Aggressive Bargaining leads to sub-optimal outcomes

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And as discussed in an earlier article, when you fail to strike when the iron is hot, you run the risk of never coming to an agreement.

Six Surprising Negotiation Tactics That Get You The Best Deal

This outcome has the potential to force you into a different, less attractive agreement with a secondary trading partner. Consider visualizing your outcomes as an important preparatory step before you embark on any negotiation session.


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First, know what you are looking for in your ideal outcome. This includes volume, cost and other agreements. Second, understand the concessions you are willing to make for an agreement that will still satisfy your minimum requirements. Staying within these high and low bars should keep you out of trouble and make for successful negotiations. Even if your counterpart makes you an ideal first offer, demand concessions. Accepting a first offer, says Galinsky, will lead your counterpart to regret the offer -- and be more likely to seek future concessions.

Take when you give. Harvard Business School professor Deepak Malhotra has tips on getting the most from giving in. Whenever you are forced to make a concession, make sure your opposite recognizes that you have done so by clearly identifying the move as such. And, if you can do it diplomatically, make the concession contingent on a reciprocal concession.

Avoid consistency traps. Some negotiators exploit the human fondness for consistency by proposing what seems like a harmless standard and then using it to reach a conclusion that runs counter to your interests -- and holding you to it. Don't answer a leading question or agree to a statement without knowing where it could go or why it is important, writes Shell. And if you do agree, qualify or rephrase the agreement in the broadest terms possible.

Face to face or remote? New research by Roderick Swaab, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD, suggests that face-to-face meetings are important when the two parties don't know each other and need to establish a rapport. When they know but don't like each other, face-to-face encounters may only make things worse. Seating arrangements. Negotiating across a table produces a competitive or defensive atmosphere -- or even a combative one, behaviorists say. Working at the corner of a table, or with your counterpart to your side, creates a more collaborative environment.

Keep quiet -- except to ask questions. Silence can be a powerful weapon. That is, faking anger can create authentic feelings of anger, which in turn diminish trust for both parties. Along the same lines, research by Jeremy Yip and Martin Schweinsberg demonstrates that people who encounter an angry negotiator are more likely to walk away, preferring to let the process end in a stalemate. In many contexts, then, feeling or expressing anger as a negotiating tactic can backfire. So in most cases, tamping down any anger you feel—and limiting the anger you express—is a smarter strategy.

This may be hard to do, but there are tactics that can help. Preparation is key to success in negotiations. What are the issues? Use the following questions and tips to plan ahead for each stage of the negotiation.

Negotiation Skills: 3 Simple Tips On How To Negotiate

Building rapport before, during, and after a negotiation can reduce the odds that the other party will become angry. If the other party does become angry, apologize. Seek to soothe. So if tensions are flaring, ask for a break, cool off, and regroup. Resist that urge and give the anger time to dissipate. In heated negotiations, hitting the pause button can be the smartest play. Finally, you might consider reframing anger as sadness.

Emotion and the Art of Negotiation

Though reframing one negative emotion as another sounds illogical, shared feelings of sadness can lead to cooperative concession making, whereas oppositional anger often leads to an impasse. It can be tempting to see negotiations in binary terms—you either win or lose.


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  • Read e-book Aggressive Bargaining leads to sub-optimal outcomes.

Of course, that is generally too simplistic: Most complex negotiations will end with each side having achieved some of its goals and not others—a mix of wins and losses. Research shows that one cause of disappointment in a negotiation is the speed of the process. When a negotiation unfolds or concludes too quickly, participants tend to feel dissatisfied.

They wonder if they could or should have done more or pushed harder. Negotiation teachers see this in class exercises: Often the first students to finish up are the most disappointed by the outcome. The obvious way to lessen the likelihood of disappointment is to proceed slowly and deliberately.


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  • Six Surprising Negotiation Tactics That Get You The Best Deal.

Regret is slightly different from disappointment. While the latter tends to involve sadness about an outcome, someone feeling regret is looking a little more upstream, at the course of actions that led to this unhappy outcome, and thinking about the missteps or mistakes that created the disappointment. When a negotiation concludes too quickly, participants tend to feel dissatisfied.

Those fears are often misplaced. In fact, people who ask a lot of questions tend to be better liked, and they learn more things. In negotiations, information is king and learning should be a central goal.

Why Women Must Ask (The Right Way): Negotiation Advice From Stanford's Margaret A. Neale

One way to reduce the potential for regret is to ask questions without hesitation. Aim to come away from the negotiation with the sense that every avenue was explored. We have terms we can all live with. However, when handled deftly, a post-settlement settlement can open a pathway for both sides to become even more satisfied with the outcome and stave off regrets. Nonetheless, this happens all the time: In workshops I routinely see students unabashedly boast and brag sometimes to the entire class about how they really stuck it to their opponents in a negotiation exercise.

And in certain situations, showing happiness or excitement triggers disappointment in others. The best negotiators achieve great deals for themselves but leave their opponents believing that they, too, did fabulously, even if the truth is different. In my negotiation class, we do an exercise in which students must decide whether or not to send a race car driver into an important race with a faulty engine. Despite the risks, most students opt to go ahead with the race because they are excited and want to maximize their prize winnings.

The exercise has parallels to a real-life example: the launch of the Challenger space shuttle.

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There are two lessons for negotiators. First, be considerate: Do not let your excitement make your counterparts feel that they lost. Second, be skeptical: Do not let your excitement lead to overconfidence or an escalation of commitment with insufficient data. However, whereas the parties in a negotiation must strive for agreement, poker players make decisions unilaterally. Nonetheless, negotiators can learn a crucial lesson from the card table: the value of controlling the emotions we feel and especially those we reveal. In other words, good negotiators need to develop a poker face—not one that remains expressionless, always hiding true feelings, but one that displays the right emotions at the right times.

And although all human beings experience emotions, the frequency and intensity with which we do so differs from person to person. To be a better deal maker, conduct a thorough assessment of which emotions you are particularly prone to feel before, during, and after negotiations, and use techniques to minimize or maximize the experience and suppress or emphasize the expression of emotions as needed.

Think carefully about when to draw these weapons, when to shoot, and when to keep them safely tucked away in a hidden holster.