Dancers – Team Negotiations


"It sometimes helps to have a ‘dancer’ on your negotiating team. Someone who can say much about very little. A dancer can provide a ‘smokescreen,’ divert the other side away from problem issues, or perhaps buy your team some time to re-group or determine a change in strategy."




"Uses 'Time' as an element to put pressure on the other side. Often as a negotiation moves closer to a 'Deadline,' concessions and the magnitude of concessions increase. Participants start making riskier, unstudied decisions. Some ‘Deadlines’ are caused by circumstances (e.g. the last pickup for mail is 4PM, the latest we can wait to start production is tomorrow, the airline flight leaves tonight.) Some ‘Deadlines’ do pose real consequences. Other ‘Deadlines’ may simply be a tactic to force a decision or deprive you of adequate planning/preparation time. Always ask – “What will happen if we don’t meet the deadline?” “Is the deadline being imposed by my organization or theirs?” “Can I change the deadline if it will help us craft a better agreement?” See Time Pressures"




Impasse in the negotiation. Both sides lose and must pursue their BANTA. See Strategic Deadlock and Walking Away.




Asserting things that are not true or taking positions or making an offer that is ultimately withdrawn after they have impacted the other side’s position. Used like the 'Bluff' to test the other party. It works when you agree to forget about some of your real interests in exchange for the other party forgetting about some of their ‘decoys’ or fictitious interests. See ‘Straw Issues.’


Default Tactic


"You are provided something you did not agree to (i.e. extra service, extra materials) along with correspondence that makes the assumption that you agree to accept these extras. This places the burden on you to formally reject these “extras.” If you fail to take action and accept them your inaction indicates tacit agreement to the altered agreement."




Buying time to create more pressure on the other side.


Deliberate Mistakes


"This tactic plays upon your ethics, or lack thereof. You may be baited with an agreement that is clearly to your advantage but contrary to your discussions. The danger lies in you quickly signing the agreement before the other party realizes their error or omission. Later, after performance of the agreement has begun, and you cannot back out, the ‘mistake’ is brought to your attention and corrected."


Delight Factors

A surprise treat or concession provided at or near closing the agreement that has no strings attached. The Japanese call these bonuses ‘delight factors.’ Wise negotiators save a few items to give away as delight factors. These raise the satisfaction of the other party far more than their cost to you.


Devil's Advocate Planning


"You can do this mentally with yourself, but it generally works better if you can enlist the help of another person to play the role of the other side—the person or group you will be negotiating with (i.e. play the role of the Devil). Have your Devil’ Advocate plead the other side’s case; take their anticipated position; use their arguments and objections. You should try to estimate your Devil’s desired outcomes and goals (BANTA). Do this prior to your negotiation. It provides you an ‘inoculation’ in advance of the negotiation and helps assure you appropriate responses and strategies in place. Remember, the other side may be more intent on frustrating your proposal than accommodating it."


Diminishing Marginal Utility


"Based on a principle of psychophysics where good things lead to saturation and bad things escalate. Your first bite of pizza is the best; as you get full, each bite brings less and less satisfaction. This phenomenon of diminishing marginal utility is also true with money. The utility of money decreases marginally in relation to how the amount grows. We are much happier with our $20,000 raise when our salary of $40,000 rises to $60,000; than our degree of happiness with a $20,000 raise when our $600,000 salary rises to $620,000."




"Common sense says that a person should disassociate from those who make it harder to reach an agreement. The tactics of disassociation are as important as those of association. Good planning requires a person to search for the right partners. A good negotiator should ask, “Will any of my associates make it harder for me to reach a favorable settlement with the other party?” If so, do something about it."


