • Personal attacks
    • The good/bad guy routine
    • Threats
    • Refusal to negotiate
    • Extreme demands
      • Ask for a principled justification
      • Note how extreme demands can undermine credibility
    • Escalating demands
    • A calculated delay
    • Take it or leave it offers
      • Consider ignoring such a demand
      • Continue to suggest other solutions.

In the end, don’t be a victim of unfair negotiation tactics. Take the high road and work with the other party or the mediator to render the tactics completely ineffective.