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On Persuasion in Negotiation
_______________________
I believe the very definition of negotiation is expanding. Negotiation no longer means just
the positional bargaining tactics we have been taught, to ‘get the number we want,’ or
larger strategies for ‘making the deal.


1. Gather more information about one another, which leads to a

2. Better understanding of their point-of-view, allowing us to

3. Develop meaningful empathy with them and their positions, which generates 

4. Trust, the basis of any meaningful deal.


During a negotiation we do several things in parallel. Alongside this pathway towards
trust, we also bring to bear our best efforts at persuasion. Here are some key factors in
persuasion that are worth bringing into your negotiation toolbox:
•   Scarcity – people want what they do not have; describe what you have as special,
unique and available.
•   Social Proof – people tend to follow what others are doing; use evidence in your
argument that demonstrates that others are doing what you suggest needs to be
done.
•   Consistency – people want to be seen as consistent; invite them early in a negotiation
to commit to a simple premise, such as ‘wanting to help’ or ‘being objective,’ then
remind them of that commitment later, when you present your evidence and
argument.
•   Authority – people defer to experts; to the extent that you can, let them know about
your expertise, or the experts whose opinions or views back up your argument.
•   Liking – people can’t help but want to help others whom they like, and we tend to like
people who like us.
•   Reciprocity – we all have a strong bias towards returning favors, to avoid a sense of
indebtedness; identify things on which you can deliver when asking your
counterparty to deliver something for you.
•   Fairness – psychologists have shown that when people believe they are participating in
a fair process, then they are more likely to accept the substantive outcome.
*written by David W. Johnson, Lecturer-in-Law, Stanford Law School
2

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Persuasion Techniques for Successful Negotiation

  • 1. On Persuasion in Negotiation _______________________ I believe the very definition of negotiation is expanding. Negotiation no longer means just the positional bargaining tactics we have been taught, to ‘get the number we want,’ or larger strategies for ‘making the deal. 

1. Gather more information about one another, which leads to a 
2. Better understanding of their point-of-view, allowing us to 
3. Develop meaningful empathy with them and their positions, which generates 
 4. Trust, the basis of any meaningful deal. 

During a negotiation we do several things in parallel. Alongside this pathway towards trust, we also bring to bear our best efforts at persuasion. Here are some key factors in persuasion that are worth bringing into your negotiation toolbox: •   Scarcity – people want what they do not have; describe what you have as special, unique and available. •   Social Proof – people tend to follow what others are doing; use evidence in your argument that demonstrates that others are doing what you suggest needs to be done. •   Consistency – people want to be seen as consistent; invite them early in a negotiation to commit to a simple premise, such as ‘wanting to help’ or ‘being objective,’ then remind them of that commitment later, when you present your evidence and argument. •   Authority – people defer to experts; to the extent that you can, let them know about your expertise, or the experts whose opinions or views back up your argument. •   Liking – people can’t help but want to help others whom they like, and we tend to like people who like us. •   Reciprocity – we all have a strong bias towards returning favors, to avoid a sense of indebtedness; identify things on which you can deliver when asking your counterparty to deliver something for you. •   Fairness – psychologists have shown that when people believe they are participating in a fair process, then they are more likely to accept the substantive outcome. *written by David W. Johnson, Lecturer-in-Law, Stanford Law School
  • 2. 2