Disorder Tactic


A negotiator uses disorder to confuse the other side. This tactic deliberately mixes things up. It can be used to forestall a deadlock; make the other side work harder; force through a last-minute demand; or allow one to retreat from a prior concession. Sometimes it is used just to see how well the other person keeps their wits under pressure. Disorder complicates the negotiation and the person using the disorder tactic hopes to profit from this confusion. Examples: the introduction of new product-price schedules; new quality standards or revised specifications; some services that were bundled are now unbundled; new delivery dates; suddenly apples can’t be compared to apples and cost comparisons become almost impossible to make. See Cultural Disorder and Scrambled Eggs


Distributive Negotiation


"Used to refer to a negotiation where the resulting agreement ‘divides the pie’ with each participant taking their share. Since there is a fixed ‘pie’ what one party gets comes at the expense of the other party. In a broader perspective, every negotiation has a distributive component. Negotiations referred to as a “Win-Win Negotiation,” “Both-Win Negotiation,” “Value Creation Negotiation,” or “Integrative Negotiation,” create new value (i.e. a larger pie), but all ultimately end up with a distributive event that determines how the value is shared. Generally it is not 50-50. See Pie Slicing."


Divide and Conquer


"Two quite different meanings. If referring to a multi-party negotiation, one side attempts to get the other side arguing with one another to cause a breakdown in their solidarity. This weakens their power and resolve. If referring to a complex, multi-issue negotiation, it is often helpful to divide up the negotiation into its various components; come to agreement on the simpler issues; and then tackle the tougher issues. This can help pave a way to agreement. During the course of coming to agreement on the simpler issue, relationships improve, and communication-understanding improve. This sets the stage for a more productive process when the tough issues are tackled. See ‘Fragmentation’ and Slicing.’ See ‘Salami Tactics.’"


Domino Theory of Beliefs


"When a negotiating goal can be tied to an important business principle or practice, it becomes hard to dislodge. This anchors beliefs to values. Like Dominos, If one falls, they all fall. A negotiator may use an equity or fairness approach in their business negotiations. However, fair-minded negotiators are themselves exploited when they encounter competitive opponents unless they also become competitive."


Door-in-the-Face Technique


"When a negotiator makes an outlandish initial request, they are more likely to secure agreement to subsequent, smaller request. This is based upon principles of perceptual contrast. If a person lifts a heavy object, sets it down, and then lifts a light object, the person will perceive the light object to be much lighter than it actually is. An irrational negotiator who calms down following a wild display of emotion may get what they want."


Doorknob Price


Every concession implies a degree of commitment or willingness to stand firm. Using a ‘doorknob’ price tells the other side that they have only two choices: accept the last offer or allow negotiations to break down. In either case the final decision becomes entirely their responsibility. The difficulty with a ‘doorknob’ price is that the other side may not believe it. So how the message is delivered is of utmost importance. See ‘Take it or Leave it.’




"A collection of documents, information, data on a particular person or group. This information is used to gage probable reactions to proposals put forth in the negotiation. Good negotiators compile a Dossier on the parties they negotiate with. Over time, this Dossier provides valuable information and provides guidance as to the potential behaviors of the negotiators. A good Dossier helps identify pathways that can lead to successful agreements."


Dry Well


Show that you have nothing left to give.


Dual Concern Model


Having a high degree of concern for the interests of others in the negotiation while maintaining a high degree of concern for your own interests.




Egalitarianism Culture


"Not focused on social boundaries. Everyone should be treated equally and status and rank are irrelevant. Self oriented negotiations, use BATNA as major source of power, each negotiator is empowered to resolve conflict themselves. See Hierarchical Culture"


Email Power Shift


"Traditional negotiating powers such as organizational status, gender, age, race, type of dress are present in face-to-face negotiations. A power shift occurs when email is used in a negotiation. Most, if not all, of these power elements are eliminated. Power and status differences are minimized and individuals who might have little power in face-to-face negotiations become more powerful in email negotiations because status cues are missing."


Emotional Outbursts


"Some people try to get what they want by becoming emotional, by embarrassing the other person, or by becoming a nuisance. We tend to become defensive when we encounter such behavior. The best approach to emotional, harassing, nuisance or embarrassing behavior is to stay in control. Don’t respond by becoming emotional yourself—the negotiation will simply degrade into an argument. People have learned to use emotional outbursts because it has worked for them in the past. Be skeptical; don’t give in quickly; there are a lot of good actors around."


Empty Pockets


"Say you can't afford it, don't have it, have nothing left to give."


End Run


Going around the person you are negotiating with to resolve the issue with someone else – generally someone of higher authority.


