How to Negotiate with Jerks and Win: 6 Ways to Respond
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How to Negotiate with Jerks and Win: 6 Ways to Respond

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Classic thinkers such as Machiavelli and Sun Tzu recommend total absence of mercy in negotiation. Subscribers to this philosophy come to the table prepared to crush the enemy at all costs — even if ...

Classic thinkers such as Machiavelli and Sun Tzu recommend total absence of mercy in negotiation. Subscribers to this philosophy come to the table prepared to crush the enemy at all costs — even if it means using stealth, deception and manipulation to get what they want.

This approach works largely because unprepared or naïve counterparts find it difficult to accept the idea that some people are cunning, devious and ruthless. Coercion has a place in moral society during certain high-stakes interactions, such as hostage negotiations or when national security is on the line. But camouflage and pressure tactics can backfire in business when negotiators destroy their counterparts at the expense of long-term relationships of trust.

Many 21st century negotiators recognize this risk. Instead of leveraging the power of coercion, they use the power of understanding to achieve mutual wins at the negotiation table. Unfortunately, some people cling to classic negotiation styles even when their perceived adversaries try to bring more transparency and civility to the process.

People who insist on playing hardball might not know any other way to negotiate — or they might be narcissistic jerks. Resisting their tactics can be stressful and usually demands high performance practices to change the game. Here are six ways to respond.

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  • None of this is negotiation.

    1. Won't work. It only delays the necessary conversation.
    2. Won't work. The other side will simply blow it off. They like the tactic.
    3. Won't work. The other side will simply blow it off. They refuse to be lead by you.
    4. Merely lowers you to the other side's level of behavior.
    5. There's nobody to give a ruling. This isn't a debate or a courtroom.
    6. You've utterly failed. Wasn't this about 'How to Negotiate...'?

    More Harvard Negotiating Project lets-all-hold-hands stuff. Utterly impractical.
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How to Negotiate with Jerks and Win: 6 Ways to Respond How to Negotiate with Jerks and Win: 6 Ways to Respond Presentation Transcript

  • HOW TO NEGOTIATE WITH JERKS AND WIN… 6 WAYS TO RESPOND
  • #1 Ignore the Coercion STAY CALM AND PRETEND YOU DID NOT HEAR THE ABUSE, CALL A BREAK, SWITCH TOPICS OR ASK THE PERSON TO REPEAT THEIR MESSAGE
  • #2 Discuss the TACTIC LABEL THE NEGOTIATORS TACTICS AND INDICATE AWARENESS OF THE INTENDED EFFECTS
  • #3 LEAD THE OTHER STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF WHAT PROBLEMS AND COMPATIBLE NEEDS BOTH PARTIES HAVE IN COMMON DESCRIBE THE POSSIBILITY OF MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL OUTCOMES
  • #4 Respond in KIND
  • #5 get a Ruling CLASSIC NEGOTIATORS OFTEN FEEL COMFORTABLE LYING OR CHEATING TO DEFEAT THEIR OPPONENTS. IF MISREPRESENTATIONS ARE DISCOVERED AFTER A BUSINESS TRANSACTION HAS STARTED, THE VICTIM MIGHT NEED THE HELP OF AN INDEPENDENT ADJUDICATOR. A LAWSUIT IS ONE EXAMPLE OF THIS TYPE OF RIGHTS-BASED APPROACH, WHICH PRODUCES A JUDGMENT IMPOSED UPON THE DECLARED WINNER AND LOSER. ONE DRAWBACK IS THE ABSENCE OF AN AGREEMENT DESIGNED BY THE NEGOTIATORS THEMSELVES.
  • #6 Walk away SOMETIMES THE BEST OPTION, ESPECIALLY WHEN FACING A PATHOLOGICAL NARCISSIST, IS TO WALK AWAY
  • For more information contact: Thunderbird Executive Education Content contributed by Karen S. Walch, Ph.D. who is a professor of cross-cultural communication and negotiation at Thunderbird School of Global Management. DR. WALCH IS THE AUTHOR OF POWER OF UNDERSTANDING