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Practical Negotiating: Tools, Tactics & Techniques by Tom Gosselin

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Adversarial Tactics

In Chapter 8, we presented win-win tactics that are useful in moving the negotiation to a mutually beneficial agreement and that serve to strengthen the relationship. In this chapter, we describe adversarial tactics, and include countertactics to deal with them.

These are tactics that would most likely cause you some difficulty or damage the relationship. Many of these tactics are also referred to as “dirty tricks,”[1] “hardball tactics,”[2] “gambits,”[3] or “competitive tactics.”[4] The reason that I present adversarial tactics in this book so that you can recognize and respond to them. I recommend that you do not use these tactics if you are interested in reaching win-win agreements.

Similar to the win-win tactics in Chapter 8, these tactics are organized alphabetically and are laid out in the following format:

  • Description: What the tactic is about.

  • Sounds like: The words or phrases negotiators use to execute the tactic.

  • Countermeasures: Specific actions that you can take to deal with the tactic.

  • Recommended win-win countertactics: Specific positive tactics you can use to off-set the adversarial tactic being used against you.

Each of the following tactics may damage a relationship or prevent a win-win outcome:

Authority Escalation

  • Description: Introducing a new person or an additional approval step in the negotiation. Escalating authority tactics are designed to wear out the other side—both physically and psychologically.

  • Sounds like: “This sound fine to me, let ...

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