Equity Rule


Each participant shares the negotiation pie based upon the various contributions and inputs they have made to the specific business situation. Those who have contributed more get more. Also known as the Merit Based Rule.


Escalating Demand


The more you get the more you require. Puts real pressure on the other side and tests their limits.


Escalation Tactic


"Escalation is a very tough negotiating tactic. An agreement is reached between two people who have the apparent authority to make the deal. Then, one says that they need to show the agreement to someone else for ‘routine’ approval. That’s when the first surprise occurs. The higher authority rejects the agreement unless further concessions are made. A re-negotiation granting these concessions then follows to settle the almost closed deal. This can go on with multiple levels, where each level of authority demands and wins further concessions to reach final agreement. Each re-negotiation ‘tests’ the resolve and the limits of the other party."


Escape Trap


"Based upon the human need to eliminate or remove an unpleasant stimulus. When a negotiator encounters someone who is openly hostile, negative, or emotional they are prone to make needless concessions just to end the negotiation and get away. This acts to reinforce the negative behavior used by the other party. The other party is conditioned to use this behavior because it works."


Expanding the Pie


"Utilizing creative problem solving techniques to match each party’s needs with the other party’s assets to find unique ways to optimize agreement and create more value for each side. There are generally several dimensions and several issues at play in any negotiation. Wise negotiators explore all the issues and dimensions of a negotiation to find trade off areas and ways to enhance the ultimate agreement for all parties. Creative trade offs between the different assets, needs and preferences each party has are diligently examined to find ways to build new value. When the pie is successfully expanded, both parties leave with new value that was created purely from the process of negotiating. See Win-Win, Both-Win, and Pie Expansion."


Expected Satisfaction Theory


"This is a seven point theory developed by Dr Chester Karrass. 1-Negotiation is not simply a good deal for both parties. While each must gain something, it is improbably that they will gain equally. 2-No two value systems are likely to be the same. People have more or less the same needs but achieve different degrees of satisfaction from reaching goals. 3-In every negotiation the potential exists for the parties to improve their joint satisfaction at no loss to either. The more intense the search for joint improvement, the more likely people will be to find superior solutions. 4-In every negotiation there is a point reached at which the gains of one party are won at the loss of the other. 5-All transactions are based upon future expectations of satisfaction. No two people are likely to estimate satisfactions in the same way. 6-It is not goods or money or services that people exchange in the process of negotiation but satisfaction. Material things represent only the more visible aspects of a negotiation. 7-A negotiator can only make assumptions about the other party’s satisfaction, expectations, and goals. An important purpose of negotiation is to test these assumptions. The other side’s real intentions can only be discovered by a process of vigorous probing because they may be only dimly aware of them."




"The best defense against an expert is getting your own expert. As Dr. Chester Karrass points out. "For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert."




Face (e.g. Saving Face)


"Face is the value a person places on his or her public image, reputation, and status relative to other people involved in the negotiation. Direct threats to face in a negotiation include making ultimatums, criticism, challenges, and insults. When negotiating in a group environment (i.e. there is an audience), ‘saving face’ often becomes very important to a negotiator. This can result in the negotiator moving away from any cooperative efforts into competition to protect their position. Often an impasse or lose-lose outcome in the result. Saving face is an important cultural component in may negotiations."


Fait Accompli Tactic


"Someone takes a surprise action designed to place them in a favorable negotiating position. The ‘accomplished fact’ affects the final outcome of the negotiation because it alters the balance of power. The strength of fait accompli rests in the fact that once a deed is done, it is difficult to undo."


Falling In Love Trap


"Instead of ‘falling in love’ with a single outcome to a negotiation (i.e. this car is the one I want), it is important to develop several optional outcomes that are acceptable. "


Fixed Pie


There is a fixed amount that must be shared by the parties involved in the negotiation. Whatever one party gets comes at the expense of the other party.


Fixed Sum


There is a fixed amount that must be shared by the parties involved in the negotiation. Whatever one party gets comes at the expense of the other party.


