Getting an Edge in a Bargaining Session:
Try to keep the negotiations on company premises. If the adversary refuses, pick a neutral site in a light, pleasant, colorful room with all the necessary comforts.
Arrange the seating carefully. The best place is at the head of the table with back to the window and facing the door. This puts the glare in the adversary's face and allows you to see who's entering the room.
How to Make Concessions Without Coming off the Loser:
Get the other party to put all his demands on the table first (and keep yours to yourself). Don't be baited into item-by-item negotiations and concessions until you know all his demands.
Never be the first to make a major concession. When your opponent makes one, don't assume you have to make one of equal importance.
Get something in return for each concession you make. Conserve your concessions -- give a little at a time. Make your opponent work for whatever he gets.
How to Handle a "Final Offer":
First, listen very carefully to your counterpart across the negotiating table for hedges and face-savers to determine just how "final" the offer really is. Then, choose among any of these reactions:
In your reply, interpret the offer in the way that is most favorable to you. Give the other party a face-saving way to retreat from his position. Get angry if it suits your purpose.
Tell your opponent what he stands to lose in a deadlock. Change the subject. Introduce new alternatives and possible solutions.
How to Say "No" Without Ruffling Feathers:
Pin the blame for the negative answer on somebody (or something) else. That "something else" could be a superior, company policy, government regulation, manufacturing standard, etc. -- but not yourself. Lack of authority can prove a powerful negotiating tool.
Tactic When Session Bogs Down:
Walking out abruptly can clear the air and often lead to a strategic gain. How to do it? Announce that the talks aren't progressing, suggest a break, and walk out before your opposite number can reply. Results: This dissipates the tension of the stalemate and can also make the other person think (and begin to consider whose inflexibility prompted the walkout).
Important! Be ready with a fresh idea when you get back to the table.
Carlos C. Johnson III
Author, Speaker, Business Consultant