Foot-in-the-Door Technique


"A negotiator is asked to agree to a small favor or statement. Later the negotiator is asked to commit to a larger request. The probability of them agreeing to the second, larger request, increases if they have already established their agreement to the small request. People generally have a need to demonstrate consistent behavior."


Forked Tail Effect


"Once we form a negative impression of someone, we tend to view everything else about them in a negative fashion. It is hard to recover from a bad first impression. See Halo Effect."




Breaking down a problem into solvable parts and creating multiple-issue negotiations from what appear to be single-issue negotiations. This process generally leads to better agreement and more creative Both-Win agreements where new value is created.




"If involved in a complex, multi-issue negotiation, it is often helpful to divide up the negotiation into its various components; come to agreement on the simpler issues; and then tackle the tougher issues. This can help pave a way to agreement. During the course of coming to agreement on the simpler issue, relationships improve, and communication-understanding improve. This sets the stage for a more productive process when the tough issues are tackled. See ‘Slicing’ and ‘Divide and Conquer.’ See ‘Salami Tactics.’"




"Organizing information, facts, issues and potential outcomes so the negotiator can gain a better perspective of what the negotiation will involve and where boundaries should be established. Using a Framing process helps the a negotiator gain a better understanding of the relationships between all the factors likely to emerge in the negotiation and consider a variety of outcomes, contingencies, potential gains, and potential losses, prior to beginning the negotiation. "


Front-Page Test


An ethical test. Would you be completely comfortable if your actions and statements during this negotiation were printed in full on the front page of the local newspaper or were reported on the TV news? See Light Of Day Test


Funny Money


"Using monetary components or percentages instead of real money. Things like price per pound, price per month/day/hour, 3% per year, man hours per unit, etc. 'Funny Money' is usually given less value than real money. 'Funny Money' can work for you or against you. If you encounter Funny Money' in a negotiation, translate for yourself what it means in real money or total cost before you make any decisions. You may find 'Funny Money' useful to modify the other side's viewpoint. ""After all it's only 2 cents more per hour. That's not much."




Golden Rule


"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In negotiation it is wise to ask yourself, “How would I feel if the other party did this to me?” If you conclude that you would not like it, it means the behavior in question may be regarded as unethical."


Good Cop - Bad Cop


"Two participants play two ‘roles’ in the negotiation. One plays an aggressive, demanding role, the other a more reasonable, friendly role. Sometimes the ‘Bad Cop’ does not even have to be present. The ‘Bad Cop’ could be your supervisor, or someone in authority in a distant office. Be aware of what is happening and realize the ‘Good Cop’ is not really on your side."


Good Guy - Bad Guy


See ‘Good Cop – Bad Cop’


GRIT Model


Graduated Reduction In Tension. Based on the reciprocity principal that calls for one party to make a concession and invites the other party to reciprocate by making a concession.






A distributive negotiation where the parties barter about the terms of a business transaction.


Hairy Hand Technique


Flaws deliberately put into a proposition or presentation which can be easily detected by the other party. Designed to be discovered by one party to direct the discussion away from more vulnerable areas of the negotiation. Used to maintain greater control over the talks. Derived from portrait painter Norman Rockwell’s technique of putting too much hair on someone’s hand. His customers liked to find fault in his painting. The harry hand would be discovered and he could correct it to make his customer happy. This technique kept them away from wanting numerous other changes to the painting.


Halo Effect

"Once we decide someone is trustworthy, other qualities about this person are perceived as consistent with this favorable impression. We tend to believe that people we trust and like are also intelligent and capable. See Forked-Tail Effect"


Heavenly Approval Approach

"The Japanese pay more attention to long-term relationships than do Western businesspeople. An important part of their decision to do business with someone is whether they will be able to work harmoniously with them in the future. The Japanese have formalized the practice of building harmonious long-term relationships into their business culture. When a transaction is about to close, the Japanese use a technique called ‘Seeking Heavenly Approval.’ After the facts are in and a written agreement is near, a period of time is set aside for achieving consensus as to whether they want to do business with the other party in the long run. In discussions marked by long periods of silence, members of the executive group reach mutual inner understanding and consensus. The Japanese call this moment of harmonious accord ‘KAN.’ Having sought and achieved ‘heavenly approval,’ they have given themselves a final chance to evaluate whether the agreement will satisfy their needs and give them peace of mind in the future."


Hierarchical Culture


Status and rank are important. Social power is not easily changed. Conflict is less frequent between members of different social ranks. Conflict is more likely to be handled in deference to a superior rather than by direct confrontation and negotiation between social equals. See Egalitarianism Culture




Start high with your demands to set the other side’s expectations. Sellers often start high knowing they can reduce the price.


Higher Authority Tactic


Negotiators are generally better off if they don’t have full authority. There is greater negotiating strength in not having authority than in having it. Unfortunately for many our Egos get in the way. People like to demonstrate how much authority they have; it’s a sense of pride. In negotiating this can diminish your effectiveness as a negotiator. See Limiting Your Authority Technique




I Think I Can Get It For You Approach


A seller finds out what a buyer is willing to pay by offering something that is not available. Then they switch to what is available at a higher price.


If I Do this Will You Do That Approach


"One negotiator proposes a possible concession tied to the other side’s concession. If they succeed in getting the other side to concede, they then negotiate from this lower plateau."


I'll Take The Whole Lot Approach


"When offered a price the buyer asks “What if I double the order” or, “What if I take all you have?” This sometimes helps identify the sellers true cost, or the seller’s flexibility in reducing a quoted price."




An argument where no agreement is possible. A deadlock. All progress is stopped.


Incremental Conversion


"In a multi-party negotiation, persuade one person at a time. Then use them as advocates to persuade the remaining people."




"When attempts to solve a problem, or come to agreement, have failed, it is often productive to set the work aside for a while to pursue other activities. Sometimes subconscious processes will help the participants come up with new ideas and solutions. Patience and thoughtful reflection are two powerful tools when negotiating."


Individualistic Culture Negotiator


"Prefers to maximize his or her own gain and has little or no concern for how much the other person is getting. Wants to save face and regard themselves as independent, free agents. See Collectivism Culture."


Integrative Agreements


"Win-Win, Both-Win Agreements that create new value for all parties to the negotiation."


Integrative Negotiating


Generally a more complex negotiation that involves multiple issues and multiple parties. A process that focuses on integrating the interests of all parties in a collaborative way to create new value for all participants. On-going relationships are an important factor vs. the one-time event found in simple haggling or bargaining. See Interest Based Negotiating.


Interest Based Negotiating

"Interests are generally considered the motivating factors and underlying reasons a negotiator takes a certain ‘position.’ A negotiator’s position may be reflected by a combination of factors: economic issues, control issues, security issues, need for recognition, ego, desires, fears, goals. All of these factors influence the negotiating process and the positions each negotiator takes. Interest Based Negotiating is generally a more complex negotiation that involves multiple issues and multiple parties. This is a process that focuses on integrating the interests of all parties in a collaborative way to create new value for all participants. On-going relationships are an important factor vs. the one-time event found in simple haggling or bargaining. See Integrative Negotiating."


Interim Trade


Make an exchange during the negotiation that will not get into the final agreement.


Intersection Maneuver


"This technique seeks to tie existing and future contracts into the content of ongoing negotiations. In a large organization, two buyers can deal with the same supplier without knowing it. If negotiations can be made to intersect, the leverage of one may extend to the other."


Intimidation Tactics


"How do you negotiate with an elephant? Very carefully. Intimidation can take many forms: physical appearance (mean, tall, big, unfriendly); environmental (fatigue and discomfort); use of outside experts or legal authorities; use of hostages (resources, issues, people); status (bring in the CEO, president, a senior manager); threats. Recognize these intimidation techniques for what they are -- negotiating tactics. Respond accordingly. Don’t simply reciprocate with intimidation of your own, negotiate. See Emotional Outbursts."


Issue Surprise


"The introduction of surprise issues, tangential to the negotiation, can act as a smokescreen and slow down a negotiation. They often provide one side to the negotiation more time to reconsider their position prior to making a final agreement."



"A viewpoint, idea, matter, problem, topic or concern that is to be discussed, disputed, decided, exchanged, traded, agreed to or resolved."

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